Not since the Depression has a larger share of Americans owed more on their homes than they are worth. With the collapse of the housing boom, nearly 8.8 million homeowners, or 10.3 percent of the total, are underwater.Houses have been more than shelter for many Americans, they've also been piggybanks. People used home equity loans to pay for college tuition, home improvements, etc., and now they're stuck owing more in loans than their houses are worth. They can always turn to their savings to help out though, right? Maybe, but savings are at their lowest rate since the Great Depression.
Well, at least people can still depend on hard work to get ahead - or not. Inequality has risen to heights not seen since before the Great Depression.
Work no longer guarantees financial security. Consider what Rep. Charles Rangel recently said:
"Millions of families are left out because of their stagnant wages and the erosion of their retirement benefits," Rangel said. "The share of pretax income going to the top 1 percent of households is at the highest level since 1929." The stock market crash of 1929 preceded the Great Depression of the 1930s.I've always heard that suicides skyrocketed during the depression, which makes this news all the more disturbing.
"We know what happened in 1929; we don't want to go back there, but there is something wrong with the picture if we find so many people going into poverty," Rangel added.
An analysis of U.S. death rates by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the suicide rate among 45- to 54-year-olds rose nearly 20 percent from 1999 to 2004, more than all age groups.This talk of depression isn't all bad though. Eli Lilly & Co recently announced their fourth-quarter profit was up, in part due to revenue from sales of Cymbalta, a drug used to treat depression.
Yep, when history books get written, Bush and depression will definitely be mentioned on the same page.
Update: One more: Ohio Job Losses Worst Since Great Depression