The Common Good

Americans Nearly Unanimous on 'Ideal' Wealth Distribution, But Unaware of Real Levels of Inequality

This week's viral video is a must-see. The six-minute "Wealth Inequality in America," released Friday, presents the shocking, true size of the wealth gap in the country.

In a series of animated infographics, the video lends a visual punch to numbers that are hard to wrap one’s head around. The top 1 percent of Americans hold 50 percent of all investments in stocks and bonds, for example – while 80 percent of Americans share a paltry 7 percent of the nation’s wealth. 

But most interesting are the gaps between where Americans think we are and where we really we are when it comes to wealth. A full 92 percent of Americans agree on what a healthy, ideal wealth distribution curve would look like — one that is far more equitable than what we think is the case. (“That is telling, admittedly,” says the narrator. “The fact that most Americans know that the system is already skewed unfairly.")

But this perceived gap between ideal and reality is pocket change compared with the true state of inequality – an ugly curve in which the poorest and middle class are a barely-indistinguishable line while the top 1 percent is, quite literally, off the charts.  

What's encouraging is how united Americans are on how wealth should look in our country. But this video is proving to be a real wake-up call to how far we are from that goal. Take a few moments to watch the sobering video below. If you've seen it, it bears watching again and sharing.

 

Catherine Woodiwiss is Associate Web Editor for Sojourners

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)