Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday called the breadth and depth of inequality in America a serious problem that strikes at the core of the country's social and economic values. She made her case through a series of jaw-dropping charts that she hopes will provide "a factual basis for further discussion."
The floor is open.
What Yellen had to say on the big picture: "The past few decades of widening inequality can be summed up as significant income and wealth gains for those at the very top and stagnant living standards for the majority."
What Yellen had to say about housing: While "all three [income] groups saw proportionally similar increases and subsequent declines in home prices from 1989 to 2013, the effects on net worth were greater for those in the bottom half of households by wealth. Foreclosures and the dramatic fall in house prices affected many of these families severely, pushing them well down the wealth distribution.
"Fortunately, rebounding housing prices in 2013 and 2014 have restored a good deal of the loss in housing wealth, with the largest gains for those toward the bottom."
What Yellen had to say about college: "Higher education has been and remains a potent source of economic opportunity in America, but I fear the large and growing burden of paying for it may make it harder for many young people to take advantage of the opportunity higher education offers."
What Yellen had to say about entrepreneurship: "A slowdown in business formation may threaten what I believe likely has been a significant source of economic opportunity for many families below the very top in income and wealth."
What Yellen had to say about family wealth: "It is likely that large inheritances play a role in ... fairly limited intergenerational mobility ... But inheritances are also common among households below the top of the wealth distribution and sizable enough that I believe they may well play a role in helping these families economically."