A video made shortly after the 2012 election showing how much greater the disparity actually is, has gone viral in the last few days thanks to links from websites including Reddit and Mashable. First, it lays out what people see as ideal, a system in which wealthy Americans get a lot more but poor Americans are slightly above the poverty line. Reality perhaps has the most shock value. As the narrator lays out in the video (uploaded by an unaffiliated, anonymous YouTube user), the top 1% has 40% of all the nation’s wealth, the bottom 80% only has 7% of it.
If you watch the video, you’ll be left with many questions. Among them are the following:
- What is morally wrong with wealth inequality?
- Why must wealth be distributed?
- Whose job is it to distribute the wealth?
- What makes the distribution of wealth “fair”?
- How do we measure “fairness” with respect to how people acquire their wealth?
- What is the “ideal” distribution of America’s wealth and who has the authority to determine what that distribution should be and how should it be enforced?
There are many more questions to pose, for sure.
Near the end of the video the narrator commits a fatal error, which ultimately reveals a possible motive behind the production, when he asks why CEOs should earn a salary “380 times” more than their average employee. The narrator then says, “we don’t have to go back to socialism to find something that is fair for hard working Americans.” There you have it friends: envy. The idea that somehow those who are wealthy are undeserving of their wealth leaps out at the end of the video. There is a deep seated envy epidemic in this country and we see it in videos like this.