Wall Street, home to a collection of timid monied kittens, is fearful of what Larry Summers may bring when he becomes the new Fed chairman. Restoring prosperity to the middle class is reportedly Summers' top priority. See? Nothing to worry about, Wall Street. That's pure fantasy.
The post-recession "recovery" has been in full swing for years now. Wall Street is back to being overpaid. Real estate is back to being too expensive for you to afford. Still, the financial tide appears to have come in and gone out and left behind the middle class, floundering and gasping on the sand like a bunch of, you know, flounders. (Impoverished flounders.) For those unlucky enough not to find new jobs after the recession, the outlook is bleak. From the Wall Street Journal:
But the recovery isn't reaching many of the most vulnerable. For those without a high-school diploma, the unemployment rate in July was 11%. For African-Americans, it was 12.6%. For teenagers, 23.7%. Even more worrisome to economists are signs of a bifurcation in the labor market: For those unemployed less than six months, the odds of finding a job have improved steadily over the past year; the long-term unemployed have made almost no progress at all.
It's a two-faced economy, and everyone caught staring at the bad side will probably need a lot more help than a fella like Larry Summers can provide. The Baby Boomers will, by and large, be okay; for just about every other demographic, retirement appears to be a dicey proposition, at best. Pensions are dying. Organized labor is too weak to provide a dependable solution. If you—a member of the fabled and dying "middle class"—missed the recovery and all of its stock market-invigorating glory, I don't know what to tell you. Except that, as always, black people are getting it worse than you are:
For blacks in the U.S., 18 years of economic progress has vanished, with a rebound in housing slipping further out of reach and the unemployment rate almost twice that of whites. The homeownership rate for blacks fell from 50 percent during the housing bubble to 43 percent in the second quarter, the lowest since 1995. The rate for whites stopped falling two years ago, settling at about 73 percent, only 3 percentage points below the 2004 peak, according to the Census Bureau.
Good luck waiting for Larry Summers to solve your problems, America. Take heart in the fact that you won't even notice the next bubble popping, because you never recovered from the last bubble popping.
In the meantime, try stealing from Best Buy.
[Photo of a house made of metaphors: AP]