It may shock you to learn exactly how wealthy this top 1 percent of Americans is. ThinkProgress has assembled five facts about this class of super-rich Americans:
1. The Top 1 Percent of Americans Owns 40 Percent of the Nationâ€™s Wealth
As Nobel Laureate Joseph StiglitzÂ points out, the richest 1 percent of Americans now own 40 percent of the nationâ€™s wealth. Sociologist William DomhoffÂ illustrates this wealth disparity using 2007 figures where the top 1 percent owned 42 percent of the countryâ€™s financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of oneâ€™s home). How much does the bottom 80 percent own? Only 7 percent.
As Stiglitz notes, this disparity is much worse than it was in the past, as just 25 years ago the top 1 percentÂ owned 33 percent of national wealth.
2. The Top 1 Percent of Americans Take Home 24 Percent of National Income
While the richest 1 percent of Americans take home almost a quarter of national income today, in 1976Â they took home just 9 percent â€” meaning their share of the national income pool has nearly tripled in roughly three decades.
3. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Own Half of the Countryâ€™s Stocks, Bonds and Mutual Funds
The Institute for Policy StudiesÂ illustrates this massive disparity in financial investment ownership, noting that the bottom 50 percent of Americans own only .5 percent of these investments.
4. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Have Only 5 Percent of the Nationâ€™s Personal Debt
Using 2007 figures, sociologist William DomhoffÂ points out that the top 1 percent have 5 percent of the nationâ€™s personal debt while the bottom 90 percent have 73 percent of total debt:
5. The Top 1 Percent are Taking In More of the Nationâ€™s Income Than at Any Other Time Since the 1920s
Not only are the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans taking home a tremendous portion of the national income, but their share of this income is greater than at any other time since the Great Depression, as the Center for Budget and Policy PrioritiesÂ illustrates in this chart using 2007 data:
As Professor Elizabeth Warren has explained, â€œThere isÂ nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobodyâ€¦Part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.â€
More and more often, that is not occurring, giving the protesters ample reason to take to the streets. Î¦
Zaid Jilani is a contributing writer for Think Progress
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