What Recovery? Despite Fed Boasts, Americans Have Regained Only 45 Percent Of Recession Losses


In March, the Federal Reserve chirped that Americans had, as a whole, recouped 91 percent of the aggregate wealth the Nation lost during the economic crisis of 2007-2009.

But Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis released a report that strays pretty far from the Fed’s earlier, optimistic message. Unlike the March report, the current version adjusts for inflation, and averages all gains and losses across population demographics.

It’s a completely different picture. Instead of being on the cusp of full recovery, we’re not even halfway there. With the corrections in place, the average U.S. household appears to have recovered only 45 percent of whatever wealth was lost between 2007 and 2010.

For one thing, there are more 3.8 million more American households now than in 2007; for another, almost 70 percent of the post-recession gains have come in the form of stock surges, which benefit upper-income Americans in far greater proportion than those living in a middle-class household. And the value of homes, where most middle-class Americans’ wealth is stored, is still down almost 16 percent from pre-recession levels.

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.

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