Poverty in the U.S. just doesn’t add up, according to Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway who’s given away billions of dollars to charitable causes. Buffet got real on America’s wealth inequality in an interview with Reuters published Sept. 8, 2015.
Here’s that quote in context:
“You expect unequal results in a market economy, very unequal. But you really shouldn’t have an economy with over $50,000 in GDP per person and have lots of people living in poverty who are willing to work. I mean, that does not make sense.”
You can say that again, Warren.
Despite the U.S. having a GDP that surpasses $54,000 per person, there’s certainly no shortage of inequality.
Compared to other developed countries, “low-income Americans get an exceptionally raw deal,” as this article by Jordan Weissmann in Slate illustrates. Americans at the bottom of the economic ladder are in significantly worse circumstances than their counterparts in nations like Norway, Germany, and Canada.
But why? “America’s poor are poor by global standards because we’ve decided to leave them so,” Weissmann wrote, noting the U.S. spends a relatively small amount on helping those in need (like the unemployed or the elderly) compared to other rich countries.
Read more: Warren Buffett nailed why poverty in America ‘does not make sense.’