Americans are discontented because the majority of us are poorer than we were 15 years ago.
The exception consists of the 10 percent minority who had the most to begin with.
Your net worth is what you own minus what you owe, and Americans in all but the highest income brackets owe more than they did 15 years ago.
That’s especially true of a middle class person who has a home mortgage, is making car payments and is paying off a student loan.
Declining net worth means that a majority of Americans have less of a cushion if something drastic goes wrong in their lives—a layoff, a factory closing, a business downsizing. It’s no wonder that voters turn to candidates who say they can do something about this.
Declining net worth means that sensible Americans are ceasing to go into debt to buy things they don’t really need. This means trouble for a free market capitalist economy that depends on continual growth in consumer demand to fuel economic growth. It’s no wonder that so many younger Americans are beginning to have doubts about whether capitalism works.