The Latest Viral Video–Wealth Inequality

Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

Stay up with what the cool kids are watching.

A study on wealth inequality went viral on YouTube this week.  Dan Ariely, best-selling author of Predictably Irrational, and a Harvard Business School professor asked Americans what their ideal distribution of wealth would be.

The answer? Pretty equal.

Then they asked Americans what they thought the actual distribution of wealth was.

The answer?  Probably less equal than the ideal.

But in fact America was much less equal even than that.

Reality was twice as far from the average American’s ideal as the average American thought.

Why does this matter?  Because lack of wealth makes it more difficult to move up socially and economically.  And concentration of wealth can lead to concentration of political power, which can lead to further concentration of wealth.

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