“Wealth Effect” = Widening Wealth Inequality

Note that widening wealth and income inequality is a non-partisan trend. One of the core goals of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies of the past 9 years is to generate the “wealth effect”: by pushing the valuations of stocks and bonds higher, American households will feel wealthier, and hence be more willing to borrow and spend, even if they didn’t actually reap any gains by selling stocks and bonds that gained value. In other words, the mere perception of rising wealth is supposed to trigger a wave of renewed borrowing and spending. This perception management only worked on the few households which owned enough of these assets to feel wealthier–the top 5%, the top 6 million out of 120 million households. This chart shows what happened as the Fed ceaselessly goosed financial assets higher over the past 9 years: the gains, real and perceived, only flowed to the top 5% of households earning in excess of $200,000 annually. Spending by the bottom 95% has at best returned to the levels reached a decade ago in 2007.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on TUESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2017.

Exodus Starts: Millennials Ditch City Life

The urban revival of America’s core inner cities has been a decades-long failed experiment, as deindustrialization coupled with failed liberal policies have created a growing problem of inequality and violent crime. Middle-class advancement was once localized in the core of America’s cities, but that is not so much the case today, as those areas are labeled a ‘barbell economy,’ divided between highly-paid professionals and low-skill service workers.
Brookings Institution notes as early as the 1970s, middle-class income in the inner cities started to shrink more than anywhere else. Today, in most US inner cities, the cores are more unequal than their surrounding suburbs, noted geographer Daniel Herz.
As the failed American inner city experiment nears the latter stages before a collapsing point, a new report from Time could be the final nail in the coffin for some American inner cities, as the article suggests ‘cities have already reached ‘Peak Millennial’ as young people begin to leave.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 20, 2017.

“Out Of Control Genocide” In Baltimore, Residents Support Martial Law

While in Baltimore City, Maryland, death and despair are a few things that are plentiful as the region descends into chaos. Deindustrialization coupled with depopulation started in the 1960s stripping the city of economic wealth. Many don’t want to admit, the city is shrinking as their looking glass is clouded with Kevin Plank’s gentrification narrative.
Wealth inequality in the area is some of the widest in the United States with more than 100,000 African Americans with zero dollars to their name, according to JPM. Baltimore is a skeleton of what it once was many decades ago when it had its industries.
Now, 46,800 homes are vacant – almost 16% of the housing stock as citizens are either leaving the area or being pushed into multi-family complexes by the city. Neighborhoods are rotting away as the local economy crumbles giving way to a surge in homicides. Baltimore is on track for the worse year ever with a homicide rate the highest in the United States.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 22, 2017.

Is This Why Productivity Has Tanked and Wealth Inequality Has Soared?

Needless but highly profitable forced-upgrades are the bread and butter of the tech industry. One of the enduring mysteries in conventional economics (along with why wages for the bottom 95% have stagnated) is the recent decline in productivity gains (see chart). Since gains in productivity are the ultimate source of higher wages, these issues are related. Simply put, advances in productivity are core to widespread prosperity. *** But that’s only half the problem–productivity gains have flowed to the top of the income-wealth pyramid as financialization and cartels have replaced real-world wealth creation as the source of wealth-income.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2017.

What’s Driving Social Discord: Russian Social Media Meddling or Soaring Wealth/Power Inequality?

The nation’s elites are desperate to misdirect us from the financial and power divide that has enriched and empowered them at the expense of the unprotected many.
There are two competing explanatory narratives battling for mind-share in the U. S.: 1. The nation’s social discord is the direct result of Russian social media meddling– what I call the Boris and Natasha Narrative of evil Russian masterminds controlling a vast conspiracy of social media advertising, fake-news outlets and trolls that have created artificial divides in the body politic, or exacerbated minor cracks into chasms. 2. The nation’s social discord is the direct result of soaring wealth/power inequality– the vast expansion of the wealth and power of the nation’s financial elites and their protected class of technocrat enablers and enforcers (the few) at the expense of the unprotected many.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 01, 2017.