The wealthiest one percent is, literally, unmeasurably rich, according to research conducted by the European Central Bank and the London School of Economics, Bloomberg reported.
The main reason that it is so difficult of measure the exact amount of wealth held by the one percent is because so much of it is kept hidden in offshore tax havens. According to the research, the US leads the pack of the world’s richest countries, hoarding 37 percent of the world’s money.
Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics said that our current estimates of how rich these money hoarders are probably skewed low. This lowballing of the actual numbers can be attributed to undercounting and non-response to questionnaires designed to tally the amount of wealth held, in addition to the tax havens in which American companies and rich people have placed over $1 trillion, said Zucman.
“We always suspected there was some low-balling of the top 1 percent,” said Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. “There’s a growing sense that our system is rigged and unfair.”
Another study, released earlier this year, illustrates the dire state of money-hoarding in the world. International anti-poverty group Oxfam indicated that half of the world’s wealth belongs to only 85 people. The report pointed out that in the post-Recession recovery since 2009, 95 percent of the growth went to the one percent while 90 percent of America’s poor got poorer.
As Stiglitz and many other economy experts have noted, the system is rigged to favor the rich and keep the poor down in the gutter. There is a strong correlation between American financial deregulation and income inequality.
“It is staggering that in the 21st century, half of the world’s population – that’s three and a half billion people – own no more than a tiny elite whose numbers could fit all comfortably on a double-decker bus,” said Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima.
The greed exuded by the one percent is disgusting. Greed is costing the government $36 billion in annual tax revenue, according to Zucman’s research. That could be money for infrastructure, the federal education fund, welfare, health care, you name it. And greed is shortchanging the country and shifting the burden downward onto the lower classes.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.