Oh Hello, Face! Meet Palm. Because You're About To See A Really Uncomfy Chart About The Super-Rich.

Curated by

Sometime around 50 years ago, something extreme started to change in the way rich people make and earn money in America. Actually, it was so extreme that we're still reeling from it now.

So what’s going on? Plenty. The very, VERY short story is this: Around 50 years ago, the super-rich started to gain the majority of their wealth less from salaries and more from the stock market ... all while having to follow fewer and fewer rules on their investments and profits.

See that income inequality jump in the '90s-'00s? Well, between 1992 and 2007, the average salary of the richest/wealthiest/most well-to-doiest 400 American people doubled, but the average capital gains (aka investments) haul increased 13x. Yes: thirteenfold increase. Lucky 13 (for the richest 400 people)! That’s 2x the salary and 13x the investment money. Sounds nice! Can I get that?

But here’s what’s crazy: As you can see from the chart above, there’s income inequality among the super-rich! The 99% of the super-rich are leagues below the 1% ... of the 1%. It’s like income inequality INCEPTION. Whoa.


I found this chart on this article from Yahoo! Finance because a girl's gotta keep tabs, mkay? I used the chart above with permission from Derek Thompson of The Atlantic. His piece (and this piece from Matt O’Brien) did a great job of answering the "well this is too overwhelming ... I don’t understand what happened ... and also what should I care about?" "question" I always have when I look at stats like the one up there.

(Bonus terminology alert! You may want to familiarize yourself with the terms "Fortunate 400" and “Rentier Capitalism.” Thanks, Wikipedia! Now I have some new things to yell about.)

For more about this staggering and confusing and rage-ifying problem for 99.99%, there's a video on how 9 out of 10 Americans are completely wrong about this mind-blowing fact right here on Upworthy. See what I did there?


Next bit of Upworthiness:

Flash Video Embed

This video is not supported by your device. Continue browsing to find other stuff you'll love!

Hi there, internet friend. We need to talk. You're using a painfully old web browser, and frankly, it's getting a little weird. It's not safe, and we want the best for you. We think it's time to upgrade.

Download Google Chrome, and try it for a week. Don't think about it, just do it. You'll thank us later.