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Recovery for too few makes troubled times for the majority

By Dian Vujovich

I know many of The Suit people on Wall Street, in politics and around the country don’t care much for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators. I think protestors create a force that’s a little too vulgar for The Suits to deal with.
Too bad for them. The reasons why the numbers of the Occupy Wall Street protesters is growing around the country is because of money and how its inequity is turning America into a two-tiered country: One representing the sliver of the very wealthy and the other, the rest of the population.

Frankly, I’ve been surprised that Occupy Wall Street movement took so long to come together. For more than a decade ordinary everyday working individuals have been slugging it out and making do in an economy that hasn’t been rewarding them for their efforts. Or, making it possible for them to appropriately care for themselves, their families or save for their futures. The Suites know this, whether they want to admit it or not.

But any kind of public gathering, whether it’s to protest or to have parade, is messy business. The more people, the messier it is. The longer it lasts, the uglier it can become. And in the case of Occupy Wall Street, the more delicate the subject, i.e. money, the louder the voices of opposition.

A friend who lives in New York City is no fan of Occupy Wall Street. He figures that just as soon as the weather turns rainy, cold, or snowy the protesters will all be gone. And that will be just fine with him. He’s one of The Suit people.

I don’t know if the weather will be a factor in breaking up those participating in Occupy Wall Street, but I do know that there are plenty of facts that support the reasons for them coming together. For instance:

-Income: According to MyBudget360.com, incomes of those in the middle class have fallen faster from June 2009 to June 2011, than they did during the recession from December 2007 to June 2009. “During the recession, real median annual household income fell by 3.2 percent, from $55,309 in December 2007 to $53,518 in June 2009. During the economic recovery, real median annual household income fell by an additional 6.7 percent, from $53,518 in June 2009 to $49,909 in June 2011.”

-Stocks and the housing market. Even though the stock markets have rallied substantially over the past couple of years that upward growth has lifted the bounties of the wealthiest but not the average individual. The average Joe and Jane aren’t heavily invested in the stock market. They consider their greatest asset to be that of their home.

So, while super high-end properties are selling, some very low-end ones too, most homes aren’t. In many areas around the country home prices have yet to bottom out or even stabilize. As for foreclosures, they are at record highs. So are the numbers of homeowners with outstanding mortgage balances that are higher than what the current market value of their home is. Worse yet, pros don’t expect a full recovery in the real estate market for years.

That’s not good news for anyone counting on their home to be an asset they can cash in on anytime soon.

As for housing starts, according to figures out Friday (10/14/11) from Treasury.gov, they have gone from an annualized average of 1812 a month in 2006 to 571 units in August of this year. And new, single-family home sales from 1,049 a month in 2006 to 295 in August 2011.

Back to the occupation: As I said, it’s all about money. Money that has been and continues to be mishandled whether it is at the governmental or private sector level. Money that isn’t as abundantly available to the majority of people as it is to a very few. And money that everybody needs a whopping amount of just to keep a roof over their heads, food in their bellies and to provide care for their kids and families today and down the road.

Bank of America Corp announced it will be paying $11 million to two ousted employees. Eleven million dollars paid to two individuals getting canned at a time when the American economy is faltering and unemployment levels far too high! It’s hearing that kind of unconscionable corporate behavior that turns the stomachs of ordinary people and brings them out into the streets to join the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

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