Just 400 members of the US oligarchic superclass, the top 0.00025%, have tripled their share of wealth since the early 1980s. Their wealth has surpassed 150 million Americans in the bottom 60% who have seen their share of wealth decline from 5.7% in 1987 to 2.1% in 2014.
According to findings in a new paper by economist Gabriel Zucman, “After a period of remarkable stability in the 1950s and 1960s, the top 0.1% wealth share reached its low-water mark in the 1970s, and since the early 1980s it has been gradually rising to close to 20% in recent years. U.S. wealth concentration seems to have returned to levels last seen during the Roaring Twenties.”
The oligarchic superclass hoarding vast wealth is at the expense of families in the lower and middle classes, who count on small eroding stores of wealth and are unable to weather economic shocks. The severe wealth disparity is concentrating political power into the hands of the nation’s billionaires.
It’s not just about how much money the oligarchic superclass hoards. Their growing share of wealth in the US has coincided with a drop in the share of wealth and political power for the rest of the country.