And right now, 95 percent of the economic growth of our so called recovery is going to the top 1 percent — the very bankers, traders and mortgage moguls who wrecked the economy in the first place. Meanwhile, Wall Street's reckless gambling caused more than 8 million workers to lose their jobs in a matter of months.
Today — five long years after the collapse — we face a sustained unemployment rate higher than anytime since the Great Depression. In addition, housing values have plummeted. For many, the value of their homes has fallen by half. Even with the recent uptick in housing prices, 10.8 million homeowners are still underwater — meaning that their homes are worth less than their mortgages. The total amount of negative equity stands at $805 billion as of October, 2013.
Being underwater is a big, big problem brought to us by Wall Street's predatory profiteering. If you're under water and need to move, you'll still owe the bank after you sell your home (called a short sale). Or you could just walk away from your home and let the bank foreclose, which means you'll lose whatever equity you had and see your credit rating crash. Further, if you're underwater it probably means that you're living in a neighborhood with many foreclosures, which often leads to safety concerns and further downward pressure on the value of your home as well as raising the costs of local policing and sanitation services. And of course, if you lose your job, you are in great danger of losing your home as well.