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Why Americans still feel poor
Fortune ^ | 01/26/2013 | By Nin-Hai Tseng

Posted on 01/26/2013 7:12:47 AM PST by SeekAndFind

U.S. stocks have reached new highs, but most Americans probably don't feel any wealthier. That's because the prices of our homes have a bigger influence over how rich we feel and, therefore, how much we're willing to spend, suggests a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The findings clarify the big drivers of what economists call "the wealth effect," the idea that people spend more when they have more. This sounds pretty obvious, but the real barometer of wealth hasn't been as clear. In the past, as the Federal Reserve moved to buy up billions of dollars worth of bonds to boost the economy, Chairman Ben Bernanke said that higher stock prices boost consumer wealth. And in turn, the extra spending helps the economy grow.

While that might be true, as it turns out, home prices trump any run-up on Wall Street. This is probably not that surprising, given that most Americans have relatively modest amounts of cash tied up in equities, 401ks, IRAs and investment accounts.

For most Americans, the value of their homes reflect how wealthy they feel, according to the study by economists, including well-known U.S. housing market authorities Karl Case and Robert Shiller.

In looking at the housing market's latest boom and bust, they found that households spend more when home prices go up. And unlike the results of their earlier study, they spend less when prices fall. If prices popped like they did between 2001 and 2005, household spending would rise 4.3%. And if prices plummeted like they did between 2005 and 2009, spending would drop 3.5%.

If we look at what's happening today, the findings might explain why the stock market's rally hasn't really helped the economy grow that much faster.

(Excerpt) Read more at finance.fortune.cnn.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: economy; housing

1 posted on 01/26/2013 7:12:50 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m sure a criminal and bankrupt government grabbing our wallets at their pleasure has nothing to do with us feeling poor and helpless.

I’m sure that tyrannical Obamacare stealing away our freedom to make decisions about our own lives and bodies has nothing to do with us feeling poor and helpless.

And I’m also sure that an out of control government wantonly spending us into financial oblivion via transfer payments to slackers and moochers has nothing to do with us feeling poor and helpless.

But we are all part of “the collective” and should feel good about these things. Why don’t we?


2 posted on 01/26/2013 7:17:21 AM PST by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: SeekAndFind

The dollar loses value daily. Retirement plans are becoming useless by design. Money is being printed without backing.

The WH is run by treasonous dastards.


3 posted on 01/26/2013 7:23:53 AM PST by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: SeekAndFind
U.S. stocks have reached new highs, but most Americans probably don't feel any wealthier.

That's because when Obama spreads our wealth around, we realize that it is no longer ours. I would take freedom over socialism any day, and apparently the others who don't feel better off under the corrupt regime in DC agree.

4 posted on 01/26/2013 7:26:43 AM PST by Pollster1
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To: SeekAndFind

Yet we have more unneeded crap than we’ve ever had before (not to mention buying crap for everyone else)


5 posted on 01/26/2013 7:28:48 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: SeekAndFind
The single best measure of economic vitality is monetary velocity

Corporate and Private America is rapidly De-leveraging

Corporations are hoarding cash
A strong indicator for a negative ROI for new investment

Workers have seen decreasing real income

And Household net worth is approaching a zero crossing


6 posted on 01/26/2013 7:29:53 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: SeekAndFind
We feel poor because we no longer feel free.

In the 50's and the 60's a man could walk away from a job he didn't like or had outgrown or whatever, and there was another job to be had not too long in waiting.

The "I can do whatever I want" attitude was the reason for the books written about those loud mouthed Americans that went overseas and embarassed themselves and others.

We Were The Big Dog Of The Planet.

Men today have little or no choice WHAT TO DO WITH THEIR LIVES when they are young and dreaming.

I know the brochures advertise a gazillion "fields", but a guy just can't walk down the street and enter an establishment to ask, "Are you hirin'?", and start next Monday.

Men are the traditional breadwinners ... it's part of our DNA.


Women have tried to be independent, and a lot of women have been successful (making money, entering power positions or creating them, etc.), to the demise of The Family.

Working women generally don't have babies or have only one or two.

Our 1930's, 40's and 50's families were 5, 6, 7, or more children (I'm one of eight, #4 born in 1948 .. 4 more comin' in the future)


We don't feel free in America because we struggle just to live and THAT was never to be part of our DNA and we have no legacy to pass on to our kids.

Our property can't be passed on (I know .. there are ways, but not everyone knows), our money can't be passed on and now ..

Our Constitution and Bill of Rights can't be passed on.

And even if ithey were ... our kids don't know, understand and in too many cases .. don't want what we have to offer.

Sorry kid, all I got is the truth f'ya.

7 posted on 01/26/2013 7:30:41 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Vaquero

The low information voters don’t have a clue.


8 posted on 01/26/2013 7:35:57 AM PST by dhs12345
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To: SeekAndFind

Here is a thought I’ve had for some time. I do not think the well-being of the stock market has the effect on our economy that it once had. For starters, the market can seem to do quite well while a recession is on. There was a time when a shift in the stock market was almost tectonic. Nowadays it bounces up, and down, very quickly, and doesn’t seem to take the economy with it anymore. Another thing I think is that the stock market is essentially always flooded with money, regardless of how well it is actually doing. Think about all the 401ks and other things automatically deducted from millions of people’s pay- a constant influx of dollars. That could cover up or disguise a multitude of problems, or make up for a lot of losses. Based on these thoughts, I’m not sure the stock market really reflects anything other than the stock market.


9 posted on 01/26/2013 7:35:57 AM PST by GenXteacher (You have chosen dishonor to avoid war; you shall have war also.)
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To: SeekAndFind
And, GDP multiplier is dangerously close to 1 (currently 1.3)
At which time, the ROI on injected capital goes negative
And the fundamental engine of capitalism breaks


10 posted on 01/26/2013 7:39:17 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: cripplecreek

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!
Is there any other country that could produce a show like ‘Hoarders’ or ‘Storage Wars’?
Some only blame Wall Street for our demise. But a significant blame should be given to Madison Avenue. The cursed marketing of stuff that does not create value or better our lives that created massive debt slavery rather than economic freedom should be rejected.


11 posted on 01/26/2013 7:40:30 AM PST by griswold3 (Big Government does not tolerate rivals.)
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To: griswold3

I’m not opposed to people having what they want, I have more of a problem with the utter lack of restraint I see in virtually all Americans these days. It’s reflected in our government.


12 posted on 01/26/2013 8:08:13 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: knarf

Great post.
The only place I’ve seen lately that looks like the “old America” is around Wash DC and NoVa.
That’s because the Baraqqis are flooding the locale with our tax money.


13 posted on 01/26/2013 8:15:33 AM PST by nascarnation (Baraq's economic policy: trickle up poverty)
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To: cripplecreek
Yet we have more unneeded crap than we’ve ever had before

That's part of the fallacy that consumption will sustain the economy. The Fed has been subsidizing consumption in two ways: penalizing saving and artificially lowering rates so the politicians can spend more. That action has hollowed out the economy since nobody commits capital to any long term ventures any more. China is in the middle of this mess by functioning as a money conduit from consumers here to the politicians here. In return the consumers get disposable crap they don't need, and the politicians get to spend and put us more in debt.

14 posted on 01/26/2013 8:21:50 AM PST by palmer (Obama = Carter + affirmative action)
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To: SeekAndFind

it’s amazing to me how many people have no idea how capitalism and markets effect the value of a fiat currency

take whatever money or valuable denominated in dollars you have and remove the dilution factor... this will give you a real idea the value of the item compared to a few years ago

as an example, I did the math and posted the real value of my home here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2703736/posts?page=36#36


15 posted on 01/26/2013 8:21:56 AM PST by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: GenXteacher
That could cover up or disguise a multitude of problems, or make up for a lot of losses. Based on these thoughts, I’m not sure the stock market really reflects anything other than the stock market.

Agreed. I've thought the same.

I feel poor because I am. Income has remained constant yet purchasing power has bottomed out due to inflation and taxes.

16 posted on 01/26/2013 8:44:16 AM PST by bgill (We've passed the point of no return. Welcome to Al Amerika.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Many people feel poor because they are making massive payments on homes worth half or less what they bought it for at the peak.
Those who bought their homes 10+ years ago may not owe anything, but will lose money if they sell it to fund a retirement nest egg or move to a location with more jobs.
Those who are making mortgage payments and face rising property tax bills and utility payments but have flat wages see less discretionary income.
The Fed is trying to pump up stock prices, in a mistaken effort that this will promote spending. Instead, the new money is channeled into government debt. The government is inflating the cost of fuel by the money printing and the cost of food and power by green energy / ethanol mandates. Mandated benefits increases the cost of hiring someone, so employers either don’t hire or relying on contractors and part-timers.


17 posted on 01/26/2013 10:07:16 AM PST by tbw2
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To: SeekAndFind

“U.S. stocks have reached new highs, but most Americans probably don’t feel any wealthier.”

The surest way to drive up stock prices is to lay off American workers; they cost too much. On top of that, reporting prices in inflated dollars (while officially declaring there is no inflation) helps stocks look better than they really are. If my bread, gasoline, and taxes have doubled in the last few years, and the stock market has, too, then how am I supposed to feel any cheer about that? My dollar today is simply worth $.50 from the “before-time”...


18 posted on 01/26/2013 11:54:13 AM PST by kearnyirish2 (Affirmative action is economic war against white males (and therefore white families).)
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To: SeekAndFind

Perhaps having to due to the fact our national debt has SKYROCKETED to nearly 17 trillion dollars, and is accelerating its rate of increase?

Meanwhile both Dems and Republicans continue to support these wrong-headed policies of de-industrialization?


19 posted on 01/26/2013 11:57:06 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network
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To: dhs12345

“The low information voters don’t have a clue.”

I hope not; I’ve been thinking that many people who knew EXACTLY what Obama is voted for him anyway because they saw how bleak their future would be either way, and decided to vote for whoever would give them more “freebies”. I don’t think people want “opportunity” as much as they want “security” at this point (we can blame globalization for that); American workers have watched their lot worsen over the past few decades, and they don’t like it.


20 posted on 01/26/2013 11:58:47 AM PST by kearnyirish2 (Affirmative action is economic war against white males (and therefore white families).)
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To: kearnyirish2
Then they are selfish as well as ill informed.

Our country cannot survive when everyone is expecting something free from the government.

I wonder how well people would manage if they had to deal with the conditions that our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents had to deal with.

We are all whiny wimps in comparison.

21 posted on 01/26/2013 6:26:09 PM PST by dhs12345
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To: dhs12345

“I wonder how well people would manage if they had to deal with the conditions that our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents had to deal with.”

You’ll get to find out; these young people are going to have a much lower standard of living than their parents (and they know it). I can’t believe how many young people I know (25 to 35 years old) have no car, either live at home or with multiple roommates, have no steady full-time work with benefits, etc.. It is disturbing, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel; with globalization, any job worth more than $30K annually has forces at work scrambling to either send it overseas or to import foreigners to do it for less.

Our young people are selfish (they were raised that way) and ill-informed (they were “educated in a horrible school system); they are also angry. They should be.


22 posted on 01/28/2013 2:20:31 AM PST by kearnyirish2 (Affirmative action is economic war against white males (and therefore white families).)
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To: kearnyirish2

One of the things that helped us was our faith and a sense of right an wrong. And charity.


23 posted on 01/28/2013 8:32:35 PM PST by dhs12345
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To: dhs12345

“One of the things that helped us was our faith and a sense of right an wrong. And charity.”

Same here; you can scratch all three for the young people today.


24 posted on 01/29/2013 2:10:32 AM PST by kearnyirish2 (Affirmative action is economic war against white males (and therefore white families).)
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