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A wake-up call for the American dream

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A wake-up call for the American dream

New York (CNN Business)This fourth of July, nationwide protests and the Covid-19 crisis have forced America to recognize the ugly inequality lying just beneath its star-spangled surface.

The country’s economic fragility is clear: Almost 40% of Americans were unable to cover a $400 emergency expense and quickly pay it off, according to the Federal Reserve. Household debt has grown at an alarming rate for some time; Close to one in five US households had either zero or negative net worth, according to a 2017 study by the Institute of Policy Studies. There’s little reason to think this has improved much since.

The income inequality gap has never been wider. The country’s uneven wealth distribution is illustrated by the fact that the bottom 50% of Americans have just 1% of the nation’s wealth, while the top 10% holds 70%, according to the Pew Research Center. Middle-income families’ share of American wealth has been cut nearly in half over the past four decades, to just 17%. And one in four babies is born below the poverty line. […]

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