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Quiz: Who Owns America?

May 03, 2011 | By Page May

How big is the wealth gap? Test your knowledge with this quiz!

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Comments

Wait a minute...

This test is designed to make things sound as bad as possible. Based on their definition of wealth, you take what a person owns and subtract their debt (house mortgage, car loans, credit cards, etc.). Most of us don't have much once you take those into consideration. But yet I have a comfortable home to live in, nice furniture, decent car to drive, good clothes, food on my table, yet I'm poor??? The have-nots want you to rebel against the haves. This country is great because we all have a chance to make a good living. The first 12 years of your education are practically free. College loans are widely available if you wish to pursue a career and a better chance at wealth. There aren't many countries that can boast the opportunities we have here in the USA. I don't have much wealth (at least not until my home, car and student loans are paid for), but I gotta tell you, I feel RICH!

Definition of Wealth

When you cited the definition of wealth in your comments, you neglected that income and assets play a role.  If your mortgage is less than or equal to the value of your house, then it balances out in the final equation.  Having a job, paying a mortgage and a car payment, I suspect you are fortunate not to be in the bottom 20%.

Response

I really appreciate this comment. It brings up a lot of important points!
 
A common argument against those for greater wealth or income equality is to say “it’s not the way the pie is divided, but the size of the pie that matters.” This is true to a limited extent: the increasing amount of wealth and income in the US as a whole has encouraged a higher standard of living for everyone (technology, infrastructure, better education, etc). However, the distribution of the pie, if it is too unequal, does have severe consequences: As wealth concentrates, less-wealthy areas have significantly inferior schools,  infrastructure, employment opportunities, criminal justice systems, etc.
 
The consequences of wealth inequality can easily be seen in cities-- where the difference between wealthy and non-wealthy neighborhoods correlates to the size of the minority population, perceived level of violence, quality of stores, amount and quality of schools, etc. All this leads to a national decline in health, safety, community, and democracy. It’s not wealth that is the problem, it’s the inequality.
 
It’s true, many Americans live in houses, have an education, buy tvs and ipods, and benefit from living in America (though not everyone equally). However, wages have stagnated and debt has filled in the gap between families’ means and the cost to maintain a standard of living. Increasing debt with stagnant wages means decreasing wealth for average Americans. This is not to say that you or most of America, then, is poor. As you say, many people are or feel rich! But being rich is not nearly the same as being wealthy. Having comfortable amount of things is only one part of justice.  Wealth has much more influence over an individual’s political power, quality of education, access to resources to start up small businesses, and financial stability.

Women and weallth

Just came across this article. Equal Pay | Status of Women in the Middle East | Social Security | Family Leave & Paid Sick Days | Education & Training | Status of Women & Girls FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Women Earn Lower Pay Than Men in 107 Out of 110 Occupations The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) released today a new fact sheet on the occupational gender wage gap that shows women have lower median earnings than men in 107 out of 111 occupations, regardless of levels of education. Thanks for sharing this Wealth Gap work.

The Gap.

It gets worse every day! I remember when the Latinoamerican Bishops called it a scandal for us Christians in their meeting at Medellin, Colombia and in Puebla, Mexico.
This reminds me of a short song in Spanish:
"No, no puedo callar,
Me van a perdonar amigos mios.
Pero yo ya tengo un compromiso
Que es gritar la realidad".
I am overjoyed to see my beloved Network take up the challenge.

Who Owns America

I knew our poverty situation was very bad. But this test shows me how much worse it is that I thought!

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