image missing Date: 2021-10-17 Page is: DBtxt003.php L0900-PE-US-Household-Wealth-Debt

The vast majority of people lack wealth
US Consumer Debt Outstanding
This graphic shows the state of household finance is significantly worse now (in May 2019) than it was in the runup to the financial crisis of 2008.
This graphic also shows the catastrophic damage done to household balance sheets since the 1970s. In the 1970s the world economy was stressed by the OPEC oil shock of 1973 which made the US especially uncompetitive because of its previous reliance on very cheap energy. Reagan era policies set the stage for much tougher limits on labor and collective bargaining as well as financial deregulation which facilitated the creation of more and more consumer credit. The growth of consumer credit made it possible for consumer demand to remain strong even while wages were weak. Reagan era banking deregulation unleashed the greed of bankers which resulted in the Savings and Loan Crisis and other abuses.

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