What can we afford?

October 13, 2010

States across the nation will be paralyzed for the rest of our lives because they face unfunded pension obligations that, if counted accurately, amount to $2 trillion — or $87,000 per plan participant.

But what is the extra income that is going to the top five percent? US personal income for 2009 is about 12 trillion. 34% goes to the top five percent each year. Over a ten year period that goes to (assuming no growth, which is unlikely) 120 trillion. These can be counted as pensions for the wealthier. This doesn’t tell us what to do, but it does create a context for thinking.

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