Wealth Inequality in America, Perception vs Reality

Note to self – as I look through my blog, I notice I haven’t penned down a single post in last 2 years. I can take an excuse of my busy life in last 2 years, but I regret it too and have been thinking for quite some time to break the silence and return to blogosphere. So, this hopefully would be the first post in series of more to come in days/weeks ahead.

Anyways, this post was triggered as I watched a show on hulu of Larry King interviewing Former American Labor Secretary Robert Reich about Income Inequality in America.

Now, I have heard and read about “Top 1% of America” for last many years, but have not payed too much attention to that debate.

However as I watched the show further, this Robert guy really got my interest, so I googled (or rather YOUTUBed) him out, and watched few short videos on him.

There was one video which blew my brains off, and that really caused me to blog this, watch this below before reading any further –

As you can see on those eye popping graphics, the income inequality gap is not only real but it’s mind boggling. This also intrigued me further to google out what is the minimum wage at USA – and found it to be $7.25 per hour.

Now … few years back this number did not make any impression on me – in fact it meant nothing to me, as I did not know about cost of living at USA, in fact I did not know about cost of running a family at all as I did not have one (being a bachelor / dependent on parents)

But now having personally lived at USA for many years, I can imagine that a salary below 40-50k per annum in USA would mean a decent life but almost no saving. A salary around 30K per year would mean not a decent life, rather a struggling one where one would need to decide between house rent vs other needs of life .. and so I cannot imagine life of someone living on $7.25 per hour which calculates out to be less than 15K per annum. Ouch!

Now, on one hand I can certainly argue that back home at India – there are many people not even getting this much. A country like India is a real place to understand the issue of poverty and it will be scary to think about minimum wage there and on top of it the reality that much of the Indian population does not even get that. Note that Unemployment is another big issue both in USA and more so at India – but unemployment is not the focus of my this post, so I will take liberty of completely bypassing that in this post and just focus on the “working” people and if they are getting the wage they deserve.

What intrigued me here is not really the minimum wage or unemployment – but putting that in light of the income inequality … thinking that as a society we are letting a certain fraction of people go crazy rich while there are equally hard working people who are probably not getting the wage they deserve due to labor market demand and supply equation.

Here is the trailer for the documentary of Robert Reich, hopefully I will watch that too someday –