A Broader View of America’s Wealth Inequality

BY Paul Solman  September 22, 2011 at 2:41 PM EDT


Editor’s Note: Wednesday’s story, featuring economist Robert Lerman’s take on the distribution of wealth in the United States, has generated a flood of comments. Lerman has agreed to respond to many of the points made by our viewers –
Making Sense
you can add your own in the comments below. Meanwhile, as promised, here is the more detailed breakdown of how he would slice the pie, factoring in Social Security and Medicare benefits, along with financial and housing assets.

As Lerman wrote in an email that prompted Wednesday night’s story (which was itself a response to our original “pie chart” story):

Notwithstanding these points, the super-duper rich do have an unbelievable amount of money compared even to the well-off.

So here’s a breakdown of wealth distribution based on financial and housing assets only, including a further dissection of the uppermost quintile:

inequality: financial and housing assets

And Bob Lerman’s breakdown of wealth distribution, including Social Security and Medicare benefits along with financial and housing assets, again slicing down within the uppermost quintile:

inequality: social security, medicare, financial and housing assets

This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions _Follow Paul on Twitter._