As Hanley Wood's vice-chairman Frank Anton points out in a recent essay, the total income of the top 10% of wage earners in the U.S. is nine times as much as the bottom 90%. And the top 1% earn on average 38 times more than the bottom 90%. Wealth disparity is just as extreme, with the richest U.S. households (the top one-tenth of 1%) having as much combined wealth as the bottom 90%. With about 125 million households in the U.S., that means the 125,000 richest households control as much wealth as the 113 million households in the bottom 90%. Is the American promise of all people having at least decent shelter and the American dream of owning a home sustainable with such a disparity in wealth and income? If history is any guide, suggests Anton, the answer is no.

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