There are 327 million people that live in the US. Of that:
- Immigrants that illegally enter this country make up of about 3% of the population.
- LGBTQ represents roughly 4%.
- 12% of the population has a disability.
- People that are homeless are about a tenth of a percent of the US population.
- For single mothers, one of the most disadvantaged groups in the US, nearly 30% of their families live under the poverty line.
- Blacks are the largest racial minority at 12%.
- The total White population makes up 76% of the nation.
- 70% of the US is Christian.
- 21% of the US population (1 and 5) receive welfare.
- The majority of Americans believe that welfare recipients are black. They’re not. For instance, if you look at SNAP, overwhelmingly it is families that are white with children where parents work.
The problem is that our perception doesn’t match reality.
We have built a culture—a culture skewed by cultural cognition and confirmation bias— where minorities are viewed as a threat to the economy. This simply isn’t true. The US is estimated to have a 21 trillion dollar GDP, making it the world’s largest economy. There is plenty of money in the system to go around.
People who live below the poverty line, that have limited access to loans and insurance, with no resume, lack of education…have limited to no political power. Except perhaps for one minority class. The top 5%.
The top 5% of income earners control 66% of the US wealth. Three men (Bezos, Gates and Buffett) own as much as the bottom 50%.
A shocking study found that ordinary Americans have no impact whatsoever on the making of national policy in our country (even with majority support). The study also concluded that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape policy outcomes in the United States.
In addition, as Thomas Ferguson has pointed out, elections are bought. The average Senator has to raise on average $14,000 dollars every single day, just to stay in office. One of the easiest ways to raise that kind of cash is to turn to lobbyists, who make big donations and organize fundraisers for elected officials in order to buy political influence.
The reason why this is a problem is that wealth creates political power and influence which enhances changes in the rules that create more wealth for the rich.
This is a system problem.
Until we learn to see, we can’t work through conflicts of interest.