Recessions Are Nature’s Way of Keeping the Little Guy Down

June 13th, 2012

Or: Yes, The Rich Really Are Different

You’ve all probably seen the depressing reports from the newly issued 2010 edition of the Fed’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finance, in particular the 39% drop in median household net worth, ’07-’10.

Here’s a picture (click for larger):

The well-off have done fine. In the greatest economic downturn in eighty years, their median net worth went up.

This doesn’t even touch on the top 1%, .1%, or .01%, of course. It’s very hard to calculate net worth for those folks as a group. But judging by their incomes, they’re doing just fine too:

I can’t comprehend how anyone can play word games about “incentives” to suggest that this situation, created quite intentionally over the past three decades, is or could be conducive to widespread national prosperity.

I can only assume that those who do so don’t actually care about widespread national prosperity.

Cross-posted at Angry Bear.

  1. June 13th, 2012 at 15:21 | #1

    wow, if that aint enough to make one sick. simply fucking amazing, and the country is too broke for education, public employees, social security, medicare for all. everything is so fucked up, it is hard to keep track, someone should be noting all the ways we are being screwed and constantly reminding people(oh right, american idol is on, must keep priorities)

  2. Tom Hickey
    June 13th, 2012 at 15:31 | #2

    That’s what happens when “prosperity” is redefined as GDP growth regardless of distribution. American is getting more “prosperous,” Americans by and large are not.

  3. June 14th, 2012 at 07:32 | #3

    @Tom Hickey
    Yeah I wish I could find a better single-number snapshot measure than GDP/capita for cross-country comparisons. I’d really like to use the measure here, or median household income (even better, household-size-adjusted median household income), but I can’t find international data on it — even spot data, much less long-term time series, much less broken out by income/wealth quintiles. The SCF is kind of special in the information it provides. I wish there was/had been an international equivalent for the last three or eight decades…

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