Americans’ Household Wealth Hits Highest Level Ever

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The overall household wealth of Americans hit a new high this summer as the economy began to roar back from the worst of coronavirus-induced restrictions.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that American households’ net worth jumped nearly 7 percent in the April-June quarter to a record $119 trillion.

The spike followed a tumble recorded in April when the overall household wealth dropped to $111.3 trillion as stock prices plummeted, according to ABC News.

The second-quarter increase is about a $380 billion jump from December 2019, before the pandemic struck, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The gain was the largest in quarterly records dating back to 1952, according to Bloomberg.

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Household wealth covers items such as homes, bank accounts, stocks, bonds and other assets minus mortgage debt, auto loans, credit card debt and other loans.

In the quarter ending in June, the value of homes grew $500 billion while the value of stock portfolios leaped by $5.7 trillion.

Savings also rose in the quarter, which was the period when relief checks and fatter unemployment benefits helped some households stash away a few dollars.

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The amount of money in check accounts rose 33 percent to $1.8 trillion, while savings accounts rose 6.1 percent to hit $11.2 trillion, according to ABC.

The economy has emerged as a major subject in the presidential campaign.

“My entire campaign is built upon a simple concept: It’s time to reward hard work in America, not wealth,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said recently, according to The Washington Post. “We don’t have to penalize wealth. But it’s the opposite now, we reward wealth and not work.”

Biden has claimed growth in the markets does not help most Americans.

“Trump says — by the way, I’m paraphrasing — ‘everyone’s in the stock market.’ That’s why he cares about the stock market,” Biden said.

“What the hell’s he talking about? People I grew up with in Scranton, Claymont, we don’t have money in stocks. Every penny we made is to pay the bills and take care of the families, put clothes on the back and roof overhead.”

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Trump, however, said that if Biden gets hold of the economy, it will collapse and ruin the lives of many Americans.

“If you want to have your 401(k) go down like to Depression levels, I think you should vote for Sleepy Joe, because he’s going to raise your interest,” Trump said recently.

In an Op-Ed for The Hill, Liz Peek, a former partner at the firm Wertheim & Co., said Democratic doom and gloom is out of step with reality.

“Democrats are banking on high unemployment and a weak economy to torpedo President Trump’s reelection chances. That increasingly looks like a risky bet. Not only is the country recovering from the pandemic faster than expected, but a plurality of Americans credit the president’s policies for the snap-back,” she wrote.

“Much to economists’ surprise and Democrats’ dismay, the recovery looks like a ‘V.’ The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDP Now series projects third quarter GDP growth at 31.7 percent; that’s up from 12 percent at the end of July.”

In words written before the latest report on wealth, Peek noted that “many families have seen their net worth expand due to a rising stock market and higher home prices. Not only have increased share prices boosted Americans’ portfolios and retirement plans, they have also signaled optimism about the recovery.”

“Optimism that Democrats and the Biden campaign have tried diligently to suppress,” she added.

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