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Median family net worth drops almost 40%, to level of early 1990s

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This isn't good, and it isn't good for folks to know how many are suffering along with them. It's one thing to think your own self is sunken down; it's another to think the sinkage is national.

Chris in Paris noted this earlier via Bloomberg, but I want to add an exclamation point and some bits from the New York Times. As David Atkins says at Digby's digs, "Someone is going to take the blame for this."

The Times (h/t Natasha Chart; my emphasis and paragraphing abuses):
The recent economic crisis left the median American family in 2010 with no more wealth than in the early 1990s, erasing almost two decades of accumulated prosperity, the Federal Reserve said Monday.

A hypothetical family richer than half the nation’s families and poorer than the other half had a net worth of $77,300 in 2010, compared with $126,400 in 2007, the Fed said.

The crash of housing prices directly accounted for three-quarters of the loss.

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.
If you do the math on the net worth numbers, you get a drop to 61%. That's a thud in anyone's ballpark.

The source of all this data is a big every-three-years Fed study:
The new data comes from the Fed’s much-anticipated release on Monday of its Survey of Consumer Finances, a report issued every three years that is one of the broadest and deepest sources of information about the financial health of American families. ... 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 article has other interesting bits, including the fact that consumer spending is "surprisingly resilient." Also not good, in my view, since it implies a slowing of debt repayment — though Krugman would applaud the systemic benefits of continued demand in a demand-driven recession.

Who will be tagged as the perp? The Republicans, who want every inch of this suffering to deepen and continue, hope the president will be made to pay.

But couple this data with ... (do you think I'm going to mention Our Betters?) ... the results from Wisconsin.

My fear is that we're going to slice each other to ribbons over this, making the real problem (that no one but Money has money) very much worse.

Wisconsin — what were you thinking? (Sadly, I think I know.)


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