By Junye Zhang
On Dec. 5, 2021, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a report on its website titled "The State of Democracy in the United States."
This series of infographics centers on the second section of the text, "Messy and chaotic practices of democracy." This section illustrates that democracy in the US has gone wrong, which is reflected not only in its system design and general structure, but also in the way it is put into practice. The gunshots and farce on Capitol Hill have completely revealed what is underneath the gorgeous appearance of the American-style democracy. The death of Black American George Floyd has laid bare the systemic racism that exists in American society for too long, and spurred a deluge of protests rippling throughout the country and even the whole world.
While the COVID-19 pandemic remains out of control in the US, the issue of mask-wearing and vaccination has triggered further social division and confrontation. Dividends of economic growth are distributed unfairly, and income growth has stalled for most ordinary people for a long period of time. The American-style democracy can hardly uphold public order and ethics, nor advance public well-being to the fullest.
Here are highlights from part four of the text: Widening wealth gap.
(4) Widening wealth gap
The US is more polarized than any other Western country in terms of wealth distribution. Its Gini coefficient has increased to 0.48 in 2021, almost the highest in 50 years. As revealed by reports of the Institute for Policy Studies, a US think tank, the combined wealth of US billionaires soared 19-fold between 1990 and 2021, while over this same period, US median wealth only increased 5.37%. The harsh reality in the US is the rich is becoming richer, and the poor poorer.
According to Fed’s October 2021 statistics, the middle 60% of US households by income, defined as the “middle class”, saw their combined assets drop to 26.6% of national wealth as of June this year, the lowest in three decades, while the first 1% had a 27% share, surpassing the “middle class”.
A report by UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez shows that in terms of average annual income, America’s top 10% rich earn over nine times as much as the bottom 90%; the wealthiest 1% are about 40 times more than the bottom 90%; and the ultra-wealthy top 0.1% are 196 times of the bottom 90%.