World-Class Inequality

inequalityOne of the persistent issues of the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign was the wide (and growing) divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots”—variously expressed as a rising sentiment against the “one-percenters,” or as laments against the “hollowing out of the middle class.”

Is the U.S. any more unequal than other countries?  A report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests that it is.  Looking at all developed nations, OECD researchers found that the average “score” of inequality, from 0-1, was right around 0.318 (see graphic), with higher scores indicating a bigger gap between the wealthiest citizens and the average working person.  (A “0” score would indicate that everybody enjoys exactly the same income, while a “1” score would mean that one person took home all the income.)  America, home to Wall Street and its multi-million-dollar bonuses, came in with the third-highest income inequality, behind only Chile and Mexico, and far more unequal than the world’s most egalitarian societies in Scandinavia: Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Finland.  (Turkey came in at a virtual tie with the U.S.)

What does that mean?  Traditionally, societies with greater inequality tend to be less socially stable, to the point where international economists monitor the discrepancy between rich and average citizens to determine which nations are in danger of experiencing a revolution among the masses.  Consider the most recent election a form of revolution, which may have failed, considering the number of Wall Streeters and wealthy corporate titans who are already preparing to take office in President-Elect Trump’s Washington cabinet.





About Objectively Speaking

Tom Batterman, founder of Vigil Trust & Financial Advocacy and Financial Fiduciaries, LLC is in the business of representing the best financial interests of his clients. Having provided objective, fee-only financial management services for over two decades, he specializes in managing the investment and related financial affairs of individuals and mutual insurance companies who do not have the time, interest or expertise to manage such matters on their own. As an objective, unbiased professional who takes on a fiduciary responsibility to his clients, he guides clients to the financial decisions they would make themselves if they had years of training and experience and the time and expertise to fully research and understand all of their options. Founded in 2010 as an outgrowth of Vigil Trust & Financial Advocacy, Financial Fiduciaries, LLC is a financial management solution for individuals and mutual insurance companies who recognize they do not have the time, interest or expertise to properly attend to their financial matters on their own. While there are many financial “advisors”, most of them have investment products to sell and the “advice” they provide is geared toward getting their clients to engage in a purchase. As one of the rare subset of advisors known as “fiduciary advisors”, Financial Fiduciaries does not sell any investment product so its guidance is not compromised by conflicts of interest which plague ordinary advisors. Prior to his employment in the financial industry in financial advocacy and trust positions, he worked at a private law practice in the Wausau area in the areas of estate planning, tax, retirement planning, corporate organizations and real estate. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the UW-Madison Law School and has during his career held Series 7, 24 and 65 securities licenses. A longtime resident of the Wausau, Wisconsin Area, Tom is active in the community. He enjoys golf, curling, skiing, fishing, traveling and spending time with his family.
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