For people who came of age in the Roaring ’20s or the Great Depression
that followed, this is déjà vu all over again, a moment in history that
must make them feel like they have taken a step back in time.
The disparity in wealth today is as great as it was back then — and it’s growing rapidly.
wealth. The bottom 40% has a net worth of zero. In most cases, they owe
more than they own, which makes them worth less than zero, when it
comes to wealth.
Don’t begrudge the rich getting so much richer.
It’s House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s good fortune, we assume, that
her husband’s smart investments in real estate and football surged in
the last year, increasing her net worth by 62% to $35.2 million, showing
growing disparity in wealth isn’t just along party lines, at least.
U.S. Census figures show that for the third year in a row, the poverty
rate jumped nationally, reaching 15.3%, with 2.6 million more people
joining the 43.6 million already living below the poverty line on a
family income of less than $22,113.
In California, it is worse — a lot worse.
poverty rate jumped a full point to 16%, leaving 6 million people with
poverty level incomes and one in five Californians without health
insurance, and one in eight without a job.
Burbank’s poverty rate
is roughly half the state average, but Glendale and Pasadena are on par
with the state. Los Angeles, in a class with Rust Belt cities like
Detroit for unemployment, has a poverty rate a third higher, at more
You can be as indifferent as you want to the poor — and
a lot of people don’t seem to care if they live or die — but you need
to worry how they fill up emergency rooms and increase demand on public
services of all types, and about the impact of the instability that
comes from chronic unemployment and deepening poverty.
Most of all, you need to worry about yourself, if you fit anywhere into the middle class.