Thursday, March 14, 2013

Net Worth of Americans is Back (for Some)

This is in answer to Bruce Bartlett's article at the New York Times where he says," The net worth of Americans is very nearly back." --- That may be true for those who never lost their jobs, but what about those who were laid off and never found work again --- the millions of others who were not so lucky and lost their homes and 401ks after a long bout of unemployment --- what about them?

Of course the billionaires, those who were invested in the stock market, saw their investments rebound. The reason stock-market wealth has little effect on spending is because (as millionaire investor Nick Hanauer said in a speech at TED University) "Somebody like me makes hundreds or thousands as times much as the median American, but I don't buy hundreds or thousands of times as much stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and shirts a year like most American men. Occasionally we go out to eat with friends."

After the massive layoffs and the millions of home foreclosures during the recession, the home-flippers got great bargains too with cheap homes and low interest rates. And one could buy a nice cheap repossessed car that could be found at one of the many auto auctions. We also saw a lot of foreign investment by those with cash in their pockets, taking advantage of all the human carnage here in America. Hooray for them too.

Go ahead and cheer for all those who survived the Great Repression, and for those who were left relatively unscathed. Pat yourselves on the backs and call yourselves winners. Don't even bother burying the millions of others who did not fare so well --- just sweep their stinking carcasses to the side of the road. After all, "out of sight, out of mind", right?

Millions of ordinary American families have been living in daily fear, listening to the ravings and ignorant ranting of politicians who are earning $174,000 a year, complaining about the budget --- especially the Republicans, who only wants to cut everything that these American families rely on the most to survive --- such as jobless benefits, Medicaid, food stamps, etc.

Many previously hard-working middle-class Americans lost their spouses and/or custody of their children because of great financial hardship. Many are still fighting the government to get approval for disability benefits. Many have already exhausted their unemployment benefits and life's savings years ago. Many have lost their homes and cars. Many will never again, for the rest of their lives, ever find another job.

Older people are working longer than they planned, but they are the lucky ones because, they still have jobs. Many older workers who were laid off were never re-hired again, and were forced into early Social Security retirements --- and will now live in abject poverty for the rest of their lives.

Many Americans became homeless during the recession --- wasn't there a tent city in your town? At least one desperate man robbed a bank so he'd have a home in federal prison. Many Americans, who had already lost everything they had, until they finally lost all hope, took their own lives.

Yes, there are those that can wear rose-colored glasses, look at their graphs and charts, and only see the more positive aspects America's economic decline (whose per capita income is now only the 7th best in the world) --- while ignoring the suffering of their own neighbors.

We are all aware of the income and wealth inequality that the GOP always refuses to acknowledge or do anything about --- except to cut spending on the poor and lower taxes for the rich --- which is their answer to everything, and which is what got us here in the first place. Poverty is the only thing that "trickled down" these past 40 years --- ever since the middle-class had last peaked.

The big banks and largest corporations know all too well what has happened, but yet they continue to invest in cheap labor overseas --- like Mitt Romney had done in China (where he was told barbed wire was used to keep people "out" of the slave-labor factories.) These people have all been raking in record profits, bonuses, and base-salaries --- just as Mitt had said, "The rich are doing just fine".

But for those of you whose "net worth is nearly back" --- Yippee Ki Yay! But always try to remember and remind yourself (unless you are wealthy): "There but for the grace of God, go I."

In April of 2012, former President George W. Bush was at the New York Historical Society pimping his new book, The 4 Percent Solution that advocates lower taxes on the wealthy. “If you raise taxes on the so-called rich, you’re really raising taxes on the job creators.”

He forgot to mention that if we raised taxes on the 'so-called rich', we could also feed the 'so-called poor'.

The original and unedited speech by George W. Bush is here at YouTube:

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