Casaubon's Book

And in non-goat news….

According to the study, the inflation-adjusted median wealth among Hispanic households fell 66% from 2005 to 2009. Black households suffered a 53% drop in net worth over the same period. By contrast, whites saw a decline of 16% in household wealth.

In 2009, the typical black household had just $5,677 in wealth. Hispanic families had about $6,325 in wealth. The average white household had a net worth of $113,149.

The study also showed that a third of black and Hispanic households had zero wealth, meaning that their debts were larger than the value of all their assets.
Overall, the study attributed much of the disparity to the decline in home values, which hit black and Hispanic households hardest.


And in non-goat news (since non-goat news is always so depressing perhaps we should go to all goat, all the time, right?), guess what? The people who have historically been the poorest are getting poorer! Gee, whoda thunk it?

According to the study, the inflation-adjusted median wealth among Hispanic households fell 66% from 2005 to 2009. Black households suffered a 53% drop in net worth over the same period. By contrast, whites saw a decline of 16% in household wealth.

In 2009, the typical black household had just $5,677 in wealth. Hispanic families had about $6,325 in wealth. The average white household had a net worth of $113,149.

The study also showed that a third of black and Hispanic households had zero wealth, meaning that their debts were larger than the value of all their assets.

This is a critical point because so much media coverage of the recession has emphasized a new class of poor – and it is true that the formerly middle class have been damaged by this. But the deepest victims of the recession haven’t been the two-income, middle class white families who make the news when they lose their houses or have to visit a food pantry for the first time. The deepest characteristic of this recession has been the way it set back people who were already struggling, and the increase in wealth disparity.

I find in fascinating, if not surprising, how invisible the real stories of poor people made poorer have been in the coverage of the recession. I guess when you are invisible to start with, you stay that way, no matter what happens.

Sharon

Comments

  1. #1 Greenpa
    July 27, 2011

    Sharon I’m also horrified at this trend. From 2 aspects.

    First, the human anguish. As a kid I grew up in 3 different places where most of my school friends were brown, and didn’t have English, or “standard” English, as their first language. When we were kids, we totally didn’t notice or care. I loved my friends. So yes, I can feel the desperation their families now live with.

    Second; the history. It’s been repeated many times, and in many cultures. The poor remain submissive; until their last shred of hope is taken. When they have nothing left to lose; they will indeed fight and die in a fashion that no technology has ever been able to stop.

    The speed with which we are approaching that last shred is horrific. And as is historically always the case, the rich are oblivious, and will do nothing but accelerate the trend. Our own current budget crisis is 100% on this track. Those of us with bits of rational minds look and are astonished, “can’t they SEE, don’t they UNDERSTAND?” we repeat to each other.

    They do see- and enjoy it. But they don’t understand- and historically- never have.

    That really should be scaring the hell out of everyone.

  2. #2 Brad K.
    July 27, 2011

    I understand there is a similar breakdown in getting young people into the workforce. Instead of younger folk taking the entry level jobs and getting experience, they are out in the cold, and those “entry level” jobs are going to the displaced worker and those that organizations are trying to keep around, any way they can.

    The reasons are simple, companies cannot afford to hire the inexperienced because of government regulations and taxes, and the crippled economy. But that doesn’t address the fact that the America workforce is aging, and the mass of people unable to contribute to the formal economy keeps growing.

    Just getting all the unemployed to work will be a tremendous drain on the economy, if it should happen. And if it doesn’t happen, then things pretty well roll over a cliff.

    Farming (modern agribusiness) right now is quite noticeably vulnerable to the age problem, with the average age of farmers over 55. How will America replace those savvy technologically experienced people, used to grain markets, equipment operation and maintenance, and crop planning?

    This extended recession and unemployment nightmare is rapidly building a cadre of young people unused to reporting to work on time every morning, meeting the boss’ expectations, managing on a regular paycheck (it is never enough!), and working well and respectfully with others. Everyone in the workforce knows this is a tremendous hurdle for an astonishing number of newcomers.

    In addition to racial tensions, we are building an economic, social, and character generation gap of immense proportions.

  3. #4 Greenpa
    July 28, 2011

    StephenB: thanks for that link. My dose of doom-horror for the day. From that article:

    “Before the economy soured in 2007, 12 percent of youngsters age 3 and under whose families were randomly surveyed in the hospital’s emergency department were significantly underweight. In 2010, that percentage jumped to 18 percent”

    BEFORE it “soured” 12 percent were underweight?? That should have been explosively shocking even then. The fact that these numbers are obscure- is more horror.

  4. #5 Greenpa
    July 28, 2011

    I just this moment ran into this bit of information from the BBC science feed. Yes, if you’re poor, you die sooner.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-14300868

    “The Glasgow researchers found that, over a 10-year period, telomeres shortened by an average of 7.7% in people whose household income was below £25,000. For those on higher incomes, the shortening averaged 0.6%.”

    That seems an enormous difference to me. And another reason why wealth inequity (or iniquity, as my brain always substitutes), is morally offensive.

  5. #6 Tara
    July 28, 2011

    I find the comments on that article deeply disturbing. I can’t quite get my head around the endless stream of vitriol toward people of few means. I know that mentality is fairly ubiquitous, but knowing it doesn’t soften the blow. The overt callousness and complete lack of understandng just sickens me.

  6. #7 Stephen B.
    July 28, 2011

    I too was very disheartened by the comments to that article Tara.

    To a *small* extent, I do understand the naysayers pointing out the lack of fathers in these kids’ lives, but show me what situation is perfect? I too wish that we didn’t need so many entitlement programs as I do think it at some level, they provide a disincentive for people to be productive, but under the present circumstances of a collapsing economy due to energy prices and the effect of exploding automation and other technological effects on vocations and employment, really what’s the Right’s alternative, massive starvation?

    Things are going from bad to worse in this country and world in the face of this economic and ecological collapse, and the lack of compassion and ability to compromise along with the constant government/corporate stealing and lies is just breathtakingly depressing.

    Yeah, let’s just call poor people stupid in the newspaper comments and click on the next story. That’ll solve everything…..NOT!

  7. #8 MissouriMule
    July 29, 2011

    @Brad: “…goverment regulation and taxes..” which regs would those be that make hiring newbies impossible?

    Are not taxes about as low as they have ever been in the last 50 or 60 years? Is not reported corprorate profit reaching record highs?
    If you were running a company making boodles of money with the workforce you currently, when would you decide to expand your workforce?