So before we get into the meat of this and I have people reading the first few lines and dismissing me outright, I need to point out that I do support the idea behind OccupyWallSt (as long as Wall St doesn’t turn into Vancouver), and support free speech and freedom of assembly. I believe our nation is in a fiscally precarious position, that the national debt is actually our #1 national security issue right now, and that promoting the creation of jobs is a key issue in turning that around. However, in our world, especially through the media, it seems the way to “win” or at least get the most attention is by making everything seem to be the most extreme, worst-case scenario possible, and I don’t play that game.
Today’s blather is based on an article I saw this morning: “US States with the Most Millionaires- 2011” (source: http://finance.yahoo.com/real-estate/article/113718/states-most-millionaires-cnbc). Phoenix Marketing International released a study showing “the overall number of millionaire households in the U.S. has increased nationwide for the second time in two years. In 2011, there were 5.94 million millionaire households, compared with 5.56 million households a year earlier, an increase of approximately 6.8 percent. Nearly every U.S. state saw an increase in its total number of millionaires, adding thousands of households to millionaire status.” The article also mapped out how, for the top ten states with the most millionaires, 6-7% of the total number of households in those states were millionaires. Think about it – there are a lot of wealthy households out there, and probably a lot more that are below the millionaire line but doing really well too.
There’s a lot data there, and a lot of implication too (which I wish I could get more data for, to confirm or refute). If the number of millionaire households across the US grew by half a million in just one year, there’s an implication that households with a value less than that grew as well. If this could be confirmed, the overall inference one could draw is that the US economy is not as in bad a shape as it’s being portrayed, at least for the individual American.
Are there huge problems? Of course, especially for the 10% or so that are unemployed, and I stand by my assertion of our debt being our largest security issue. However, if you have a job, overall it seems like a significant portion of the nation, while tightening belts a little, is doing okay. And I’m not even going to go off (too far) on a tangental rant on how people are showing how coddled they are by demanding the government bring jobs to them, rather than going to where the jobs are.
I do feel that the corporate pay structure is way out of whack, but it’s up to the people that own the companies – the investors – to fix that, as unlikely I think that is to happen. Not the government. Because if the government tries to start regulating CEO pay, then we’ve failed as a nation and have started going down the route of China and the Soviet Union, and in the end even more will be suffering than now.