Thursday, June 14, 2012

American Wealth Plummeted 40% from 2007 to 2010

Americans saw wealth plummet 40 percent from 2007 to 2010, Federal Reserve says. By Ylan Q. Mui, Published: June 11The Washington Post

[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 698

[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 Syndicate
06 June 12

[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)

Majia here: Welcome to Neofeudalism. For further reading, please see 


Ancient Rome Was More Equitable than the US Today


The Dispossession of the Population

1 comment:

  1. I think Americans have lost much more than 40%. This study only looks at net worth from a $ standpoint.

    It pays no attention to the fact that those dollars are also worth less than they were before. Take another 20-30% for devaluation of the dollar.

    It also pays no attention to the slow growth rate of the jobs market and the fact that future earnings are significantly stunted - reduce wealth another 10%.

    And finally it pays no attention to the fact that our federal budget deficit doubled during that period. Much of that money has gone to social programs which are propping up the wealth of unemployed or underemployed Americans, plus bailouts for very wealthy Americans.

    Presumably this money must be paid back at some point - So the government will have no choice but to administer deep cutbacks in spending (austerity) or collect more taxes - both of which will reduce future wealth - I would estimate the effect of this portion to be around 15%.

    And those are the quantifiable items. Quite a few more are unquantifiable.

    If you read all the government economic propaganda - it assumes we'll grow our way out of the deficit - however we aren't growing anymore - we're shrinking - and population growth in America is near standstill. We still have a 10-15 year glut of housing left.

    On top of all that, we've kicked the can on Social Security so long that it's going to be impossible to administer the benefits promised - so we'll have some folks lost SS benefits.

    Oh and how much are the new health problems from the nuke accidents going to cost each family?

    On the quantifiable numbers from above, I'd put Americans wealth today at:
    .60 x . 75 x .9 x .85 = .34 or

    34% of where it was in 2007. And that's the best case...

    Probably more like 10-15% , which puts us probably back into pre WWII depression status.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.