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United States wealth gap

"Meanwhile, the Walton family of Walmart has a net worth of $144 billion. This is what a rigged economy looks like," wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). (Photo: Jason Hargrove/Flickr/cc)

'What a Rigged Economy Looks Like': Top 10% Now Own 77% of American Wealth

As Trump and the GOP push massive tax cuts for the rich, new data shows that the wealthy are doing better than ever

Jake Johnson

As President Donald Trump and the Republican Party unveiled their "cruel joke" of a tax plan that would provide an enormous boon for the rich disguised as a "middle class miracle," an analysis by the People's Policy Project (3P) published Wednesday found that the top 10 percent of the income distribution now owns a "stunning" 77 percent of America's wealth while those in the bottom ten percent are "net debtors," owning -0.5 percent of the nation's wealth.

"We do not live in a democracy. We live in an oligarchy."
—Digital Left
In response to the analysis, conducted by 3P president Matt Bruenig, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Twitter: "Meanwhile, the Walton family of Walmart has a net worth of $144 billion. This is what a rigged economy looks like."

"We do not live in a democracy. We live in an oligarchy," added the progressive group Digital Left.

3P's examination of newly released Federal Reserve data also found that "[t]he bottom 38 percent of American families have an average net worth of $0." By contrast, the top one percent—set to benefit massively from Trump's tax agenda—owns 38.5 percent of the nation's wealth. In 1989, that number was 29.9 percent.

(Image credit: People's Policy Project)

The new Fed data also highlighted America's enormous racial wealth gap.

A recent study conducted by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and the Corporation For Economic Development (CFED) found that "[i]f average black family wealth continues to grow at the same pace it has over the past three decades, it would take black families 228 years to amass the same amount of wealth white families have today."

"For the average Latino family," the study found, "it would take 84 years."

Bruenig notes that in 2016, mean white wealth exceeded $900,000 for the first time. Mean black wealth, by contrast, registered at just under $140,000.

Overall, Bruenig concluded, "[t]he median family in every racial group remains worse off than they were in 2007."

(Image credit: People's Policy Project)

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