Some concepts can be harder to grasp than others, and when it comes to big ones like wealth inequality, well, they can be tougher to wrap your mind around than most – sometimes because we don’t like what we hear when we do.
And if you’re sitting there thinking, “Sure, okay, but pie makes everything better, right?”
You’re going to want to hold onto that opinion until you get to the end of this article.
When we’re talking about America’s wealth gap, the numbers reach into the billions – even trillions – of dollars, which can be hard for the average brain to wrap around. That’s why CBS This Morning decided to break it down into something we know, embrace, and understand: pieces of pie.
Co-host Tony Dokoupil used that pie to illustrate how Americans share our $98 trillion dollars of collective wealth.
People were asked to spread out 10 pieces of pie according to how they believed wealth is distributed in the States, and they were shocked at how wrong they were. Most did give the 1% and the rest of the wealthy more of the pie, but none thought they have as much as in reality.
The wealthiest 1% of Americans take 4 of the 10 pieces of pie for themselves.
The rest of the top 20% got another 5 pieces. So, if you’re counting, that’s 90% of the pie staying with the wealthiest 20% of the nation. That leaves only 10% of the pie for the bottom 80% of Americans.
The upper-middle and middle class shared the last piece, about 10% of the country’s wealth, while the lower middle class, coming in at just .3% of the money on hand, received only a few crumbs.
But wait, you think, what about the bottom 20%?
The poorest people in America didn’t get any pie. Instead, they get a bill for the pie, since they’re around $6,000 in debt on average.
The wealth gap in America keeps widening, too, which is a harbinger of doom as far as a healthy economy – and a healthy democracy – is concerned.
While the people at the top are crowing about economic expansion and low jobless rates, the rest of us are living in the real world – with only crumbs (or credit cards) to make things work.
Does this surprise you? Would you have cut the pie right? Let us know what your reaction is in the comments.
Me? I normally love pie, but this one made me just a little bit sick.