Study: Wealthiest 1 percent owns 40 percent of country’s wealth

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The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans now own 40 percent of the country’s wealth, the highest share in the last 50 years, according to a new study.

The Washington Post reported on the study from economist Edward Woolf, which uses data from the federal Survey of Consumer Finances.

According to Woolf’s paper, the gap between the wealth owned by the top 1 percent and the wealth owned by the bottom 90 percent has been steadily widening over the past few decades as the wealthiest become wealthier and the majority of households lose their share.

The average net worth of households in the top 1 percent is $26.4 million. The top 20 percent of households own 90 percent of the country’s wealth, and the bottom half of the top 20 percent have an average net worth of $740,800, according to Woolf.

{mosads}The wealth inequality gap is worse in the U.S. than in any other country around the world, according to the Post’s analysis of data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with the next highest being Germany, where the top 1 percent owns 25 percent of the wealth.

Closing the wealth gap has been an increasingly difficult challenge for lawmakers and was a key issue during the 2016 presidential race, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) campaigning on a platform largely dedicated to redistributing wealth.

The GOP tax plan that lawmakers hope to send to President Trump by the end of the month has been harshly criticized for the large tax cuts it would give to corporations and wealthy Americans. Democrats and others opposed to the bill have said that it will exacerbate the inequality highlighted in Woolf’s study.

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