America Has Richer Rich People Than Most Countries

I’ve got some kind of nasty stomach bug and I feel lousy. Does that mean I should take the rest of the day off, or that I should use it as an excuse to be meaner than normal to the usual suspects? Decisions, decisions.

In the meantime, here’s a chart that I already made so it’s ready to go. It shows the change since 1980 in how much wealth the top 1 percent controls in a bunch of rich countries:

This comes from Jonathan Rothwell, who ultimately places the blame for high US inequality on doctors, lawyers, and bankers. I’m not so sure of that, but I thought the chart was worth putting up just to show that high income inequality isn’t some inevitable feature of modern capitalism. Every other country has lower levels than us, and many of them have way lower levels. This is basically a political decision, and we’ve decided that the rich should be very rich indeed.

And then we decided they need a tax cut. After all, since they make more money, they pay more taxes. That’s just not fair, amirite?

Hmmm. I guess I decided on the “meaner” option.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest