For the last 30 years the Republican "trickle-down" economic policies have been making the rich much richer, while the rest of America was losing buying power because of increasing costs that were not covered by their stagnant wages. Each year, most Americans fell further behind. That was bad enough, but then the Republican policies came to a head by triggering a serious recession in the last year of the Bush presidency.
That recession not only destroyed millions of American jobs, but it destroyed a big hunk of the wealth of most Americans (as trillions of dollars were lost). The Federal Reserve has just released its latest picture of the wealth of Americans (something it does every three years). This latest survey on wealth covers the time from 2007 (before the recession kicked in) and 2010. And it shows that the Republican recession has been devastating for Americans -- everyone except the rich.
The rich have done quite well, in spite of the recession. In 2007, the median net worth (wealth) of people in the top 10% has grown from $1,172,300 in 2007 to $1,194,300 in 2010. That's a growth of net worth of about 1.88%. And the top 1% did much better than that. They are currently sitting on record amounts of wealth.
But what about the rest of America -- the bottom 90% of Americans? Well, all of them got poorer -- that is, they suffered a significant drop in net worth and still have not recovered from it. The median net worth for all American families was $126,400 in 2007. In 2010, that median family net worth was only $77,300. That's a drop in net worth of about 38.85%. And this drop in net worth has been experienced by everyone in the bottom 90%. Here are the numbers by percentile:
80-90%..........$373,200 to $286,600 (a drop of 23.21%)
60-80%..........$215,700 to $128,600 (a drop of 40.38%)
40-60%..........$92,300 to $65,900 (a drop of 28.60%)
20-40%..........$39,600 to $25,600 (a drop of 35.35%)
0-20%..........$8,500 to $6,200 (a drop of 27.06%)
And this loss of net worth was experienced by all of the people in the bottom 90% -- regardless of education, age, race, or family situation. There was only one factor that saved a person from losing net worth between 2007 and 2010 -- being in the top 10% before the recession began. In other words, the rich got richer (especially those in the top 1%) and everyone else got poorer.
And what is the Republican solution to restore this loss of wealth? They want to give the rich (the only group whose wealth increased after the recession started) massive new tax cuts. This "solution" will not only do nothing to help the bottom 90% of Americans (the ones truly hurt by the recession), but it will just make the vast gap between the rich and the rest of America even larger -- and it will extend the effect of the recession on the bottom 90% for many more years.