Gene Nichol on wealth disparity

Gap broadens between the rich and poor:

The U.S. Census bureau delivered, on Thursday, the expected news. Last year, 1 in 7 Americans lived in poverty. That represents the highest rate, nationally, in more than 15 years. The total number of us, almost 44 million, living below the stringent federal poverty standard (about $22,000 a year for a family of four) was the highest in our history.

Massive differentials exist across both income levels and stages of life. Even high-income black households have demonstrably less wealth than comparable white families. And, for example, black heads of household between the ages of 50 and 65, preparing for retirement, report at the median about $17,000 in assets. Similarly staged whites, on average, have $143,000. And single black women fare much, much worse than single black men.


Here's the study

by UNC's Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity Gene mentions in the article:

This study explores racial wealth disparity in North Carolina. Based on data gleaned from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation [SIPP], it finds, broadly, that national trends of harrowing racial wealth inequality are even more pronounced in North Carolina. Focusing, because of limited sample size in the SIPP data, on disparities between white and African American households, it concludes that black households, at the median, claim only about 13 percent of the wealth and, stunningly, about 4 percent of the net worth of white households. The corresponding figures for the nation are a bleak: 15 and 13 percent respectively. Median wealth for white households s roughly seven times that of black households. Net worth comparisons border on the grotesque.

These harsh differentials are spread across almost all asset categories. Nationally, black households have about half the home equity of whites. In North Carolina, it’s about a third. Here, black households own pensions at only about half the rate of whites, and at only a quarter of the value. Far fewer black households have significant savings, stocks or investment properties. The mean value of black household savings accounts is only about a quarter of that of whites. Many more black families are unbanked. Half of all black households in North Carolina have less than $100 in savings. Half.

Health care is a biggie

In the absence of health insurance coverage, people are forced to pay out of the pocket for everything, instead of a calculable monthly premium. These (generally unforeseen) costs deplete savings and/or saddle families with medical debt. Which (in turn) screws up their credit rating, etc.

As far as labor unions, North Carolina is a fairly hostile environment for collective bargaining. Which I'm sure contributes to our wealth disparity. Wages, pensions, 401k's, etc., are all areas that unions usually work to improve for their members. But since North Carolina has the lowest rate of union membership in the country (3.1%), it's not surprising we also have a big wealth gap.

Speaking of wealth disparity

Here's another rich white guy trying to buy his way into Congress.

Heh :)

Love these signs you've been making.


That income of $22,000 a year for a family of four is simply not possible. Two cannot live on that and probably not even one. It often makes me wonder if there is ever going to be the right answer.

Just ask a millionaire

Just ask a millionaire Republican like Art Pope, who was born with a whole silver service place setting in his mouth. He can tell you it's possible because he's been exploiting poor people his entire life.

If you think things are bad for the poor and middle class now, you have no idea. Just wait until Republicans "take back" their government, whatever that means.