Financial gains over the last decade in the United States have been mostly made at the "tippy-top" of the economic food chain as more people fall out of the middle class. The top 20 percent of Americans now holds 84 percent of U.S. wealth, as Paul Solman found out as part of a Making Sen$e series on economic inequality.

This video is from the Making Sen$e with Paul Solman video series from PBS. Learn more about these videos and view a listing of the most recent videos we have available.

Key Concepts

Income, Distribution of Income, Income Inequality, Equity


Distribution of Income

Students engage in a simulation to explore how productivity influences the distribution of income and how government policy influences the redistribution of income. They calculate measures of central tendency for the entire class, their group's percentage of total classroom income, and gra...

Grades 9-12

Booker T. Washington:"Fifty Cents and a Dream"

Young Booker T. Washington had a dream. That dream was to use the resources at his disposal to earn the money necessary to get an education that would allow him and others to become financially secure. This lesson based on the picture book "Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington" by...

Grades K-2, 3-5

Why does Brett Favre make $8.5 million per year?

What determines a person's salary? Why do professional athletes make so much money? People who work as firefighters, police officers or teachers are clearly more important to our society, yet they make much less money than jocks. What explains this?

Grades 9-12

Do I Look Like I'm Made of Money?

One of the most common replies given by parents when their children ask for money is “Do I look like I’m made of Money?” This lesson is designed to educate students about the need for money as a generally accepted medium of exchange. The students will also learn how money is e...

Grades 3-5, 6-8

Income: It Ain't Where You Start, It's What You Got, and Where You End

This year's federal elections will involve electing a president, all members of the House of Representatives, and one third of the Senate. Barring some international crisis, economic issues appear likely to dominate the debates. In past elections, macroeconomic issues related to the busine...

Grades 9-12


  • “This is great, I plan to use in my Eco class asap. The one thing I would have liked, maybe it's on the site just didn't see it, is the chart to display prior to the showing the video.”

    Carlos G., Boerne, TX   POSTED ON November 13, 2011

  • Be the first to review this interactive tool!

    Add a Review