The Wealth Effect: Big Spending Draws Attention as Poor Struggle
Former Pink Floyd musician David Gilmour sold his guitar collection last month for $21.5 million at an auction to raise money for needy organizations. The collection included his well-known "Black Strat" Fender Stratocaster. It was sold for nearly $4 million to the owner of a U.S. National Football League team.
The sale set a musical instrument record. It came just a few weeks after the company Sotheby's sold "Meules," a painting by Claude Monet, for $110 million: a record price for an Impressionist painting.
And it is not just instruments and paintings that are being bought by rich people around the world.
US in longest economic expansion
The longest U.S. economic expansion in history has brought news of big spending. It also has raised concerns about the distance between the rich and everyone else. For some people, the high price of some goods is a sign of too much wealth.
The bank UBS says the number of billionaires in the United States has increased from 267 in 2008 to 607 in 2018.
"The rich have gotten richer and they've gotten richer faster," said John Mathews. He is the head of Private Wealth Management and Ultra High Net Worth at UBS Global Wealth Management.
But there are signs of problems at lower-income levels. Information from the U.S. central bank suggests that, by 2016, the richest 20 percent of Americans held 88 percent of the country's wealth.
The federal government says that more than 39 million people need to use food assistance programs. That is not as many as the high of over 47 million in 2013. But still, it is up 40 percent from 2008. At the same time, the country's population has only grown about eight percent.
The U.S. economy has expanded a record-setting 121 months. That means the economy has been growing continuously for over ten years.
And it has been more than 10 years since the financial crisis of 2007-2008. At that time, some people worried about the future of the financial system and even of capitalism. As a result, the U.S. government moved quickly to calm markets and lower interest rates after the U.S. housing market collapsed.
But many people are concerned that efforts at that time did little to deal with income and wealth inequality.
The Wealth Effect
Now some worry that high costs and overspending could lead to another kind of financial crisis. The term, the wealth effect, is sometimes used to describe how people spend more freely when they have a lot of money.
The examples of higher prices or values are big and small.
The cost of a dinner at the French Laundry, a popular California restaurant, is up 35% to $325 per person.
The U.S. stock market has gone up more than 200 percent in the last 10 years.
Investor Ken Griffin set a record in January when he bought a home for $238 million near New York's Central Park.
The website StreetEasy.com says rents in New York have risen two times faster than pay from 2010-2017. This can make it hard for lower-income people to find a place to live. U.S. home prices are higher than they were during the financial crisis. The group, Coalition for the Homeless, says the number of people sleeping in shelters is 70% higher than it was 10 years ago.
"The housing opportunity for them is not getting any better," said Carolyn Valli. She is CEO at Central Berkshire Habitat For Humanity, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The organization builds houses for the poor. She said high healthcare costs and a lack of large employers mean fewer jobs in some areas. Food and housing costs remain high.
Some economic policymakers worry that the gains made by low-income people in the last 10 years will be lost.
Employment, however, remains strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the most recent unemployment rate at 3.6 percent for May. That is one of the lowest rates of unemployment in U.S. history.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said recently: "Many people who in the past struggled to stay in the workforce are now getting an opportunity." He added it was important to keep the economic expansion going.
I'm Susan Shand.
1.raise money 筹集资金
There are a hundred and one ways in which you can raise money.
2.economic expansion 经济扩张
Rapid economic expansion transformed Hong Kong from a small port to a major city.
3.healthcare costs 医疗费用
Healthcare costs have been rising at alarming rates for decades.
4.financial crisis 金融危机
We must pull our company out of the financial crisis as soon as possible.
5.Investor Ken Griffin set a record in January when he bought a home for $238 million near New York's Central Park.
set a record 创纪录
She set a record which nobody else can remotely approach.
You trying to set a record?
6.She said high healthcare costs and a lack of large employers mean fewer jobs in some areas.
a lack of 缺乏
I was hampered by a lack of information.
There is a lack of confidence in the government's ability to manage the economy.
上个月，平克·弗洛伊德乐队前乐手大卫·吉尔摩在一场拍卖会上以2150万美元出售了他的吉他藏品，为有需要的组织筹集资金 。这些藏品包括他那把著名的“Black Strat” 芬达初投者吉他 。这把吉他以近400万美元的价格转手给美国国家橄榄球联盟某球队的老板 。
这笔交易创下了乐器交易记录 。数周前，苏富比公司以1.1亿美元的价格拍卖了克劳德·莫奈的作品“梅勒斯”，创下了印象派作品交易记录 。
美国史上持续时间最长的经济扩张带来了这些豪掷千金的新闻 。这也引发了人们对贫富差距的担忧 。对部分人来说，某些商品的天价是财富过剩的标志 。
约翰·马修斯（John Mathews）表示：“富人越来越富，他们的财富积累也越来越快 。”马修斯是瑞士银行全球财富管理（UBS Global Wealth Management）私人财富管理和超高净值业务的负责人 。
但是有迹象表明低收入阶层出现了问题 。据美国中央银行的资料显示，截止2016年，20%最富有的美国人手握美国88%的财富 。
联邦政府表示，超过3900万人需要使用食品补助项目 。这低于2013年超4700万的峰值，但是仍然比2008年高出40% 。与此同时，该国人口仅增长了约8% 。
2007-2008年金融危机已经过去了10多年 。当时，有人担心金融体系乃至资本主义的未来 。结果，在美国房地产市场崩溃后，美国政府迅速采取措施稳定市场并降低利率 。
如今一些人担心，高成本和过度支出可能会导致另一种经济危机 。“财富效应”一词有时被用于描述人们在拥有大量财富时如何更自由地消费 。
StreetEasy.com网站表示，纽约的房租上涨速度是2010-2017年工资的2倍 。这可能会让低收入群体很难寻找安身之处 。美国房价高过了金融危机期间的房价 。“无家可归者联盟”表示，庇护所的过夜人数比10年前增加了70% 。
卡罗林·瓦利（Carolyn Valli）表示：“他们的住房条件没有任何改善 。”瓦利是马萨诸塞州皮茨菲尔德伯克郡中部仁爱之家的首席执行官 。该机构为穷人建造房屋 。她说，高昂的医疗费用和缺乏大型雇主意味着某些地区就业机会减少 。食品和住房成本居高不下 。
然而，就业形势仍然表现强劲 。美国劳工统计局报告称，5月份的最新失业率是3.6%，这是美国历史上失业率最低水平之一 。
美联储主席鲍威尔最近表示：“过去很多失业的人群现在都得到了就业机会 。”他补充说，保持经济扩张非常重要 。