Income Inequality in America

While the mainstream media look for bright spots in an economy that is still recovering from a terrible recession, the millions of people who remain out of work too often are overlooked. Real unemployment stands at more than 14 percent when those forced into part-time jobs and those who gave up looking for work are counted, according to the latest unemployment report issued last Friday by the Department of Labor. In America today, the top 1 percent owns more than 35 percent of all of the nation’s household wealth while the bottom 60 percent owns only 2.3 percent of the wealth. The distribution of income is even worse.  In 2010, 93 percent of all new income went to the top 1 percent, while the bottom 99 percent of people accounted for the remaining 7 percent. “We have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth, worse today in the United States than at any time since 1928 before the Great Depression,” Sen. Bernie Sanders told Ed Schultz.

Watch the MSNBC interview »

“It’s not only morality and fairness, it is about politics,” Sanders added. “The big corporations that are enjoying record-breaking profits - the wealthiest people - are doing phenomenally well. They`re not sitting on their money. They`re putting huge amounts of money into the political process so they get even more tax breaks, and more ability to outsource jobs, more ability to put their money in tax havens in the Cayman Islands."

To help create jobs, Sanders advocated investing significant sums of money rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water systems and mass transit.  And given the threat of global warming, he also called for a heavy investment in weatherization, energy efficiency and sustainable energy to create millions of new jobs. Sanders also said Wall Street must stop sitting on huge amounts of money and instead provide small and medium-sized businesses the capital they need to expand and create new jobs.