Tuesday, June 12, 2012

US families now worth less

  According to the Federal Reserve, the net worth of American families decreased 40% between 2007 and 2010 (Source: US Watch, Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2012, page A5). This is the lowest level since 1992.

    “Families’ median net worth, the difference between their assets and their liabilities, fell to $77,300 in 2010 from $126,400 in 2007.” The major elements of assets are home, furnishings, automobiles, real estates, stocks, and bonds (and funds with such elements). Liabilities consist primarily of mortgages, car payments, household bills and credit card purchases. This was the largest decline since the Survey of Consumer Finances began tracking this statistic in 1989.

   “Median family income also fell in this period. The wealthiest 10% by net value saw median income fall 1.4%; the poorest 25%, by 3.7%. For the families in between, median income declined by a range of 7.7% and 13.6%.

  What this means to those of us in mid Michigan, is that the rich felt little, if any pain, the poor felt the most pain, and the rest felt moderate pain. Remember, however, that during this time more families were slipping from the middle class to the poor because of the indifferent actions of large banks and international corporations.

  The entire world has cascaded into a downward tumble, because we exist in a global market. Everything is connected to everything else. The rich have nothing to gain by helping us; they will prosper regardless.

  We will need a strong central government to steer us through these desperate times. The ship of state is gigantic and awkward in troubled waters. Keep her on course through cooperation and not through stalemate.

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