Melissa Harris-Perry | March 10, 2013
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>>> well, inequality is old news in this country, the carnegies, rockefellers are the aged elders of today's puffettes. when you ask americans how this wealthy nation's abundance should be distributed, this is what they say. the yellow portion on the left is the share we think the country's wealthiest few should have. the orange is the upper middle class share and the red is the middle. the gray block on the right is the poorest and the share we think they should have. that's what we think it should be. the ideal way to distribute wealth. we know this is not the reality. if you ask how well it's distributed people think it looks like this. the rich have a huge share of the wealth and the poor still have something. here is the deal. here is what the share really looks like. in reality, we are way, way, way more unequal than we even thought. the wealthiest 20% among us hold 80% of the assets in this country. you can barely register the poorest among us. that line, barely, you can't even see it. that's what the reality is there on the top. that data is the graphical representation of the false consciousness, the gap between rich and poor, we don't have a handle on how bad things have gotten. you were talking protection. this is the perception i'm worried about.
>> this is scary. we talk income and equality. we are comfortable talking it. when you talk about what we worry about stemming from that, political power , wealth and equality is important. you have somebody who got rich. they had a top income, a trader or something. they don't have enough money to be trying to influence a political system . when you talk the 1% of wealth, they have the stability in their fortune to try to use it. when talking social mobility and investing in children or buying a home, the capacity to climb up that ladder, it's coming from that wealth, not a single year's income. the wealth and equality is -- there's a much larger disparity in income and equality. we talked about it less and are unclear of what to do to solve it.
>> it's more important.
>> in terms of middle class wealth, most of it is tied up in housing. this is one-third below peak. if we are talking a broad based recove recovery, it has not been.
>> this is why african-americans lost their wealth. the groups of people that put all their money, any money they have into something that functions like the stock market . it's a market. i know we have a lot of tradition of owning a home and making sure you own that property. the problem is, it's volatile. it's a volatile thing and controlled by a market you don't have control over. it can destroy you.
>> the thing about housing, this idea that it's recovering, it's recovering for some people. a group called ace is putting out a report. $3 billion and more in foreclosures for wells fargo . there's a pipeline. there's two economies going on. in communities of color and all over, it's not just foreclosure, it's being under water. there are things to do. we could rewrite mortgages and put $1 trillion in the economy and create jobs if we fixed housing for regular people , not just banks.
>> the wells fargo story is uglier than that. it's not just volatile, they sold a certain kind of product to poor communities and the communities lost value. you end up stuck. you can't move for a labor.
>> they weren't alone.
>> they were just -- agreenlgous.
>> watch this loop. why did a lot of homes go under? why couldn't people afford their homes? jobs. the jobs weren't there. why are there no jobs? corporations are hoarding cash, they are holding on to cash. the stock market rewards them because they love a fat balance sheet. this is a vicious cycle.
>> there's a third part, right? so jobs go down, part of that is because corporations are hoarding cash. the other thing is because the public sector is shedding jobs.
>> we see this number the other day. if we held it straight, if we had not cut a single public sector job, we would be at 7.2% unemployment. if we were adding at the rate we were adding in the george w. bush era we would be well in the 6%. one thing we know how to do is we can create public sector jobs. it's not rocket science . if we want to hire 100,000 teacher's assistants, wokd do that. there was a proposal to do that. there was a consensus in washington that was inefficient. it's old school liberalism. one of the big mistakes was to focus little on job creation .
>> the deficit. if we start adding government jobs , you are adding to the deficit.
>> i think there's, in a strange way, a relationship between housing and government. the same predatory loans that people were sold in their homes have been sold to local governments around the country.
>> these incredible deals in california where, you probably remember the school loan. they don't get paid off for 20 years. what wall street did is not just bankrupt homes and people, it's bankrupting government. one of the things we are working -- we need to re-negotiate the debt. wall street got re-negotiate the debt. something exciting is happening in oregon. the public employee union put in demands that there should be no cuts to public service until the state sues and gets money back. we have to get back what they stole and not say recovery. we stay where we are and they get mega --
>> i love this narrative it didn't just bankrupt you and your household, it bankrupted whole cities. we are going to talk about detroit later in the show. this frames it. there is somebody who owes back to these communities. more after the break. as good as the monthly unemployment numbers were, there's a glossed over troubling figure in there that