Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thirty Years Mortgaged Away

Plus ça change, plus ce meme chose....

The Pew Research Center 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.

As a result of these declines, the typical black household had just $5,677 in wealth (assets minus debts) in 2009, the typical Hispanic household had $6,325 in wealth and the typical white household had $113,149.

Moreover, about a third of black (35%) and Hispanic (31%) households had zero or negative net worth in 2009, compared with 15% of white households. In 2005, the comparable shares had been 29% for blacks, 23% for Hispanics and 11% for whites.

That last paragraph tells a tale: that would probably be the result of hyperborrowing in mortgages and against credit cards in the wake of stagnating wages, pitiful jobs growth under the Bush administration, and the collapse of savings in this nation. People need to buy in order to keep the economy humming. The economy hummed, but the social construct has always been that the economy hums when people shop, which creates jobs, which creates wealth (and net worth), which creates a humming economy.

That's disconnected now, largely because the humming has moved overseas as China and other south Asian nations have taken the bulk of the jobs in cost-cutting moves by hypernational corporations that retain their cash, thus turning the trickle-down effect into a true trickle.

This is the worst gap since 1986, when Pew started publishing this study, and not coincidentally, when America gave a goddamn about the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, and not the first tee at Winged Foot.

Just keep those net worth numbers in mind: Blacks, $5,677; Hispanics, $6,325 (so much for the rise of La Raza Republican); Whites, $113,149.