Investment guru Warren Buffett sees wealth inequality as the most serious problem in the country: "a prosperity that's been disproportionately rewarding to the people on top,"
"The real problem, in my view, is — this has been — the prosperity has been unbelievable for the extremely rich people," Buffett said Monday during an interview with PBS NewsHour.
With a net worth of more than $75 billion, Buffett is currently the second richest man alive, according to Forbes.
"If you go to 1982, when Forbes put on their first 400 list, those people had [a total of] $93 billion. They now they have $2.4 trillion, [a multiple of] 25 for one," he said.
"This has been a prosperity that's been disproportionately rewarding to the people on top," the Berkshire Hathaway CEO said.
The stock market has been climbing since the crash in March 2009 and the U.S. economy is growing at roughly 2 percent, Buffett said. Such a pace (about one-third less than the 3 percent rate President Donald Trump has been touting) is a healthy number for the economy and will improve the quality of life of many Americans, according to CNBC.
It will add "$19,000 of GDP per person, family of four, $76,000 in one generation," Buffett said. "So, your children and your children's children and all that, they will live far, far, far better than we live with 2 percent growth," he said.
However, not all are benefitting from such economic progress. "The economy is doing well, but all Americans aren't doing well," Buffett said.
He explained that America's labor market is hindered by rapid automation and digitization technology, which can happen faster than employees can be retrained.
Such an evolving economy "doesn't benefit the steelworker maybe in Ohio," Buffett said. "And that's the problem that has to be addressed, because when you have something that's good for society, but terribly harmful for given individuals, we have got to make sure those individuals are taken care of," he said.
"We always see shifts in employment. If you think about it, if you go back to 1800, it took 80 percent of the labor force to produce enough food for the country. Now it takes less than 3 percent. Well, the truth is that market systems move people around," Buffett said.
"There's always a mismatch. I mean, you know, as the economy evolves, it reallocates resources," he said.
Buffett still urges Americans to invest in the stock market.
"They should just keep buying and buying and buying a little bit of America as they go along. And 30 or 40 years from now, they will have a lot of money," he said.
(Newsmax wires services Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report).
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