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Watch John Oliver completely destroy the idea that hard work will make you rich

The facts about economic inequality in America are pretty staggering. The top 1 percent of Americans brings home close to 20 percent of income. Income inequality is the highest it's been since 1928. And Pew found that by a 60 to 36 percent margin, Americans believe they live in a country with a system that unfairly favors the wealthy.

So the big question is: Why do Americans allow this to happen?

The answer, in John Oliver's estimation, is the American sense of optimism. He notes that a shocking percentage of Americans feel the economic system unfairly favors the wealthy, but still believe that they will be wealthy if they put in the hard work.

"I can clearly see this game is rigged, which makes it so sweet when I win this thing," Oliver says.

"If American wealth is a lottery, we are increasingly playing two different games," Oliver said. "And at this point, the rich are just running up the score."

A lot of the political discussion Oliver references is about income inequality. But as Vox's Ezra Klein argues, wealth inequality is even more dangerous — both for the economy and, in the long-run, for American politics:

Understanding is critical

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