Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Millionaires need not apply

The U.S. now has 482 billionaires, meaning you can't just be a millionaire and make it on the Forbes' list of 400 richest Americans.

Guess if you have that much money, you won't think twice about buying your kid a Thomas the Tank Engine Custom Built Train at $46,950, or adding a $7,000 handbag to your wardrobe.

Meanwhile, the poverty level for a family of four remains at the stupendously low $20,294.

When regular people think about wealth, and what we'd do with it if we had it, we think we might run out of things to buy. How many cars, homes and private jets can one person actually use, anyway?

But for the rich, of course, wealth is not about things, it's about power.

Wealth is being redistributed from poorer to richer.

Between 1983 and 2004, the average wealth of the top 1 percent of households grew by 78 percent, reports Edward Wolff, professor of economics at New York University. The bottom 40 percent lost 59 percent.

In 2004, one out of six households had zero or negative net worth. Nearly one out of three households had less than $10,000 in net worth, including home equity. That's before the mortgage crisis hit. Holly Sklar, ZNet.

And we continue to fight over the crumbs, and blame people in subsidized housing and folks who receive food stamps for our struggles to survive.

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