Are you worried that millionaires are falling too far behind billionaires? Brookings Senior Fellow Richard Reeves isn’t. While rising income and wealth inequality between those in the top 1 percent of the income distribution and everyone else is a noted and serious problem in America today, there may also be a gap within the top 1 percent itself, with the wealth of the top 0.01 percent growing even faster than the rest of the wealthiest people. In a satirical segment on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Reeves said that “The relative position of multimillionaire families by comparison to billionaire families is not the biggest problem facing the U.S. today,” Reeves said. “Nobody else is worried about that gap.”
Reeves, policy director of the Center on Children and Families, and editor-in-chief of the Social Mobility Memos blog, delves into some of the methodological questions about measuring wealth with this “Me? I’m Not Rich!” problem, stating that “So long as people who are rich by any reasonable definition are able to convince themselves that the label applies only to those even higher up the ladder, and who appear to be rising even higher, the prospects for greater equity in the tax system will remain bleak.”
In this video, Reeves explains inequality and opportunity in America with Legos:
Reeves also authored a Brookings Essay, “Saving Horatio Alger: Equality, Opportunity, and the American Dream,” in which he presents an in-depth examination on social mobility and equality in America, and what we can do to save the American Dream.