As the corporate media bangs the drum of imminent recession, we need to take a look at how tens of millions of American households live paycheck to paycheck are located for another choreographed downturn.
It will tell you all you need to know about the predatory nature of late-stage vulture capitalism, over which Donald Trump presides as his orange mascot. What jumps out when you look at the data is just how phony the “longest recovery” has been – the one for which Joe Biden wants to take a victory lap.
The stark reality is that in the last A decade or so of the rich have gotten richer as the rest of the country has sunk deeper and deeper into debt, with little to show for it except rent receipts.
As we head into the next downturn, whenever it happens, tens of millions of American families are hanging out on the edge of economic oblivion. Thanks to the Trump tax cut, their government will be in too much debt to throw them a lifeline.
The $ 20 trillion in lost American household wealth that came from the unprosecuted theft of household wealth during Wall Street's Great Foreclosure caper had generational consequences that linger and still define many lives today.
The Federal Reserve Board's latest " Report on Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households ," released in May, surveyed 1
In the real world
Many years into this “amazing recovery,” the Federal Reserve found that “across the country, many families continue to experience financial distress and struggle to save for retirement and unexpected expenses.”
Changes in family income from month to month remained a source of financial strain for some individuals Three in 10 adults had family income that varied from month to month One in 10 scrapped to pay their bills at some point in the prior year because of monthly financial support from family or friends to make ends meet was also common, especially among young adults.
The annual survey found that “many adults were struggling to save for retirement” with one in four with “no retirement savings or pension whatsoever. ”
Can't imagine why.
In the years since the Great Recession, student debt has exploded from $ 500 billion to $ 1.57 trillion. elated debt was $ 2.65 trillion in 2008. By the second quarter of this year it had surpassed $ 4 trillion.
Dude, where's my car?
And, in the midst of Trump's ranting in February about his wall with Mexico, seven million Americans, a record number, fell into that 90-day abyss of being months late with their car payment .
See a pattern here?
Now we are struggling to hold on to our family car, the same way we were clawing to hold on to our home just a decade ago.
President Obama's fateful decision does not provide the kind of backstop for homeowners that Franklin D. Roosevelt did in the 1930s may have plumped up Wall Street. But it sent thousands of neighborhoods into a death spiral where once serviceable houses were turned into zombie shells hollowed out by ruthless speculation.
These scars are still living in our landscape in places like Flint, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey, where homeowners have to deal with the prospect that public water is poisoning their children and grandchildren with lead.
The millions of foreclosures that devastated neighborhoods of color are hardest to represent a massive transfer of wealth from working-
Historically, homeownership could provide stability to an extended family by providing a stopgap shelter for a family member down on their luck or a college graduate jammed up by student debt.
Homeownership also offered potential lifeline of capital reali zed by borrowing on equity in the property that could help a family navigate a job loss that could come in a downturn.
As the Pew Center reports, more Americans are living month to month in rental housing
In 2006, the proportion of household rents was 31.2 percent, according to Pew. By 2016, it had spiked to 36.6 percent, which exceeds “the recent high of 36.2 percent in 1986 and 1988 and a 37.0 percent rate in 1965.”
Certain demographic groups – such as young adults, nonwhites and the lesser educated – have historically been more likely to rent than others, and rental rates have increased among these groups over the past decade. However, rental rates have also increased among some groups that have traditionally been less likely to rent, including whites and middle-aged adults.
The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University found that a lack of affordable rental housing helped drive up rents four times faster than the inflation rate. “The US Consumer Price Index for primary residence rent rose at a 3.8 percent annual rate through April, far exceeding the 0.9 percent inflation rate for non-housing-related goods,” the analysis found.
A half-century of betrayal
Since the 1970s, when wages flatlined as productivity spiked and unions began to shrink, American corporations had been running things by paying off both political parties.
In the last few years, as a consequence of this collusion of the comfortable, economic circumstances of our elected representatives has continued to vastly outpace what has been happening to everyone else. They appear ready for whatever capitalism has in store for us.
As Roll Call reported last year, the “cumulative net worth of senators and House members jumped one-fifth in the two years before the start of this Congress, outperforming the typical American's improved fortunes as well as the solid performance of investment markets during that time. ”
The disparity becomes clear after examining the most recent financial disclosures of virtually every current lawmaker. The news is not likely to do them any good during a midterm campaign year when Capitol Hill disappeared into record territory and sentiment remains strong that politicians in Washington are far too disconnected from the lives of their constituents.
One essential element of keeping the lid on America's collective anger over decades of declining wages, disappearing benefits and the actual decline in our average lifespan, is to cover the ups and downs of the economy as if it were some sort of naturally occurring meteorological phenomenon.
But the kinds of market gyrations that promote dislocation and misery for masses are not the result of gravity or barometric pressure. They are the consequences of decisions driven by an ever-shrinking circle of people and institutions who engineer scarcity – because making a killing is the only way they know how to make a living.