One percent of all Americas have 40% of America’s $54 trillion (that is, $54,000,000,000,000) of wealth (or roughly a total of $21,600,000,000,000, which equals roughly $6,945,000 per person in the top 1%). This aggregate wealth owned solely by the top 1% is well in excess of what Americans believe the top 20 percent of all Americans should have. Matters have gotten worse over the last 30 years. In 1976, the top 1% took home only 9% of our National Income, whereas the top 1% now takes home approximately 24% of our National Income. Moreover, the top 1% own 50% (whereas the bottom 50% own only 0.5%) of our country’s stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Corporate America CEOs (that is, chief executive offices) make more than 380 times that of their average worker. The bottom 80% owns only 7% percent of America’s $54 trillion of wealth (or roughly $15,200 per person). This is grossly different from the ideal selected by 92% of all Americans (which selected ideal contemplated that no one should be living in poverty and the wealthy might be making roughly 100 times that of the poorest Americans and 10 times that of the middle class). The shocking truth is that the reality in America is far worse than that which Americans believe to be the reality. (See "Building a Better America -- One Wealth Quintile At A Time" by Dan Ariely of Duke University and Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School)
Among the poor, each has roughly pocket change (and then, not all the time). Among the poor are children. According to Census Bureau statistics, in 2012 (i) 21.8% (that is, more than 1 in 5) of all American children under the age of 18 lived in poverty (the same percent as in 2011), and (ii) 25.1% (that is, 1 in 4) of all American children under the age of 5 lived in poverty and 9.7% (that is, almost 1 in 10) of these young children (under age 5) lived in extreme poverty. Children continue to be America’s poorest people, particularly the youngest of our children.
This is perplexing because We, the People have existed for more than 238 years and every success in America has required the direct contribution of members of We, the People. Not a single corporation, philanthropy, government, or any other enterprise can derive economic success without humans – that is, members of We, the People. Moreover, no one is able to generate vastly greater wealth without the work of other members of We, the People. As Elizabeth Warren has observed: “There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory... [. . . .] [P]art of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”
The United Nations 2013 World Happiness Report ranks the United States at only 17th among its studied 156 member states. The United States is not among the 44 top member states which have experienced the largest gain in happiness upon comparing their results for 2005 – 2007 to those for 2010 – 2012. While the United Nations’ most recent study reveals that happiness had increased in 130 member countries, happiness in the United States had declined. (United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 2013)
However, the United States is ranked number 1 in the world with $16,244,600,000,000 in Gross Domestic Product. China is ranked number 2 with about half as much Gross Domestic Product. (World Bank, 2013) This is interesting because the United States is ranked only 3rd by population. Consequently, this measurement does not tell the whole story. The Gross Domestic Product divided by population is approximately $51,760 in the United States, whereas in China the same calculation is a mere $6,125, or approximately 12% of that which is produced per person by We, the People.
Thus, statistics regarding the economic success of a people do not simultaneously reflect the happiness of such people. This is because the measurement of economic success may not reflect the extent to which a country’s government is ensuring fulfillment of the human rights of its people. Economic measures have not served well as a proxy for the happiness of people. The happiness of its people is a core responsibility of every government.
It is not going to get better unless members of We, the People wake up, pay attention, and decide to make a difference. Here is why. Most Americans are far too busy with school, family, religion, and other core interests, raising children, working one or more jobs (often more than 40 hours per week), self-soothing through one form of entertainment or another, and etc. Researching the answers to today’s challenges is very time consuming, and one of the most difficult tasks is determining if we are asking the right questions. Further complicating the matter is that we believe that those who purport to know the answers do in fact know the answers. What good are their answers if they are not asking the right questions?
To address the many challenges facing America we need less debate, less irrelevant information, and to be asking the right questions. The answers already exist. They are simply hidden by the morass of irrelevant information and irrelevant questions. Moreover, members of We, the People have already reached agreement on the relevant issues. Thus, there is no need for new laws, negotiations or any other sleight of hand. We need only fulfill our existing agreement.
After more than a decade of research, the object of the Human Rights Capitalism Series is simply to share what has been learned and to save all fellow members of We, the people the extraordinary time and effort it would take for each to do the research on their own. Human Rights Capitalism is the initial volume of those published as part of the series. One cannot answer the many questions being asked unless we first answer the question: “What are our original promises?” Then, we can go on to answer the question “Are we fulfilling our original promises to each other?” Today’s questions are endless in nature and sense of urgency, but they all revolve around the answer to such question. This is the sole, proper starting place to learn the answers we seek. Our agreement among all members of We the People immortalized our approach to ensuring the sustainability of America as a nation and We the People as a sovereign.
So, “To what have Americans already agreed?”
Human Rights Capitalism