Paul Solmon: Land Of The Free, Home Of The Poor

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This week Paul Solmon has had an interesting series of reports on the ever-growing inequality of wealth in our country. Here’s the first of them; I highly recommend the whole series-

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

In case you might want to meditate on those pie charts, here they are-

Equal Wealth Distribution (Exists Nowhere)

Sweden's Wealth Distribution

USA's Wealth Distribution

No, you don’t need glasses. That last pie chart really does illustrate data showing that the bottom 40% of the USA’s population controls just .3% of the wealth. Keep that in mind as you evaluate the positions of the political candidates running in 2012.

2 thoughts on “Paul Solmon: Land Of The Free, Home Of The Poor

  1. I was fortunate enough to work in Sweden for a while a few years back. It was an interesting experience to work in that culture. I was immediately struck by the fact that virtually everyone I encountered under the age of 40 spoke fluent English (and immediately started using it when they met me before I uttered a word … apparently my height gave me away as a non-Swede). I learned that they had made the conscious decision to start using English in their school system, not just teaching it as a course, but actually using it in other courses so that everybody would be bi-lingual and speak the language they considered the most valuable in world commerce. Can you imagine any school system in the USA starting to teach courses using Spanish, just because it made sense to do so? I know, I know, if English was good enough for Jesus it’s good enough for everybody, but still a little Spanish wouldn’t hurt, would it?

    Their taxes were sky high, but I heard no grousing about it at all. People seemed to understand the value of the services they got and all of the safety nets built into their system. I remember reading that ABBA never moved any of their wealth out of the country to avoid the taxes as rich entertainers typically do in high tax countries. They felt it was part of their duty to the community.

    This was 20 years ago and they were way ahead of us on cell phone technology and electronic commerce, which is part of why I was there, adapting a software package written in the US that printed only paper checks. Nobody there ever touched a paper check. That’s not unusual in today’s times, but back then unheard of.

    I left impressed with everything I saw there. It seems even more bizarre 20 years later. I’m not at all surprised at how well balanced they are in wealth distribution.

  2. And, according to Solmon’s report, Americans generally prefer Sweden’s wealth distribution to their own – in fact, they think it IS their own. Of course, it could be, if only…

    I think we pay a price for being a country of immigrants, from so many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds: we don’t think of our fellow citizens as an extended family, unlike the Swedes. And that’s a shame, since person on Earth is literally a cousin of every other person (however many times removed they may be).

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