Capitalism or Redistribution – America’s Choice


Recently a Harvard Professor came up with a clever 6:24-minute video full of wonderful special effects on how the wealth of the U.S. was distributed.

To make sure that I fully understood his video, I did some research of my own and came up with the following: The combined worth of the 400 richest people (billionaires) in America is $1.7 trillion dollars according to Forbes. The richest of the 400 was worth $66 billion, the poorest worth $1.1 billion.

As an aside, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, numbers 1 and 2 on the list, made charitable contributions of $28 billion and $17 billion respectively. Seventy percent of the 400 are described as self-made billionaires. It appears that there is a better way of making money then trying to win it in government sponsored lotteries.

There are also about 2.6 million millionaires in America. Of that number, 40 of them were in the U.S. Senate. The 40 in the Senate had a total net worth of $620 million (according to their fiscal disclosure forms). If we assume that the wealth distribution in the Senate might reflect a snapshot of all the millionaires in the U.S., then each of the 2.6 million millionaires would be worth about $15.5 million each ($620 million divided by 40 Senators). Thus the 2.6 million millionaires would be worth a total of 40.3 trillion dollars.

If we now take away the 1.7 trillion dollars from the 400 billionaires and the 40.3 trillion dollars from the 2.6 millionmillionaires (total 42.0 trillion) we can easily pay off our 16 trillion dollar national debt and have 26 trillion dollars left to distribute among the approximate 313 million people living in the U.S. This would allow each person in the U.S. to have about an additional $83,067 to spend on whatever they wanted to, for a year

It might be a little less, because we don’t want to take the billionaire’s and millionaire’s homes, do we?  But we may be able to more than make up that sum if we take away all the profits from those publicly owned capitalist companies. But then how would we finance our pension funds or IRA’s?

PROBLEM SOLVED?????  I know the Professor said we don’t have to move to socialism / communism to solve the problem. But I guess I’m confused about what his point / solution / reality is! My conclusion is that, unfortunately “life is unfair”.

I might have missed the good Professor’s point but as William Buckley once said, “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University”.




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