Wednesday, September 5, 2012

@SenatorBurr - Are we better off? Hell yes. And it's all in black and white. Look for yourself.

This question of "Are you better off?" is front and center in this political silly season. There's not a uniform answer that applies to everyone. For the wealthy who hold investment assets, the answer is largely, YES. The S&P 500 has returned over 65% during the Obama administration, after losing over 40% during the Bush years.

But, for a large number of Americans who have almost all their net worth tied up in their home, the answer is largely, NO. Housing prices are down appreciably. And for most Americans with little to nothing in assets or savings, the answer is assuredly, HELL NO. They need jobs.  But, what of our entire nation, taken as a whole? Are we better off? Are we more wealthy as a nation?

The answer is YES,  we are better off as a nation. There's an easy place to look to confirm this answer. Look at the quarterly report issued by the Federal Reserve Board ... the Flow of Funds report. It's a massive document. But, buried there, on page 113, in schedule B.100, you'll find the definitive answer.

Our assets are far more valuable in 2012 than in 2008.  At $76.3 Trillion, we have $8.6 Trillion more in assets now than in 2008. About $10 Trillion of that new wealth comes from an increase in our financial assets, largely stocks, bonds and pension fund assets. And we have more liquid assets too, $500 Billion more sitting in banks, savings and money market funds.  We got kicked in the tail though in our real estate, losing about $1.3 Trillion. But, net/net, we have more, $8.6 Trillion more in 2012 than we had at year-end 2008.

While we have grown the value of our assets,  we have held our personal debt in check.   We're carrying about $13.4 Trillion in personal debts.  That's down from over $14 Trillion back in 2008.

The net result is a higher net worth in 2012 than we had in 2008.   Bottom line,  our personal households are $9.3 Trillion better off now than we were when President Bush left office.  We have $8.6 Trillion more in assets and about $700 Billion less in debt.   We are a richer nation.

But,  while our personal wealth grew,  our nation's debt also increased.  When George Bush left office we were $10 Trillion in debt.  That debt level just recently blew past the $16 Trillion mark.  So,  as a nation,  we owe $6 Trillion more now than we did in 2008.

Net/net though our nation is $3.3 Trillion better off today than in 2008.  Our personal households added $9.3 Trillion in net worth, while our nation is $6 Trillion more in debt. That nets out to being $3.3 Trillion better off now than in 2008.
All the detail is there for you to examine,  lines 1 thru 50 in schedule B.100,  page 113 of the Federal Reserve Board Flow of Funds report.

What baffles me is that we're focused on the wrong issue.  The issue is not whether we are better off.  We are,  by $3.3 Trillion,  and it's all there is black and white for anyone to see.  The bigger issue is who's better off?  Are all the riches falling into the pockets to the top 2%?  Yes. People with stocks, bonds and pension funds are making out like bandits, while the rest of America suffers.  There's a massive wealth shift going on.  The rich are getting richer.   Is this fair?   If that's the case,  can we really afford to put a Republican administration in place that will magnify that shift even more?   Hell no.

Ask our idiot Senator what he thinks.   We know his net worth has grown more than 44% since 2008.  He's a winner.   So we know what he thinks and what he wants done.  Senator Burr wants to reward the rich,  reward the bankers,  reward the corporate chiefs,  while kicking the middle class in the teeth and shoving them over a cliff.   But if you're not better off,  and want to know why .... ask Richard Burr to explain why it is that the uber wealthy are the only winners in our economy,  and why he wants to shower them with even more riches.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

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