Principles to Live By

American Wealth (New 19 Sep 2010)

Spiritual wisdom for the Class of 2020 (New 23 May 2020)
FBI: Hate crimes, anti-Semitic attacks up in 2017 (New 16 Nov 2018)
High CEO Pay Means Disappointing Stock Returns (New 1 Aug 2016)
Importance of Teaching Values (New 24 Mar 2016)
America's economy is a nightmare of our own making (New 25 Jun 2015)
The Stranger in Your Home (New 24 Mar 2015)
The Cost of WWII Air War (New 28 Mar 2014)
Wealth Inequality in America (New 6 Dec 2013)
The Psycholoty of Winning (New 3 Feb 2013)
Crisis of the Middle Class (New 8 Jan 2013)
Income Inequality Grows in TN (New 15 Nov 2012)
Why the Economy is Slow (New 12 Oct 2012)
Veteran's Charity Under Fire (New 15 Aug 2012)
Nursing Homes Vs. Prison (New 12 Nov 2010)
Soul of the Republic (New 30 Oct 2010)
National Purpose (New 16 Oct 2010)
Inside Job (New 14 Oct 2010)
'Big Business' Democrats (New 14 Oct 2010)
Corporate Governance (New 1 Oct 2010)
Common Good (New 1 Oct 2010)
American Wealth (New 19 Sep 2010)
Shrinking Middle Class (New 19 Sep 2010)
Financial Market Failure (New 15 Mar 2010)
Pledge of Allegiance (New 14 Mar 2010)
The Gift of Fear (New Jan 2010)
No Time to Lose (New Sept 2009)
Fiduciary Responsibity (New 7 Mar2009)
What Hamilton Has Wrought (New 27 Mar2009)
What Would Jesus Do? (New 21 Mar2009)
Global Warming (New March 2007)
What I Wish For
Scout's Oath
Osama Bin Laden
Close to Home
Inhumanity to Man
DC Area Snipers
Civil Society
Religious Extremism
Stem Cell Research
Contact Me
Peaceful Civil Disobedience

Fairness Trustworthiness Kindness
Patience Gentleness Knowledge
Discipline Compassion Integrity

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you


The following story does a good job of showing how personal wealth has suffered lately and how it's not likely to rebound anytime soon.  I was surprised to read the net worth per US household is $455,173 including the value of the houses.  However that's the average.  The reality is a skewed distribution of personal net worth.
Top 1% own 38.1%
Top 96-99% own 21.3%
Top 90-95% own 11.5%
Therefore the top 10% own 70.9%
Middle 50% own 28.9%
Bottom 40% own 0.2% 
The federal public debt, which was $6.3 trillion ($56,000 per household) when President Obama entered office amid an economic crisis, totals $8.2 trillion ($72,000 per household) today, is headed toward $20.3 trillion (more than $170,000 per household) in 2020, according to CBO's deficit estimates.

That figure would equal 90 percent of the estimated gross domestic product in 2020, up from 40 percent at the end of fiscal 2008. By comparison, America's debt-to-GDP ratio peaked at 109 percent at the end of World War II, while the ratio for economically troubled Greece hit 115 percent last year.

If you want to see a slide presentation with graphs showing more about the skewed distribution of wealth in America and its impact on our citizens, go to this link published by Business Insider.  The numbers are from 2007 but the message is the same. 

Maybe the reason we don't have more of the general population applying the golden rule is because of the example being set by the top few percent of the net worth population who seem intent on garnering all they can for themselves.  No wonder so many people are up in arms about where America is going.

For those of you who are not able to open this link I have included the slides at the bottom of this page.

In closing, I want to be clear that I am not opposed to unequal distribution of wealth per se.  Nor do I advocate redistribution of wealth through social entitlement programs.

What I am opposed to is unequal distribution of wealth caused by monopolies, excessive executive pay, and manipulation of the US Government to divert public monies into the coffers of high net worth individual's pockets, and corporate practices that eliminate jobs in the US based solely on the availability of lower cost labor in other countries.

All of the above deprives hard working, industrious, educated citizens from the opportunity of sharing in the American dream leaving the next generation with a birthright of debt and diminished chances of being able to succeed, no matter how hard they work.

When the bottom 40% of the population own only .2% of the wealth of the wealthiest nation in the world, it signals a lack of opportunity that will inevitably breed resentment and worse.


WASHINGTON — Americans' long journey to regain the wealth they lost in the recession is stalled.

Households failed even to run in place during the April-June quarter as sinking stock prices eroded wealth. Stocks have since recovered about two-thirds of those losses. But based on last quarter's data, household net worth would have to surge 23 percent to reach its pre-recession peak.


Net worth — the value of assets such as homes and investments, minus debts such as mortgages and credit cards — fell 2.7 percent, or $1.5 trillion, last quarter, the Federal Reserve announced Friday. It now stands at $53.5 trillion.

That's above the bottom hit during the recession, $48.8 trillion in the first quarter of 2009. But it's far below the pre-recession peak in wealth of $65.8 trillion.


The drop from April to June was the first quarterly decline in Americans' wealth since early 2009. Before then, net worth had risen slowly for four straight quarters.


Economists generally think household wealth has ticked up in the July-September quarter because of higher stock prices. Yet given last quarter's setback and expectations of scant gains ahead, some economists have pushed back their forecast for when Americans will regain all their lost wealth: not until the middle of this decade.


Their stagnant wealth probably will keep Americans from spending freely — and the struggling economy from picking up strength. Consumers tend to spend according to how wealthy they feel. And their spending accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. For now, people are saving more and paring debt, Friday's data showed.


The decline in net worth from April to June amounted to an average drop of $12,941 per household. Average household wealth now amounts to $455,173. That's up from $415,185 during the recession. But it's down from a peak of $563,438 in 2007.


Real estate, faith are weak

One reason that economists foresee only slight gains in wealth is they expect real estate values to stay weak. Residential real estate accounts for 32 percent of net worth; individual stocks make up 13 percent. The balance includes retirement accounts, taxable mutual funds,  bank accounts, bonds, and possessions such as cars and jewelry.


During the recession, sinking home equity and stock prices made shoppers skittish. More than a year after the recession is thought to have ended, the housing and stock markets remain fragile. That's why most Americans aren't spending as much as they typically do after recessions.  Spending grew at an annual rate of just 2 percent last quarter, about the same pace as in the first three months of this year. Most economists think Americans will spend at about the same pace, or only slightly better, in the current quarter.


By contrast, after the 1981-82 recession, consumer spending averaged a robust 6.5 percent pace during 1983.

"Consumer spending is going to show only stunted growth this year because the wherewithal to spend — jobs, income, wealth — are only inching higher," said Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics.


Another reason shoppers are unlikely to ramp up their spending: Their faith in the economy is sagging. Consumer confidence dropped in September, according to the University of Michigan/Reuters' consumer sentiment index released


Carla Fehribach, a retired airport ticket agent in St. Louis, said the stock market's failure to generate any real growth this year has made her more cautious about spending. "I'll feel a little more comfortable about spending more if the stock market and the economy turn around," said Fehribach, 67.


Americans' home equity isn't making up for the loss in their stock values. Last quarter, U.S. real estate values ticked up a scant 0.3 percent compared with the January-March period.


And many economists expect the home market to weaken further, especially because a federal home buyer tax credit has expired. Most expect home prices to decline, on average, 5 percent to 10 percent by the middle of next year.


Stock gains aren't enough

Some optimism about stocks has been sparked by the gains they've made since June 30. The Standard & Poor's 500 index, a broad gauge of the market, has recovered most of its losses from the April-June period. That translates into modest advances in wealth since the April-June period ended. For the year, stocks are up just under 1 percent.


Though the S&P 500 remains 28 percent below its peak on Oct. 9, 2007, employees who have stayed invested in 401(k) plans and continued to contribute have fared better.


About 78 percent of them now have more money in those accounts than before the market top three years ago, according to estimates by Jack VanDerhei of the Employee Benefit Research Institute.


Still, so many people have seen their overall wealth diminish since the recession that they lack confidence to spend much.

Scott Nieberg, a St. Louis veterinarian, says his retirement account is worth about what it was a decade ago. Nieberg, 53, says he has all but given up hope his nest egg will grow significantly anytime soon.


His business would have to improve significantly for him to feel comfortable enough to take a vacation, Nieberg said. "In a down economy, you just work hard. We used to take vacations. Now, we take weekends."


AP writers Dave Carpenter in Chicago, Alan Zibel and Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington and Christopher Leonard in St. Louis contributed to this report.

15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Wealth And Inequality In America 

The gap between the top 1% and everyone else hasn't been this bad since the Roaring Twenties

The gap between the top 1% and everyone else hasn't been this bad since the Roaring Twenties
This chart shows average income of the top 1% as a multiple of average income of the bottom 90% compared to the top marginal income tax rate(via The Nation).

Click here for bigger version of the chart above.

Click on each of the graphs below to view the graphs in a new full sized window.  These graphs show various aspects of our skewed income distribution and its impact on the citizens of our country. 

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