Pulitzer-Prize winning economist and author David Cay Johnston visited Oregon in June to discuss issues of wealth inequality in America, and what we can do about it.
We had an opportunity to sit down with Johnston to discuss the issue.
Among many topics, Johnston addressed how the distribution of wealth in our nation is not a naturally-occurring phenomenon — but is, in fact, a direct result of the policies and practices put into place by our lawmakers. As things stand, the richest Americans pay far less than middle and low-income earners. And who pays even less? Big corporations.
The result is that middle-class Americans end up subsidizing big corporations and the rich. Johnston shared great insight into the topic at hand — but here’s one fact he shared that astounded us particularly:
In 2011, the 277-some billion (bottom 90%) had got $59 more money than they did in 1966, in real terms… Now let’s count that as one inch. How did the top 10% do? Well, their line would go up through the ceiling of this room through the top of this building to 160 feet. The top 1% would go 880 feet. And the top .001%? 5 miles… This is government policy to take from the many to give to the few.
Check out the video for the full scoop on wealth distribution and income inequality across the country and in Oregon.