The Common Good
July-August 1999

Booming Economy a Bust for the Poor

by Andrew Schleicher | July-August 1999

So much talk was on the Dow breaking 10,000 that hardly anyone noticed the decline in
net worth of the average worker.

So much talk was on the Dow breaking 10,000 that hardly anyone noticed the decline in net worth of the average worker. A new report, Shifting Fortunes: The Perils of the Growing American Wealth Gap, shows that most households have less net worth than in 1983, when the Dow broke 1,000. Further, the report, published by United for a Fair Economy, found that almost 90 percent of those gains in stocks and mutual funds went to the richest 10 percent of society. Meanwhile, about one of every five households have negative or no net worth, meaning that their debts are greater than their assets. The report shows that the economy has actually been in a state of decline since the 1980s.

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