Ben Stein thinks you are rich

Ben Stein had an article in this month’s Mental Floss titled America the Rich. Apparently he and I share a similar view on the robustness of America’s economy, even if we disagree about evolution.

Some interesting points regarding the per capita gross national income — taking the total population divided by the national GNP.

  • America is the 7th highest with $43,500/person.
  • China is 128th with $1,740. So, even if they are growing at an astounding 10% or so compared to our lukewarm 4%, we still have a definite lead.
  • European countries are not what you would necessarily expect. The Celtic tiger of Ireland provides $41,000, while UK gets $37,000).
  • Oil-rich countries are not as well off as you would think. Kuwait does have $30,000, but compare this with Iran’s $1,400.

What is most amazing, however, is the size of wealth in the US. While we are behind Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, Bermuda, Iceland, and Denmark, our wealth is spread across 300 million or so citizens. When looked at this way, the US income is more than all of Europe and Russia…combined.

Granted, the average income is $26k/year so some of us are clearly making a lot more. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the most recent data found that the top 1% of Americans now own 40% of all wealth in the US. To put it another way, the remaining 99% get to share the remaining 60%. Of course, things are not evenly distributed. The top 20% of American own 80% of all wealth. that is to say, the bottom 80% of Americans share the remaining 20% of all wealth in the US. They should try harder to be white and male.


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