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The Wealth Gap

The chart graphically shows how the tax code has resulted in a redistribution of wealth. Few people realize the extent to which poverty has grown in the U.S. and the extent to which prosperity has been concentrated in the nonprofit sector and the wealthiest 10%. Government survey data is updated every three years and data through 2013 is expected to reflect the astounding gains in the stock market and increases in other high end asset values. The 10% gain at the top may expand to 30% or more when the new wealth numbers are released. The wealth gap in the U.S. may already be the highest in recorded civilization.

“The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation.” See NY Times, "The Typical Household, Now Worth a Third Less", "Wealth Levels, Wealth Inequality and the Great Recession", June 2014. Note that the "median" in the chart above would be at the exact point where the lower half (lower 50%) meets the middle class group (next 40%).

"[T]he increasing differences between those few who grow ever richer and the many who grow hopelessly poorer, should be a cause for dismay," according to Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the Diplomatic Corps on January 7, 2013.

"Ultimately, we are interested in the question of relative standards of living and economic well-being. We need to examine trends in the distribution of wealth, which, more fundamentally than earnings or income, represents a measure of the ability of households to consume." Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank

See also Wealth Distribution Video based upon a survey of what people thought was the wealth distribution was and what they think it should be and chart comparing wealth distribution to map of USA.