Why Are so Few Americans Able to Get Ahead?

Why Are so Few Americans Able to Get Ahead? By Charles Hugh Smith.

As recently as the early 1970s, 45 years ago, it was still possible for a single fulltime-earner to support the household and buy a home, which in 1973 cost around $30,000 (median house price, as per the St. Louis FRED database).

As recently as 20 years ago, in 1998, the median house price in the U.S. was about $150,000– still within reach of many two-earner households, even those with average jobs. …

To raise stagnant incomes, the Federal Reserve and other central banks have attempted to generate a wealth effect by boosting the valuations of risk-on assets such as stocks, bonds and commercial real estate. But the Fed et al. overlooked the fact that the vast majority of these assets are owned by the top 10%–and as noted above, the ownership of the top 10% is concentrated in the top 1% and .1%.

As a result, the vast majority of the wealth effect capital gains have flowed to the top 1%:

Our entire economy is characterized by cartel rentier skims, central-bank goosed asset bubbles and stagnating earned income for the bottom 90%. Given these realities, the bottom 90% are left with few pathways to get ahead in terms of financial security and building secure family wealth.