October 8, 2013
The most recent Flow of Funds report from the Federal Reserve showed that since 2008 the total household net worth has increased from $54 trillion to over $70 trillion, and increase of $16.2 trillion. If this gain in net worth had been shared equally among all households, then each would be $135,000 wealthier. But that has not been the case at all. Median household income has dropped 7.3% since 2007, according to a NYTimes article. In the past five years wage income growth has failed to match inflation growth. Median household net worth dropped by 39%, between 2007 and 2010, from $126,000 to $77,000 as reported by the Survey of Consumer Finances. Emmanuel Saez, professor at University of California at Berkeley, reported in his latest "Striking It Richer" report, that "From 2009 to 2011, average real income per family grew modestly by 1.7% (Table 1) but the gains were very uneven. Top 1% incomes grew by 11.2% while bottom 99% incomes shrunk by 0.4%."
As SEC commissioners you have a responsibility towards the whole nation, not just to a few very wealthy who do not want their exorbitant incomes revealed in public. The nation is in an economic crisis, and accurate and meaningful knowledge is difficult to come by. Why would an individual wish not to have his income revealed in public? Might it be a reasonable fear of public disapproval? When most workers and families are struggling to maintain or even survive, it's shameful to hide the fact that a very few are --- look at that $16.2 trillion of net worth growth in five years figure --- a very few are making out like bandits. Are you going to hide that from the public? It may not be the fault of those wealthy individuals, but it certainly is the fault of a system that is mismanaged, to the detriment and suffering of many ordinary humans and citizens just like you, me and our families and friends. I write a blog about inequality, http://benL8.blogspot.com -- Yours, Ben Leet