Wealth and Savings: Mandel Gets It Half Right

Since I have been on a bit of a tirade per this issue as to whether real wealth has been rapidly increasing, let me recommend a graph from Michael Mandel who writes:

I like to keep track of what I call “real net household wealth”. That is, household net worth, subtracting out federal government debt, and adjusting for inflation. In effect, this measure assumes that households will have to eventually pay back all of the debt, and it accounts for debt owned to foreigners as well. And guess what? This measure hit a new high of $45.3 trillion in second quarter, up 7% over a year earlier, and significantly higher than the boom peak of $44.4 trillion.

This 2% increase since the end of 1999 should be compared to the nearly 5.5% increase in population. In other words, real per capita wealth is still below where it was 5.5 years ago.