Monday, January 19, 2015

Eighty people have as much wealth as half the Earth

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 5:18 PM

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President Barack Obama plans to announce a new tax plan during Tuesday's State of the Union address. POLITICO calls it a "Robin Hood-style proposal" and lists five things the president wants to do: increase the tax on capital gains; expand family tax credits for middle- and low-income earners; extend tax breaks on education; "force [the nation's 100 biggest banks] to think twice about borrowing heavily"; and close a loophole that allows millions to sit in IRA accounts.

Naturally, Republicans balked, asking why a job at McDonald's isn't good enough and could you please stop with all the this talk of inequality? Don't you know the only people not raking in the dough are welfare fakers?

"In the 21st century, to have the skills you need for a middle-class job, you need higher education of some form or fashion," says Sen. Marco Rubio, who's paid an annual salary of $174,000 for insight of that level. "It may not be a four-year degree."

Anyway, Obama's efforts are especially timely, considering the latest news from poverty-centric organization Oxfam: the world's richest 1 percent, or roughly 80 billionaires, will control over 50 percent of the wealth of the world by 2016. In other words, 80 people have as much wealth as the other 3,562,500,000 people combined.

It doesn't get much better as you go down. Whatever money is left over goes to the richest 20 percent, with just 5.5 percent going to 80 percent of the world's population. Goddam freeloaders. 

Some highlights:

From the New York Times:
The type of inequality that currently characterizes the world’s economies is unlike anything seen in recent years, the report explained. “Between 2002 and 2010 the total wealth of the poorest half of the world in current U.S. dollars had been increasing more or less at the same rate as that of billionaires,” it said. “However since 2010, it has been decreasing over that time.”
From Quartz:
However, according to Oxfam’s data, we’ve been here before. Back in 2000, the 1% owned a higher percentage of global wealth than they do today. For a few years, the trend seemed to show that number falling, as the world’s poorest clawed some of it back. But in the past five years, that’s reversed.

Part of the problem, as identified by Oxfam, is that the rate of increase for the rich has speeded up, and it’s now so much higher than that for everyone else that it’s increasing the gap.
From Bloomberg: 
“The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering,” Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam’s executive director, said in the statement. “The gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.”

The world’s richest added $92 billion to their collective fortune in 2014, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The biggest gainer was Jack Ma, the co-founder of China’s e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. U.S. billionaires Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg are also among the top gainers, the index show.

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