Warren Buffett doesn't think any Americans should be poor anymore.
In an economy that produces over $54,000 in gross domestic product per capita, the billionaire says, regulators must rein in the fast-widening gap between the poor and the super-rich.
"You expect unequal results in a market economy, very unequal," the Berkshire Hathaway founder said in a video published Tuesday by Reuters TV. "But you really shouldn't have an economy with over $50,000 in GDP per person and have lots of people living in poverty who are willing to work. I mean, that makes no sense."
The 85-year-old said economic growth in the U.S. has far surpassed his parents' expectations, yet poverty persists.
"I was born in 1930. There's now six times as much real output per capita in the United States than there was, in real terms -- six times," he said. "If you'd told my parents that under these circumstances, there would be millions and millions of people living in poverty, they would have said it was impossible."
Yet, it's likely to continue.
French economist Thomas Piketty published a book last year that found the middle-class prosperity that flourished in the United States after World War II was an economic glitch, largely the result of the economic machinations of all-out war.
Backed by centuries of data, Piketty posited in Capital in the Twenty-First Century that unregulated capitalism naturally widens the wealth gap between rich and poor, and will continue to do so. Returns on capital, such as real estate or stocks, grow faster than the larger economy, so the wealthy accumulate more wealth over time while the working classes divvy up a shrinking share of the pie.
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