The Failed Middle Class Housing Recovery In One Chart (Maybe A Few More)

True, house prices have been rising across the USA since the housing bubble burst. But the “recovery” has not been equal across income levels. The wealthiest Americans are doing quite well, but America’s middle class has not recovered.

Something happened in late 2008 that has skewed the recovery towards the wealthiest Americans. In part, it was the massive ,monetary intervention policies of The Federal Reserve. In addition, there has been a philosophy in Washington DC of managing the economy through regulation and non-growth policies. For example. the Brookings Institute has a study documenting the decline in business start-ups.

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The result of The Fed’s massive intervention in financial markets coupled with government policies favoring one group versus another (see George Stigler’s regulatory capture) has resulted in corporate profits after tax growing substantially since 2009 while wage growth is less than half of corporate profit growth.

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As you can see in the above chart, hourly wage growth is less than half of what is was in 2007 while corporate profit growth is over twice that of hourly wage growth … and substantially higher than it was in 2007.

The result has been malaise in mortgage purchase applications.

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While the housing market has improved in terms of price, it has been a slow recovery for the middle class.

But as a consolation prize, the middle class can be a “Lebowski Achiever.”

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