Americans’ Net Worth is Down 39%; Updated: Unemployment for Government Workers Just 4.2%

I guess this is what Obama meant by fundamental transformation, via Reuters:

Americans suffered a record decline in wealth between 2007 and 2010 as home values tumbled, according to a Federal Reserve report on Monday that underscored the severity of the recent recession.

The median family’s net worth dropped 38.8 percent during the three-year period, the Fed said in its latest report on changes in U.S. Family Finances, derived from a survey of consumer finances. Fed economists told reporters that this was the biggest drop in net worth since the survey started in 1989.

The median net worth, which is the value of assets minus debt, plunged to $77.3 trillion in 2010 from $126.4 trillion in 2007. Net worth in 2010 was at levels last seen in 1992.

But wait. How can this be?  After four years of Hope and Change, complete with all those hopey-changey programs such as Porkulus, Dodd-Frank, the bailouts, $5+ trillion in new debt, Solyndra, the oil permitorium, the Keystone rejection, and Obamacare (to name just a few), shouldn’t we all be living happily ever after by now?  I thought all these wonderful new policies were going to usher in a new era of prosperity. And to top it off, we get this news right after Obama assured us “the private sector is doing fine”:

I’m confused. How can the most brilliant President in the history of the universe, a man whose mere words can cause thrills to run up the legs of MSNBC anchors, believe the private sector is doing just fine if Americans’ net worth is down 39%? I would argue the opposite.  Is my thinking flawed somehow?

In reality, of course, this is anything but surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention the last four years. Wealth is created in the private sector, the public sector can only redistribute it.  This is something socialists never understand.  Even if you believe that wealth distribution is what the government should do (I don’t), you can’t redistribute that which hasn’t been vreated. Given Obama’s war against the private sector, it’s inevitable liberals will have fewer resources to redistribute.

Update: (h/t TT) A friend just emailed me an article by Marc Thiessen at the American Enterprise Blog. In his piece, Thiessen uses BLS data to illustrate the absurdity of Obama’s claim that the private sector is doing fine while those poor government bureaucrats are the ones hurting:

In the Washington Post this morning, I write that contrary to President Obama’s claims, it is the public sector that is doing “just fine.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for government workers last month was just 4.2 percent (up slightly from 3.9 percent a year ago).

Compare that to private-sector industries such as:

-Construction: 14.2% unemployment

-Leisure and hospitality services: 9.7%

-Agriculture: 9.5%

-Professional and business services: 8.5%

-Wholesale and retail trade: 8.1%

As AEI’s own Andrew Biggs points out, the public-sector unemployment rate “is the lowest of any industry or class of worker, even including the growing energy industry.” If the rest of Americans enjoyed the same unemployment rate as government workers, Obama would be cruising to reelection.

More here.


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