As the economy tanks, the more wealthy of us are also going down the drain, albeit in slower, easier fashion.
From the New York Times yesterday:
But economists say — and data is beginning to show — that a significant change may in fact be under way. The rich, as a group, are no longer getting richer.
Over the last two years, they have become poorer. And many may not return to their old levels of wealth and income anytime soon.
Last year, the number of Americans with a net worth of at least $30 million dropped 24 percent, according to CapGemini and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
Monthly income from stock dividends, which is concentrated among the affluent, has fallen more than 20 percent since last summer, the biggest such decline since the government began keeping records in 1959.
Bill Gates, Warren E. Buffett, the heirs to the Wal-Mart Stores fortune and the founders of Google each lost billions last year, according to Forbes magazine.
In one stark example, John McAfee, an entrepreneur who founded the antivirus software company that bears his name, is now worth about $4 million, from a peak of more than $100 million.
Mr. McAfee will soon auction off his last big property because he needs cash to pay his bills after having been caught off guard by the simultaneous crash in real estate and stocks.
â€œI had no clue,â€ he said, â€œthat there would be this tandem collapse.â€
Clueless is the cue.
Former Fed honcho Big Al Greenspan also had no clue:
“In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working,” Waxman said.
“Absolutely, precisely,” Greenspan replied. “You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”
Enough to make a grown man cry.
And Big Al’s replacement also keeps the shock pity flowing.
The US and the whole-wide worldÂ have arisen from the ashes of fiscal foolishness:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the global economy is â€œbeginning to emergeâ€ from a recession after â€œaggressiveâ€ action by central banks and governments.
â€œAfter contracting sharply over the past year, economic activity appears to be leveling out, both in the United States and abroad, and the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good…â€
Be afraid, be very afraid…
Big BenÂ blubbered last summer — June 9, 2008, to be exact: â€œThe risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so.â€
I’m just plain shocked…