For those Americans who still consider Russia a rival of the US, I have bad news. We have fallen behind the Great Russian Bear in one important economic category: Russia is one of the few nations on the planet with more economic disparity than ours.
In the US, the top one percent own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, while the bottom 80 percent own just 7 percent. But in Russia, just 110 people own 35 percent of the nation’s wealth! According to a report by Credit Suisse, “Russia has the highest level of wealth inequality in the world, apart from small Caribbean nations with resident billionaires.”
Damn those Russians! We used to be number one!
Of course, this means our greedy billionaires will need to step up their game. We know they’re trying. The Koch brothers funded the government shutdown over “Obamacare” in order to maintain the status quo. Wall Street, the health care industry, and defense contractors have increased their lobbying groups in Washington. And the US Supreme Court is currently hearing a court case that may allow the obscenely wealthy to better purchase politicians and political favors under the guise of free speech.
But even that may not be enough. So the bought-and-paid-for Teapublicans are working overtime to privatize Social Security, Medicare, our military, prisons, schools and every other institution in the US. The claim is that this will make the institutions run more efficiently and more cheaply. But, in reality, privatization merely makes these institutions less responsive while adding to their costs and the corporations’ bottom lines.
But who are the poor and the middle class to complain? This is about national pride. We’re exceptional! We have to be number one. USA! USA! USA!