Friday, February 24, 2006

Debt Subtracts from Net Worth?

Just say it ain't so. 'Lackluster wage growth'? 'Rocky economic times'? Wages are actually down? But I thought we have a strong, vibrant, flexible, knowledge-based economy? I feel wealthy. You mean I'm not? I have to factor in my debt load? But that's not fair.

Well, it's about time someone came right out and said it...
Americans may feel much richer because of soaring home prices, but they're not.

U.S. families' wealth stagnated during the economy's recession and recovery from 2001 through 2004, as lackluster wage growth, sagging stock prices and rising debt levels offset the gains from higher home values, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday in its latest Survey of Consumer Finances.

But wealth, or net worth, measures the value of a household's assets minus its debts - such as mortgages, car loans, student loans and credit card balances. And debt climbed steadily during the survey period, as the Fed slashed interest rates to stimulate borrowing and spending in rocky economic times.

After totaling up both sides of the ledger, the median net worth of American households rose just 1.5 percent...
Well, when worse comes to worse, I guess they can always give these people a try.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God somebody at the top is finally coming clean on this absolute nonsense that we've been calling a healthy economy.

Cost of living (owning and renting both) SKYROCKETTING for years and wages down or stagnant.

People CHARGING groceries,etc etc.

It's been beyond insane and even more insane to hear so many cheering about how "great we're doing".

Any leader who can bring things back to reality will be a freakin' hero.

And if we've got to go thru another depression to snap Americans back to reality, so be it. This slate of nonsense has got to wiped clean whatever it takes.

Feb 24, 2006, 11:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Renting costs are not skyrocketing -- they have actually gone backwards for the past 5 years in the Bay Area (I am too lazy to cite my source but there is evidence elsewhere on this blog)

And asking for another depression? You might want to talk to someone who has been through it before you wish for something like that. There was 30% unemployment during the depression, a much worse proposition than stagnant wage growth. While charging groceries might be disturbing to you (although I do it and I am not sure what's wrong with it), it is a little rash to think a depression would solve this, don't you think?

This will correct itself, but I don't think it will send us into a depression. A recession perhaps, but we had one of those in 2001 and look where it got us.

Feb 25, 2006, 7:41:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

Yes, wishing for a depression is pretty damn ignorant.

Yes, there is a graph on this blog somewhere showing how Marin rents went up and have been down (inverted 'V' shape). I would not be surprised if rents have started an up-tic.

Feb 26, 2006, 9:45:00 AM  
Blogger SCProfessor said...

Did I miss something? The first posting did not, IMHO, constitute a "wish for a depression." Its author said, "[A]nd if we've got to go thru another depression to snap Americans back to reality, so be it. This slate of nonsense has got to wiped clean whatever it takes."

No need to make issues out where none exists. I'd characterize the author's point at nothing beyond what was said.

There are inevitable consequences to actions. None of us I'm sure would suggest that living beyond your means is a wise thing to do. Nevertheless for many that has become the norm.

Following the enlightened attitude of our political leaders, our society has seemed to follow their lead of reckless spending.

I for one have chosen a more moderate path, spending less than I make and actually putting aside a few bucks for a rainy day. How rainy that day will be depends upon our economic climate. I think I see dark storm clouds on the horizon.

Feb 26, 2006, 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Marinite said...

I think I see dark storm clouds on the horizon.

scprofessor -

Do you care to elaborate?

Feb 26, 2006, 11:53:00 AM  

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