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Sunday, July 7, 2019

The latest on the "wealth gap."

I found this interesting propaganda piece in today's Houston Chronicle. It shows a 37 year old woman, in Los Angeles, who cannot save because of "high cost of living and student debt." Got it. My first question, as always, is where did these reporters get this "typical" American to use as a foil on their propaganda piece. But here we go:
‘The recovery has been disappointing’

Wealth gap widens as means have shrunk

WASHINGTON — As it enters its 11th year, America’s economic expansion is now the longest on record — a streak that has shrunk unemployment, swelled household wealth, revived the housing market and helped fuel an explosive rise in the stock market.

Yet even after a full decade of uninterrupted economic growth, the richest Americans now hold a greater share of the nation’s wealth than they did before the Great Recession began in 2007. And income growth has been sluggish by historical standards, leaving many Americans feeling stuck in place.

Those trends help explain something unique about this expansion: It’s easily the least-celebrated economic recovery in decades.

America’s financial disparities have widened in large part because the means by which people build wealth have become more exclusive since the Great Recession.

Fewer middle-class Americans own homes. Fewer are invested in the stock market. And home prices have risen far more in wealthier metro areas on the coasts than in more modestly priced cities and rural areas. The result is that affluent homeowners now sit on vast sums of home equity and capital gains, while tens of millions of ordinary households have been left mainly on the sidelines...

...Household wealth — the value of homes, stock portfolios and bank accounts, minus mortgage and credit card debt and other loans — jumped 80 percent in the past decade. More than one-third of that gain — $16.2 trillion in riches—went to the wealthiest 1percent, figures from the Federal Reserve show. Just 25 percent of it went to middle-to-upper-middle class households. The bottom half of the population gained less than 2 percent...

Interesting statement about home ownership, as accord to the Census Bureau, home ownership has held steady at around 64%, which is the norm since the end of WWII. And yes, people who have means (i.e. wealth they can use for investment) tend to invest more. Also, people at the bottom of the economic latter have other issues. While they may also spend more of their income on basics (food, housing), they can also be undisciplined in their use of the income they have. The multiple TVs and satellite dish? Several high ends smart phones, high end cars with low end houses. Please don't call me racist, I see it in Da Hood every day.
...Hannah Moore, now 37, has struggled to save since graduating from college in December 2007, the same month the Great Recession officially began. She has worked nearly continuously since then despite acouple of layoffs.

Moore says she could afford amonthly mortgage payment. But she lacks the savings for a down payment. About half her income, she calculates, is eaten up by rent, health insurance and student loan payments of $850 a month...

There is not much listed to examine this "typical" thirty something Generation Yer, such as where she went to school, her current occupation, etc. But certain things are obvious:

- She lives in one of the highest cost of living areas in the country. The average rent for a one bedroom apartment is over $2,000, and the average house cost over $850,000. In Houston, that would buy you multiple houses in the good city neighborhoods. Perhaps she should look at moving to a lower cost of living area, like Nevada or Texas.

- The price of higher education has been artfully inflated since the 80s, and we have sold our nation's youth on a lie that you need to get a college degree to move forward. Strange, seeing 2/3 of the nation's population don't have a college degree. And there are no detains on if her degree matches her employment. For instance, a BS in nursing will lead to a high income field. A degree in victim's studies will lead you to working at Starbucks. And certain fields, once thought sure fire roads to success, have softened. Lawyers are now a dime a dozen (slight exaggeration) and the market is too saturated. And these young children with six figure debts are learning a thing called the laws of the market. Too much of a supply compared to the demand means the value goes down. Hell, a few years ago I was ordering coffee at Starbucks from a lawyer, this is not a lie. She was working there to make ends meet before she took the bar.

- Health insurance is a problem? I thought Obamacare would solve that. Didn't the AP put that BS out?

Forgive me if I find this article misleading at best, and lies at worse. Using a projection of one woman's difficult position, and tied to questionable statistics, does not make an accurate reflection of the economic conditions of the American people. If the economy is doing so badly, as this reporter is claiming, why has food stamps use has dropped over three million? Again, if it's so bad out there, why is it the medical wage is over twenty-two dollars an hour?

Not about to say it's perfect, it never is. But we're not about to collapse, as this writer seems to want to imply. It would have nothing to do with the election next year, would it?

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