05 Jun 2015

Nation’s Poorest 1% Now Controls Two-Thirds Of U.S. Soda Can Wealth

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SodaCans

The Onion quotes a devastating report identifying yet another form of startling inequality resulting in large-scale social injustice in America.

According to the sobering report, the disproportionate distribution of soda-can wealth is greater than ever before, and has become one of the worst instances of economic inequality in the nation’s history. Data showed that over-salvaging of cans by a small and elite group of can-horders has created a steadily growing and possibly unbridgeable gap between the rich and the mega-poor.

“Although our nation’s upper middle class actually consumes the most beverages, a staggering percentage of these cans wind up in the hands of a very few,” said economist Cynthia Pierce, who worked as a consultant on the three-year, $14 million government study. “It’s a troubling trend. And as a tiny fraction of the population continues to maintain its stranglehold on redeemable can wealth, it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing.”

According to Pierce, the study points to a distinct economic advantage for the most can-affluent—those who possess the resources necessary to collect, transport, separate, and accumulate more and more cans than the rest of the population.

“Members of this exclusive group come from exceedingly poor backgrounds and have access to outrageously low levels of education, which makes them much better prepared to reap the benefits of digging around in garbage,” Pierce added. …

One canned individual cited in the study is can tycoon Will Dorsey, a 33-year-old Detroit resident who spent his childhood living off the funds collected from his family’s vast can holdings. At the age of 16, Dorsey inherited five carts and dozens of garbage bags overflowing with recyclables when his father passed away unexpectedly one cold December morning.

According to economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, people like Dorsey, who maintain an ultra-poor lifestyle that is vastly different from the rest of the population, are egregiously out of touch with the everyday economic realities of mainstream America.

“Dorsey is one of those select few who come from old can money,” Krugman said. “They’re just hoarding their assets so nobody else can benefit. And then they parade down the street with their carts full of recycling.”

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Lynn Chu.

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