by Jim Quinn
On Thursday morning, September 18, 2008 a tragedy almost befell the 450 billionaires and 3,000,000 millionaires that live in the United States. The billionaires were on their way to becoming millionaires and the millionaires were about to leave the club. Luckily, Hank http://www.wvwnews.net/story.php?id=5669. Whose best interest do you think they are looking out for?As I’ve watched the various business networks over the last few weeks, I sense desperation and fear among the commentators, pundits, and “experts.” It is a fear based upon self-interest. Their lives depend upon the masses keeping their money invested in the market. They have overwhelmingly been in favor of the bailout bill. I wonder why Jim “Mad Money” Cramer, who has a net worth of $100 million, is in favor of the bill? Larry “Free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity” Kudlow, a multi-millionaire, is 100% in favor of a socialist bailout of the criminal investment banks. They support this “blank check” to a government that is already $9.65 trillion in debt, because they want to maintain their lavish lifestyle, multiple estates, and prominent positions in society.
An honest balance sheet (as opposed to the balance sheets of US Banks) will always tell the true story. The balance sheet of U.S. households shown below explains the situation we are in today. The value of real estate rose 50% between 2002 and 2007, much faster than historical growth rates of 3% per year. The problem is that mortgage debt rose by 75% over this same time frame, resulting in owner’s equity as a percentage of real estate reaching an all-time low of 45.2% in June, 2008. The assumption by homeowners that prices could only go up, supported by lies from the National Association of Realtors and Wall Street gurus, led homeowners to take $3 trillion of equity out of their homes and live a more lavish lifestyle than was warranted by their income. Consumer debt has risen 30%, while durable goods assets (which naturally depreciate) have only risen 24%. Financial Assets outpaced all classes, rising 55%, as the stock market came out of a bear market in 2003. The vast majority of this financial asset wealth increase benefitted the billionaire club and millionaire club. The rest trickled down.