Americans saw wealth plummet 40 percent from 2007 to 2010, Federal Reserve says. By Ylan Q. Mui, Published: June 11The Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/fed-americans-wealth-dropped-40-percent/2012/06/11/gJQAlIsCVV_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines_Tue
[Excerpted] The recent recession wiped out nearly two decades of Americans’ wealth, according to government data released Monday, with middle-class families bearing the brunt of the decline.
The Federal Reserve said the median net worth of families plunged by 39 percent in just three years, from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010. That puts Americans roughly on par with where they were in 1992
...Only roughly half of middle-class Americans remained on the same economic rung during the downturn, the Fed found. Their median net worth — the value of assets such as homes, automobiles and stocks minus any debt — suffered the biggest drops. By contrast, the wealthiest families’ median net worth rose slightly....
Median income fell nearly 8 percent, to $45,800, in 2010. The median value of stock-market-based retirement accounts declined 7 percent, to $44,000.
New York Time: Family Net Worth Drops to Level of Early ’90s, Fed Says
By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM Published: June 11, 2012 698http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/business/economy/family-net-worth-drops-to-level-of-early-90s-fed-says.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120612
[Excerpted] "Families’ income also continued to decline, a trend that predated the crisis but accelerated over the same period. Median family income fell to $45,800 in 2010 from $49,600 in 2007. All figures were adjusted for inflation
...The Fed found that middle-class families had sustained the largest percentage losses in both wealth and income during the crisis, limiting their ability and willingness to spend...
The share of families saving anything over the previous year fell to 52 percent in 2010 from 56.4 percent in 2007. Other government statistics show that total savings have increased since 2007, suggesting that a smaller group of families is saving more money, while a growing number manage to save nothing.
...Conversely, the share of families with education-related debt rose to 19.2 percent in 2010 from 15.2 percent in 2007. The Fed noted that education loans made up a larger share of the average family’s obligations than loans to buy automobiles for the first time in the history of the survey.
The median value of Americans’ stake in their homes fell by 42 percent between 2007 and 2010, to $55,000, according to the Fed...."
The Price of Inequality and the Myth of OpportunityBy Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate06 June 12 http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/279-82/11791-focus-the-price-of-inequality-and-the-myth-of-opportunity
[Excerpted] "America likes to think of itself as a land of opportunity, and others view it in much the same light. But, while we can all think of examples of Americans who rose to the top on their own, what really matters are the statistics: to what extent do an individual’s life chances depend on the income and education of his or her parents?
Nowadays, these numbers show that the American dream is a myth. There is less equality of opportunity in the United States today than there is in Europe – or, indeed, in any advanced industrial country for which there are data.
This is one of the reasons that America has the highest level of inequality of any of the advanced countries – and its gap with the rest has been widening. In the “recovery” of 2009-2010, the top 1% of US income earners captured 93% of the income growth. Other inequality indicators – like wealth, health, and life expectancy... (read rest at link above)
Ancient Rome Was More Equitable than the US Today
The Dispossession of the Population