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Debt Inequality Grows as Incomes Drop

As the rich get richer, the other 95% drops deeper into debt. An article from CNNMoney showed the overwhelming majority of Americans have seen debt balloon over the past 20 years, thanks mostly to falling incomes.

Visa cards
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

The wealthy have not needed to borrow, so they continued their spending. However, struggling Americans didn’t put down their credit cards. They continued spending money they didn’t have, driving themselves deeper into debt, mostly to keep themselves in place and be able to put their heads on their pillows at night.

However, economists say less-wealthy Americans are also just trying to keep up with the upper class, from leasing expensive vehicle models to picking a top-brand stove over a regular model. To appear successful, they are making expensive decisions.

In 1983, the debt-to-income level for the 95% was 62-cents for every dollar earned. The ratio soared to $1.48 for every dollar by 2007. In the same period, the the ratio actually fell for people in the top 5%.

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