By Ryan Velez
CNN Money reports that lots of wealth were generated last year, but there’s a good chance that you didn’t see it. 82% of all wealth went to the 1%, and 50% of the world’s population didn’t see any wealth growth at all.
“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International.
The head of the advocacy group argued that the people who “make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food” are being exploited in order to enrich corporations and the super wealthy. Byanyima adds that it falls to that global elite to practice what they preach when it comes to inequality. “It’s hard to find a political or business leader who doesn’t say they are worried about inequality. It’s even harder to find one who is doing something about it,” said Byanyima.
“Many are actively making things worse by slashing taxes and scrapping labor rights,” she added.
This is even direr when you realize that the 1% has enough money to wipe out poverty, multiple times. Here’s some of our past coverage of that disheartening fact. “The data comes from Oxfam, and shows that forty-two of the richest people in the world now hold as much wealth as 3.7 billion of the poorest people in the world, according to the report released Monday by the international charitable organization.
The report showed that about 82 percent of the wealth created across the globe went to the top 1 percent. “Our broken economies reward wealth not hard work,” Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima tweeted Monday. “Rich get richer, millions trapped in poverty wages or joblessness. Leaders must reverse this.”
Things are technically on an upswing stateside, at least. Last year, U.S. Census Bureau data showed that many Americans were emerging from poverty and that median household income was up by 3.2 percent between 2015 and 2016.
However, this is a small comfort compared to what the country’s richest people are making. According to the Oxfam report, the three wealthiest Americans claim as much wealth as the 160 million poorest people living in the United States. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made over $35 billion and usurped Microsoft CEO Bill Gates in 2017 to become the richest man in the world. The president’s Cabinet is also the wealthiest in American history, and many of those who head U.S. federal agencies are millionaires or billionaires.”