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Jul 27 2011

The Wealth Gap

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

The Pew Research Center published its report on the widening wealth gap between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics. It’s not a very good picture.

    The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from 2009.

    These lopsided wealth ratios are the largest since the government began publishing such data a quarter century ago and roughly twice the size of the ratios that had prevailed between these three groups for the two decades prior to the Great Recession that ended in 2009.

    The Pew Research analysis finds that, in percentage terms, the bursting of the housing market bubble in 2006 and the recession that followed from late 2007 to mid-2009 took a far greater toll on the wealth of minorities than whites. From 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median wealth fell by 66% among Hispanic households and 53% among black households, compared with just 16% among white households.

    The collapse of the housing market and home values were the main cause hitting Hispanics worse that any other demographic for two main reasons, where their money was invested and geographics:

    Nearly two-thirds of Hispanics’ median net worth in 2005 came from home equity, according to the report, and when the housing market collapsed, so did their wealth. Median home equity for Hispanics fell by 51 percent in the period of the survey. The drop was compounded by the fact that Hispanics tended to live in the places that were hit hardest in the recession, like Florida and California, the report said.

    Dr. Thomas Shapiro, the Pokross professor of law and social policy at Brandeis University on The Rachel Maddow Show, discussed with guest host Melissa Harris-Perry the racial legacy of the wealth gap.

    Meteor Blades at Daily Kos pointed this out in his article

    While the recession worsened the wealth gap, the trend has been headed in that direction for a long time. A study conducted in 2007 by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy found that middle-income whites had less wealth than high-income African Americans in 1984, but by 2007 they had accumulated four times as much wealth. Tom Shapiro noted that this period coincided with lower tax rates for more affluent Americans. That has been one of the main contributors to the wealth and income inequality that now plagues the United States in a ratio that is-or should be-more akin to banana republics than mature industrialized nations.

    Currently 1 percent of the population owns 40 percent of the wealth and 25 percent owns 87 percent. During the so-called “recovery” from the recession, which officially ended 25 months ago, 88 percent of the rise in income has been captured by corporate profits, while only 1 percent has gone to wage-and-salary earners. That kind of income disparity adds to the gap in a country where wealth is already distributed more unequally than anywhere else in the developed world.

    Given the attitude toward cutting taxes on “job creators” now prevalent in Washington, there’s every reason to believe this situation will worsen.

    (emphasis mine)

    We are now just waiting for the ground at the bottom of the cliff we have already driven off.

    1 comment

    1. TMC

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