Pew Study: Nearly All Americans Lost Worth Under Obama-Led ‘Recovery’


According to a new statistical report, the only Americans who saw their money grow during the past two years of “economic recovery” touted by the Administration of President Barack Obama are those who weren’t hurting to begin with: the wealthy.

Everybody else? On the whole, they lost money. But who does that group include, exactly?

Why, nearly everyone.

According to the report, published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, 93 percent — that’s 93 percent — of the American population saw their households’ mean net worth fall by an average of 4 percent between 2009 and 2011.

Four percent isn’t negligible, but it’s at least small enough a number to defend rhetorically: “[W]e are poised to grow in 2013,” Obama dissembled in February, after a bad economic report indicated his spending-spree recovery policy might not be working.

But 93 percent isn’t negligible. That’s almost everyone — every household in the United States. Whether incomes in those households rose a little, stayed flat or fell, their net worth, on average, was less in 2011 than it was in 2009.

And here’s another number that isn’t negligible: 28 percent. That’s how much the net worth of the richest 7 percent of American households grew, on average, over the same time period.

In contrast with the unwashed masses, who got 4 percent poorer while the American Recovery and Investment Act went forward and the Federal Reserve printed money, the rich got 28 percent richer:

From 2009 to 2011, the mean wealth of the 8 million households in the more affluent group rose to an estimated $3,173,895 from an estimated $2,476,244, while the mean wealth of the 111 million households in the less affluent group fell to an estimated $133,817 from an estimated $139,896.

That’s because speculation under Obama is good business, while real goods keep seeing their worth shrivel. “Affluent households typically have their assets concentrated in stocks and other financial holdings, while less affluent households typically have their wealth more heavily concentrated in the value of their home,” the report notes.

Guess what the stock market’s done over the past two years? Now think about home values over the same time period. The money made by the richest 7 percent was still enough to lift the aggregate wealth of American households, both rich and poor, by $5 trillion, or 14 percent.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

  • Dave

    You mean under the Obama and GOP-Congress led recovery?

    Of course we completely ignore what got us to this place but why have those messy details?…

    “We are conservatives” we must stick to the script we were given.
    Thankfully the wealthy are still doing great. The corporatism is working like a charm.

    • Vigilant

      “Obama and [the] GOP-Congress?” Dave’s brain only seems to be able to handle one chamber of Congress at a time. The other one is spelled S-E-N-A-T-E. You know, the one that has failed to pass ANY budget during Obama’s reign. And it’s run by the Dems.

      And no, we don’t “completely ignore what got us to this place.” It was called Bush and the 110th Congress, from 2007-2009. You know, the House and Senate both in the pocket of the Dems.
      As for corporatism, when was the last time you saw ANY Conservative defend those values, or the neoCon policies of GWB?

      • Dave

        You are lying pure and simple… Reagan helped deregulate the banks and oversaw the dismantling of our manufacturing base. Loosened credit rules and instituted tax cut and spend policy. Clinton and his Congress made homes to easy to get, lowered regs on oil speculation. Bush 2 got us into two prolonged wars while he did tax cuts at the same time, no other president has done that ever. That is one of the reasons Bush 2 is the worst president in the last 150 years. Where we are today is over 30 years in the making and both parties are to blame

        • Vigilant

          ” Where we are today is over 30 years in the making and both parties are to blame.”
          BINGO! Though I would expand the period to 100 years, not 30.
          What made you change horses in mid stream? First, it’s all the Conservatives fault, now it’s both party’s fault. Got a little problem with cognitive dissonance?

          • Dave

            Where do I say its all the conservative’s fault? You have special reading “into” glasses I don’t know about?
            Both parties, especually the GOP are responsible for undermining Glass-Steegal. That allows savings banks now being allowed to be investment banks. The act that did the damage there was the Gramm-Wiley-Bilies Act authored by the GOP and signed into law by Bill Clinton.
            Thye Corporatists in both parties have sold us down the river. That includes Obama. He has his hands the least in this mess of of all the presidents of the last 30 years. The Democrats feign like they care, the GOP simply doesn’t… They are happy to sucker people in through religion and the false premise that they are for limited Gov and the “free” market that doesn’t exist.

          • Dave

            BTW Vigilant… Congress is the overall body that is comprised of both the HOUSE and S-E-N-A-T-E. Now you are a smart guy and I know you know the rules of the Senate and how it relates to the Senate feature called the filibuster. Why don’t you put that intelligence to work and look how many filibusters have been used by the GOP since 2010? The recent watered down gun safety measures failed in the Senate on a 54-46 vote in FAVOR of the legislation. It fails due to the filibuster. But you are a smart guy and you knerw that… I am sure of it right?

          • Vigilant

            Dave says, “Where do I say its all the conservative’s fault? You have special reading “into” glasses I don’t know about?”
            No Dave, I merely read your comment, “We are conservatives” we must stick to the script we were given.”
            Now, a rational person says, “I see no mention of the liberals here, but I see a singling out of Conservatives only.” If you’re going to pretend to be even-handed, your words did not reflect that. Next question.

          • Dave

            I am refering the the author and who buys his nonsense… Not who was the the cause… Please re-read it again.

  • Warrior

    Get a load of this! Crook County, ILL-annoy pass a law stating that Crook County businesses selling goods in performing a service in Crook County must charge their customers based on Crook County tax rate of 9.25%. So if a business purchases a good outside of Crook County and pays a 7% tax on that good, they must charge the customer in Crook County 9.25%. And here is one of the best parts. That business must keep records of all these transactions and then pay the difference to the County. So now we’re considered TAX COLLECTORS! Oh, “progressives” like the rahm-father, don’t ya just love em!

  • KG

    Umm…most of the wealth was STOLEN. By rich, west coast, real estate brokers. As well as the big corporations (AIG) who speculated in real estate loans to “maximize return on Investment.” In other words, all of the idiots who voted for “W”. Despite this supposed “loss” of capital, the richest 1% still saw their size of the pie INCREASING. Who said we (the working class proletarians) do not need representation against these evil people?

    • cawmun cents

      I find that hilarious.
      Were you aware that gubment controls 95% of the land west of the Mississippi?That would mean that those wealthy people you are complaining about woudnt have access to do that which you are talking about,wouldnt it?
      That would mean that gubment is keeping progress from happening wouldnt it?
      Do you know who controls the actions of the many so that the few can be rich?
      I doubt it….but you may be surprised to find out that it is your democrat idols who control the destiny of the lions share of the real estate in this nation.

      • Right Brain Thinker

        What’s hilarious is how far from the truth CC will go in as he spouts his idiotic anti-government, anti-thinking, and actually anti-American BS.

        “gubment controls 95% of the land west of the Mississippi?”, CC says?

        THAT’S A LIE. The TRUTH is that 47% of the 11 coterminous western states is owned by the government. The government owns roughly 635-640 million acres, 28% of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the entire United States. That percentage would be smaller if Alaska were left out because 62% of Alaska is federally owned, and Alaska is a big state.

        So, CC, your BS machine has actually DOUBLED the amount of land controlled by “the gubment”—-a BFL (Big Fat Lie)—-maybe if you concentrated on FACTS rather than trying to be cute with your spelling, you’d have some credibility.

        • cawmun cents

          Show the site you get your information from then….is it BLM?

          • Right Brain Thinker

            You don’t want to believe it so now you’re asking for “proof”? You should now by now if you have been reading my comments over the months that I don’t make things up. When if give facts, they’re correct—-when I give opinions, they are factually supported, unlike many we see on PLD. I come on this site to spread truth, not lies.

            I got the data from a 2/8/12 report to Congress from the Congressional Research Service. Google “how much land does the government control in the western states” and you’ll get a hit on a pdf “Federal Land Ownership…”. Read it and clear up some of your confusion. I don’t know why you are fixated on BLM—they control mineral rights to a lot of land that isn’t now federally owned, but that’s irrelevant to anything we’re talking about here.

        • cawmun cents

          yes you leave out Alaska which is roughly as big as Texas,California and Montana put together….Hmmm I wonder why?BLM lays claim to the mieral rights for 77% of the lands you mention that is of course not pertaining to water which covers another percentage and is nearly exclusively gubment controlled.
          Maybe 95% is an exaggeration,But I would say it is definitely land that could be used for other than government purposes,wouldnt you?Where do they get off accusing some of magnificent wealth when they control so much of the land?

          • Right Brain Thinker

            You need to take reading lessons, CC. I didn’t leave out Alaska—Alaska is included in the 28% and it’s not one of the “states west of the Mississippi” that you mentioned in which 47% of the land is owned by the government. Even if we include it with the “western states”, 62% and 47% do NOT compute to 95% (or do you need math lessons too?). So 95% is not MAYBE an exaggeration, it’s an outright untruth, and maybe you should just say you made a mistake and move on rather than babble some more meaningless numbers at us and asking irrelevant questions.

  • cawmun cents

    Isnt “socialism” making everyone a bit more equal in status?

    Isnt that the aim of “socialism”?

    If you were going to appease everyone in the world so that they werent jealous of each other,how would you do it?

    You would make them all a little more equal in status wouldnt you?

    You would then stop all the finger pointing by those with less,at those with more,correct?

    If there are 1.3 billion poor people in China,and 1 billion poor people in India,then how could you spread the wealth to appease them and not make them want to wage war upon you?

    By giving jobs,and prosperity that you have to them,and by letting yourself take a little less to get that done,right?

    Many will quip,”That dosent make our fearless leader a socialist does it?”

    Have you asked yourself why we have less lately?

    Have you wondered why there is a Chamberlain-esque kind of push for appeasement in our world today?

    You really want to promote “fairness” and give what prosperity you have to others dont you?


    • Right Brain Thinker

      Actually, CC, one could make a better case that the corporate fascism we are seeing develop in this country is making the “serfs” more equal in (low) status and the plutocrats and corporate oligarchs our new aristocracy. Socialism is not the issue, fascism is.

      And it has nothing to do with “appeasement” or “fairness” at all, but simple greed on the part of those who already have more than they need or deserve.

      • cawmun cents

        I suppose you are the one who thinks that they should determine what “more than they need or deserve”is,huh?
        And if it is not about “fairness”,or about “appeasement”,then why are you here arguing about it instead of getting many others of like and kind together to stop this thing you call “corporate fascism”,which you deem the most evil thing in our nation?
        Thats right…you and your kith and kind walked through parks and carried signs and had sex and defecated in the streets of our large cities under the guise of calling yourselves the 99%,right?Then you left large messes for the cities to clean up and crowded the court systems with foolish people that got absolutely nothing done,correct?
        Yes…I remember.
        One is a number and can make a case of nothing excepting that you consider one a case.Which you obviously do considering that you are the one who is promoting this fallacious idealism.
        Corporations are just bunches of people who like to make profit.Yet you would like to determine just how much they can make and where they direct the larger share of their own profits.
        Who died and made you dictator of corporate affairs?
        People profit from corporations by being a part of them.
        People oddly enough,just like you,except that they can deduce reality from fiction.
        So destroy the individuals effort at being free and bind the corporations under your draconian rule if you will, but carefully consider that many of the comforts you enjoy in life come from these very things before you rush to bring them to ruin.
        What am I thinking?You only use half of your brain anyhow.

        • Right Brain Thinker

          A fine rant from one of the drinkers of the corporate fascism Kool aid. CC uses his brain to regurgitate right wing talking points rather than really think and address my contention that we are moving more towards corporate fascism than towards socialism. Tell me CC, if we are heading towards socialism, how is it that most people’s fortunes are sinking while a few are doing much better? Isn’t socialism supposed to “spread the wealth” and make everyone equal? You’re just running your mouth and trying to make yourself feel good, not argue from any base of rationality. What meaningless blather.

          “stop corporate fascism”
          “you and your kind”
          “fallacious idealism”
          “corporations are just bunches of people”
          “destroy the individuals effort at being free” (my favorite)

          • cawmun cents

            Because in socialism that is what happens,or have’nt you witnessed it from historical note.Whenever some government seeks to make everyone more viably solvent,they only set in motion the means to make themselves richer and everyone else poorer.That is your socialism to its finest extent it could possibly generate.It hasnt worked anywhere else and it wont work here either.
            I was merely trying to make that point without need of further argumentBut again since you only work with half a brain,no matter that it is the “right” half,you wont be able to see what I can see no matter how good of goggles I give you.
            But what do I know?
            Apparently very little……

          • Right Brain Thinker

            Yes, apparently very little, because you make little sense here.

            Who are the “they” that “makes themselves richer”, and what “means” do they employ? What is “viable solvency”?

            Maybe you missed my questions and that’s why you ignored them and just blathered some more? I will ask them again.

            “Tell me CC, if we are heading towards socialism, how is it that most
            people’s fortunes are sinking while a few are doing much better?
            Isn’t socialism supposed to “spread the wealth” and make everyone
            equal?” ?????????????

          • vicki

            Right Brain Thinker writes:

            Isn’t socialism supposed to “spread the wealth” and make everyone equal?


            Definition of SOCIALISM

            1:any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

            2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property

            b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

            3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done


            Nothing in there about spreading the wealth. In fact 3: specifically says that socialism will make people’s wealth UNequal.

          • Right Brain Thinker

            Vicki dearest, I have missed your oh-so-meaningful contributions to the discussion of late—-we must have been on different threads. But here you are again with one of your English lessons, this time another dictionary lesson? Too bad you have twisted your source material (as you so often do) to try to make a point.

            Let’s look at the definitions that Vicki has looked up online. Doesn’t she actually own a physical dictionary? How did she ever look up words before the internet? I own one–a Webster’s New Collegiate with a 1973 publication date. (And a Roget’s as well). I have looked at what Vicki copied and it agrees exactly with my dictionary. 1 is the same, 2a and 2b are the same, 3 is the same. Vicki and I agree on what the WORDS are that are printed after “socialism” in the dictionary. Too bad that Vicki distorts their MEANING.

            Dictionary Vicki hangs her hat on “distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done” and says “Nothing in there about spreading the wealth. In fact 3: specifically says that socialism will make people’s wealth UNequal” If everyone remembers Grammar Vicki’s lessons on evasivatory, distractatory, and obfuscatory sentences, they will recognize them in what she said there.

            Vicki would like everyone to NOT notice the quotation marks I put around “spread the wealth”—–they are used as qualifiers, and mean that I was using that phrase figuratively rather than literally. It was a shorthand way of addressing the “makers and takers” and “redistribution of wealth” horsepucky that the parrots are always chanting on PLD. I have commented on that issue many times in much more detail, and stressed the HUGE wealth inequality and income inequality that is destroying this country. I was not talking about the obscure usage she cites that refers to a “transitional” phase, which in THEORY will result in some degree of “unequalness” based on “work done”. All that says is “work harder and longer, produce more, get paid more”, and Vicki is WAY overreaching here.

            ~315 MILLION AMERICANS have NOT made foolish arguments on PLD today and embarrassed themselves, Vicki

            WHY DID YOU?
            STOP IT

            STOP IT NOW

          • vicki

            Right Brain Thinker doesn’t and says:

            Vicki would like everyone to NOT notice the quotation marks….

            Which for some reason I bothered to leave in when quoting you. How silly of me.

            ~315 MILLION AMERICANS have NOT made foolish arguments on PLD today and embarrassed themselves

            Regrettably you did not happen to be in that number.

          • Right Brain Thinker

            A rather weak response, Vicki, but it looks as if you are working the night shift alone at the Shiils’n’Trolls’r’Us shop and I know you get paid by the comment (and response), so I’ll play for a while before bed time—-wouldn’t want you to get bored.

            My point was not that you didn’t leave the quotation marks in there, (it’s easy to do when you’re copying anyway), but that you missed the MEANING of the quotation marks—THAT”S the “silliness” you’re guilty of.

            And is that one of them there “bald assertions” or “unsubstantiated and unsupported opinion” thingies we see in your “regrettably” comment? OK, dear, if it makes you feel good, keep repeating that—-anyone that is smart enough to read and comprehend our exchange here will chuckle at you every time. I am chuckling as I write this

            Say Goodnight, Vicki.

          • Bob666

            Yo RBT,
            I sense the sexual tension!

          • Right Brain Thinker

            Yo Bob,

            Vicki is hard to resist and I’m not so old that I’m immune to her “allure”. Did you notice Alondra flirting with me on another thread? (gag, gag)

          • Bob666

            Yo RBT,
            Yea I saw pork-fest coming on to you, that would be as close to beastieality as I have seen. Maybe that’s why she drives men to pitch for the other team?

  • Right Brain Thinker

    So a study proves what well-informed people have known for years and this is somehow news?

    I love the mindlessness of the closing statement in this article. “The money made by the richest 7 percent was still enough to lift the aggregate wealth of American households, both rich and poor, by $5 trillion, or 14 percent” Proving what? This is after pointing out to us how everyone but the most affluent have lost wealth—-please tell us how the 93% who LOST wealth should be in any way thrilled that the “aggregate” increase occurred AT THEIR EXPENSE? And why didn’t we look at the top 1% and and 1/10 of 1% to see how bad income inequality in this country has really become? Even more disturbing numbers there.

    Ben is also foolish enough to state “Four percent isn’t negligible, but it’s at least small enough a number to defend rhetorically: “[W]e are poised to grow in 2013,” Obama dissembled in February, after a bad economic report indicated his spending-spree recovery policy might not be working”

    That opens Ben to a charge of badly distorting the facts for political reasons (dissembling, actually). BUSH, REAGAN, and the REPUGNANTS are most to blame for what happened between 2009 and 2011, and there has been no “spending spree”, although there should have been to put money to work and create the demand that we will need for a strong recovery. If the Party of NO would stop obstructing the President’s intelligent plans and stop pushing for the “austerity” measures that are not working in Europe, we might see some real progress.

    The greedy rich are NOT doing anything with their wealth but playing paper games with it and hiding it away offshore. We need to go back to the taxation levels of Eisenhower’s day and put that money to work for the greater good. It worked back then—-we had a rising tide floating all the boats—-it will work again.

    PS to Dave Thank you for taking on Vigilant’s rantings on this thread today and saving me the trouble. There will be a special place in heaven for you in the “good works” section.

  • GALT

    Wow another “inciteful” headline……..

    Meanwhile…….Breaking News……This Just In………ooooopppppssssss.

    Meet the 28-Year-Old Grad Student Who Just Shook the Global Austerity Movement

    By Kevin Roose

    Thomas Herndon, Excel sleuth.

    Most Ph.D. students spend their days reading esoteric books and stressing out about the tenure-track job market. Thomas Herndon, a 28-year-old economics grad student at UMass Amherst, just used part of his spring semester to shake the intellectual foundation of the global austerity movement.

    Herndon became instantly famous in nerdy economics circles this week as the lead author of a recent paper, “Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff,” that took aim at a massively influential study by two Harvard professors named Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. Herndon found some hidden errors in Reinhart and Rogoff’s data set, then calmly took the entire study out back and slaughtered it. Herndon’s takedown — which first appeared in a Mike Konczal post that crashed its host site with traffic — was an immediate sensation. It was cited by prominent anti-austerians like Paul Krugman, spoken about by incoming Bank of England governor Mark Carney, and mentioned on CNBC and several other news outlets as proof that the pro-austerity movement is based, at least in part, on bogus math.

    We spoke to Herndon about his crazy week, and how he’s planning to celebrate his epic wonk takedown.

    “This week has been quite the week,” Herndon told us in a phone call from UMass Amherst’s campus. “Honestly, I was not expecting at all the kind of attention it has received.”

    Herndon, who did his undergraduate study at Evergreen State College, first started looking into Reinhart and Rogoff’s work as part of an assignment for an econometrics course that involved replicating the data work behind a well-known study. Herndon chose Reinhart and Rogoff’s 2010 paper, “Growth in a Time of Debt,” in part, because it has been one of the most politically influential economic papers of the last decade. It claims, among other things, that countries whose debt exceeds 90 percent of their annual GDP experience slower growth than countries with lower debt loads — a figure that has been cited by people like Paul Ryan and Tim Geithner to justify slashing government spending and implementing other austerity measures on struggling economies.

    Before he turned in his report, Herndon repeatedly e-mailed Reinhart and Rogoff to get their data set, so he could compare it to his own work. But because he was a lowly graduate student asking favors of some of the most respected economists in the world, he got no reply, until one afternoon, when he was sitting on his girlfriend’s couch.

    “I checked my e-mail, and saw that I had received a reply from Carmen Reinhart,” he says. “She said she didn’t have time to look into my query, but that here was the data, and I should feel free to publish whatever results I found.”

    Herndon pulled up an Excel spreadsheet containing Reinhart’s data and quickly spotted something that looked odd.

    “I clicked on cell L51, and saw that they had only averaged rows 30 through 44, instead of rows 30 through 49.”

    What Herndon had discovered was that by making a sloppy computing error, Reinhart and Rogoff had forgotten to include a critical piece of data about countries with high debt-to-GDP ratios that would have affected their overall calculations. They had also excluded data from Canada, New Zealand, and Australia — all countries that experienced solid growth during periods of high debt and would thus undercut their thesis that high debt forestalls growth.

    Herndon was stunned. As a graduate student, he’d just found serious problems in a famous economic study — the academic equivalent of a D-league basketball player dunking on LeBron James. “They say seeing is believing, but I almost didn’t believe my eyes,” he says. “I had to ask my girlfriend — who’s a Ph.D. student in sociology — to double-check it. And she said, ‘I don’t think you’re seeing things, Thomas.'”

    The mistakes Herndon found were so big, in fact, that even Herndon’s professors didn’t believe him at first. As Reuters reported earlier:

    “At first, I didn’t believe him. I thought, ‘OK he’s a student, he’s got to be wrong. These are eminent economists and he’s a graduate student,'” [UMass Amherst professor Robert] Pollin said. “So we pushed him and pushed him and pushed him, and after about a month of pushing him I said, ‘Goddamn it, he’s right.'”

    After consulting his professors, Herndon signed two of them — Pollin and department chair Michael Ash — on as co-authors, and the three of them quickly put together a paper outlining their findings. The paper cut to the core of a debate that has been dividing economists and politicians for decades. Fans of austerity believe that governments should cut spending in order to grow their economies, while anti-austerians believe that government spending in times of economic duress can create growth and reduce unemployment, even if it increases debt in the short term. What Herndon et al. were claiming, in essence, was that the pro-austerity movement was relying on bogus information.

    When Herndon and his professors published their study, the reaction was nearly immediate. After Konczal’s blog post went viral, Reinhart and Rogoff — who got a fawning New York Times profile when their book was released — were forced to admit their embarrassing error (although they still defended the basic findings of their survey). And today, another UMass Amherst professor, Arindrajit Dube, followed up on Herndon’s paper with additional proof that there were serious theoretical and causal problems (as opposed to just sloppy Excel work) in the Reinhart-Rogoff study. Observers have been raising serious questions about what Herndon’s work means for the future of austerity politics, and Reinhart and Rogoff’s respectability as scholars.

    Herndon says he isn’t implying that Reinhart and Rogoff intentionally skewed their data to support a pro-austerity finding, and simply reported the errors.

    “I don’t want to sound the alarm and call for anyone’s jobs,” he says. “I didn’t do this to be punitive or malicious.”

    With Reinhart and Rogoff’s once-authoritative work now under serious question, there’s no question that the austerity movement has been dealt a major blow. But Herndon’s finding won’t likely stop politicians from trying to reduce the deficit. The global march for austerity began before Reinhart and Rogoff’s work was published, and will continue as long as there are people who believe that governments can shrink their way to prosperity.

    Still, Herndon holds out hope. He calls austerity policies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere “counterproductive,” and implies that part of why he took up the study of Reinhart and Rogoff’s study was to question the benefits of current economic policy. “I have social motivations,” he says. “I care deeply about how policy affects people.”

    Now that he’s left his mark, Herndon says he’s coping with the effects of academic celebrity — getting a new publicity head shot taken, receiving kudos from his professors and colleagues, handling interview requests. He says he’s gotten extensions on some of his papers in order to handle his quasi-fame, but that he hasn’t been popping Champagne yet in celebration.

    “I’m going to celebrate this weekend,” he says. “But for now, I have a really gnarly problem set.”

  • ChuckS123

    One thing it would be good to know is how many people got rich from
    using government regulations, credits, favors, and/or tax breaks. I
    think a lot of gov regulations benefit big business by hurting their
    smaller competitors more than them. Like chemotherapy supposedly works
    by poisoning cancer cells more than healthy cells.

    • GALT

      Not to mention you are “cured” after five years……

  • Vigilant

    OBAMA NOW RATED 5TH BEST PRESIDENT IN ALL OF AMERICAN HISTORY! Who knew? Obama rated 5th best President — EVER! After four years, Barack Obama has been rated the 5th Best President, ever. Reagan and nine others tied for 1st; Fifteen Presidents tied for 2nd; Eighteen Presidents tied for 3rd; Jimmy Carter was 4th; and Obama came in 5th.

    • Right Brain Thinker

      So, Dave beat your brains out and now you tell jokes for a living? And you can’t even get it right, since O’Bama is #44 and you have a total of 45 (and don’t forget Grover Cleveland, who was two presidents but one person—-how do you count him?)