21 Charts On US Inequality That Everyone Should See

It’s not just Occupy Wall Street protesters that are worried about wealth and income inequality.

Now people like Bill Gross, manager of the world’s largest bond fund at Pimco, are warning that the problem is making the U.S. less productive, while star investors like Jim Chanos worry that people will have less incentive to participate in the economy if they have decided that “the game isn’t fair,” reports The Wall Street Journal’s Justin Lahart.

As noted by Société Générale strategist Albert Edwards, “you don’t have to be a communist to conclude that high levels of inequality not only adversely affects long-term growth, but also increases the economy’s vulnerability to recession.”

Despite this growing consensus, wealth and income inequality in America is still getting worse by many measures. To see what’s really happening, we encourage everyone to view our new series of charts.

The share of U.S. wealth held by the top 1% has soared in recent decades from 20% to 35%.

The ratio of the wealthiest 1% to median wealth is at a record 225:1.

The bottom 80% of Americans hold only 11% of the wealth and a mere 5% of the financial wealth.

Meanwhile, the bottom 90% is falling deeper and deeper into debt.

It's the top 0.01% who have really cleaned up, claiming around 5.5% of pre-tax total income.

While the super rich are getting richer, top marginal tax rates are well below the historical average.

Median household income has fallen around 7% since the recession, despite the stock market roaring back to new highs.

Forget the American Dream: Poor people find it harder than ever to rise to the upper middle class.

While productivity keeps rising, inflation-adjusted wages have been flat for 50 years.

Consequently, wages as a per cent of the economy have dropped to an all-time low ...

... and corporate profits and profit margins are at an all-time high.

The average CEO earns as much as 243 workers, up from a 24:1 ratio in the sixties.

Meanwhile, fewer Americans are employed than at any time in the past three decades.

America redistributes its wealth far less than other developed countries.

The top 0.1% in America are doing way better than the top 0.1% in other first-world countries.

America's inequality rating has ticked higher in recent decades (0 = perfect equality; 1 = perfect inequality).

We won't even get into racial inequality, except to note that the average white American is worth 15 times as much as the average black American.

What are the consequences of inequality? Let's start with higher infant mortality ...

... lower life expectancy ...

... and many other health and social problems, including higher rates of homicide, imprisonment, teenage birth, obesity, addiction, and more.

Actual wealth distribution in America is much more unbalanced than people realise -- and much worse still than they would like.

So who are these super rich people anyway?

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