People all over know there’s a startling wealth discrepancy in America, with the top 20% holding 86% of the nation’s wealth.
But do we really understand it?
“CBS This Morning” decided to appeal to our love of desserts to make a point about how wealth is distributed. A video Friday — reminiscent of old shopper-survey TV commercials — demonstrated the wealth gap to people at a mall using a pie sliced into 10 equal pieces.
Initially, anchor Tony Dokoupil asked people how best to represent wealth distribution in America by telling him how many pieces of the pie to put on plates representing five categories of Americans divided into 20% segments: The Wealthiest, the Upper Middle Class, the Middle Class, the Lower Middle Class and the Poorest.
No one in the video came close to an accurate guess.
In fact, nine pieces of the pie go to the wealthiest, while the upper middle and middle class share a mere single slice (80% of it goes to the upper middle class, and 20% to the middle class). The lower middle class gets just “crumbs,” which Dokoupil dusted onto their plate in the video. As for the poorest, they essentially get a bill to pay for pie. They have a median debt of $6,000.
If a sixth category is established for the richest 1% of Americans, they would get four pie slices all to themselves.
Later, Dokoupil asked people what they thought of plans by Democratic presidential candidates to boost taxes on the wealthiest.
“It would be a total disaster,” one private equity manager told him.
One of the shoppers asked: “Why not? They can afford it.” Another simply picked up a fork and tucked into a piece of “rich people’s pie.”
Check out the video up top. Dokoupil gets down to it at 1:45.