Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett are wealthier than poorest half of US
A new report released by Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie of the Institute for Policy Studies, “Billionaire Bonanza 2017: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us,” reveals that only 3 people in the US hold wealth equivalent to the bottom 50% of the population, about 160 million people. The wealth divide is getting more severe every year. Just 7 years ago it was 400 people who owned wealth equivalent to the bottom 50%, now they own wealth equal to the bottom 64%, 204 million people. The numbers of people with zero wealth or who are in debt is also growing and is worse for black and Latinos than whites. We discuss the current wealth divide, what’s behind it, how the new tax proposal will affect it and how to resolve it.
Chuck Collins is the Director of IPS’s Program on Inequality and the Common Good where he co-edits Inequality.org. His latest book is Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good (Chelsea Green).
He is an expert on U.S. inequality and author of several books, including the report, “Reversing Inequality: Unleashing the Transformative Potential of an Equitable Economy” (Next System Project).
Other books include: 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It. He is co-author with Bill Gates Sr. of Wealth and Our Commonwealth, (Beacon Press, 2003), a case for taxing inherited fortunes. He is co-author with Mary Wright of The Moral Measure of the Economy, a book about Christian ethics and economic life. His next book, Is Inequality in America Irreversible, will be published in March 2018 by the UK-based Polity Press.
He is co-founder of Wealth for the Common Good, a network of business leaders, high-income households and partners working together to promote shared prosperity and fair taxation. This network merged in 2015 with the Patriotic Millionaires. In 1995, he co-founded United for a Fair Economy (UFE) to raise the profile of the inequality issue and support popular education and organizing efforts to address inequality. He was Executive Director of UFE from 1995-2001 and Program Director until 2005.
Josh Hoxie joined the Institute for Policy Studies in August 2014 heading up the Project on Opportunity and Taxation. Josh’s main focus is on addressing wealth inequality through the estate tax, a levy on the intergenerational transfer of immense wealth. Josh grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and attained a BA in Political Science and Economics from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont.
Josh worked previously as a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the longest serving independent in Congressional history, both in his office in Washington, DC and on his successful 2012 re-election campaign. Josh is excited to work in the IPS New England office and enjoys frequent trips to the ocean and the mountains.