The Trolling Continues: Fed Chairwoman Expresses Her Condolences To America's Poor

Tyler Durden's picture

As we discussed earlier in the week, Janet Yellen has released a speech this morning explaining how sorry she is about 'the poor' and why they need to get rich. In the speech below, she stresses, "how important it is to promote asset-building, including saving for a rainy day, as protection from the ups and downs of the economy," despite falling incomes, rising costs, and extending credit, we assume she means. The Fed Chairman has some words of encouragement for the tens of millions of Americans who live at or below the poverty level, including that threatened with extinction class, affectionately known as "the middle." Her message? It is important to build assets, or said otherwise...  get rich and she promises to "continue to promote asset-building."

  • *YELLEN SAYS FED WILL `CONTINUE TO PROMOTE ASSET-BUILDING' (count on the Fed to lift prices)

Remember, one of our favorite charts, showing that while the rich hold assets, the poor are merely drowning in ever more debt:

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But don't let that ruin Janet's Utopian dream...

The Importance of Asset Building for Low and Middle Income Households

Thank you for this opportunity to show my support for the work all of you do on asset-building, and to say a few words on this vitally important topic.

The financial crisis and the Great Recession demonstrated, in a dramatic and unmistakable manner, how extraordinarily vulnerable are the large share of American families with very few assets to fall back on. We have come far from the worst moments of the crisis, and the economy continues to improve. But the effects of the recession are still being felt by many families, particularly those that had very little in savings and other assets beforehand.

To help make this point, I'd like to cite a few numbers from the Federal Reserve's 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, published earlier this month. The Survey is conducted every three years and this new edition provides one of the first good looks at how families in different economic circumstances have fared in the recovery.

For lower-income families, what we find is sobering. The median net worth reported by the bottom fifth of households by income was only $6,400 in 2013. Among this group, representing about 25 million American households, many families had no wealth or had negative net worth. The next fifth of households by income had median net worth of just $27,900. These numbers represent declines from 2010. One reason is that income has continued to fall for these families.

Another likely reason for this decline in net worth is the lingering effects of the housing crisis. Home equity accounts for the lion's share of wealth for most families and many of these families have not yet recovered the wealth they lost in the housing crisis. The housing market is improving and housing will remain an important channel for asset building for lower and middle income families. But one of the lessons of the crisis, which will not be news to many of you, is the importance of diversification and especially of possessing savings and other liquid financial assets to fall back in times of economic distress.

Yet for lower and middle income families, financial assets, including 401 (k) plans and pensions, are still a very small share of their assets. According to the 2013 survey, the bottom half of families by income held only 8 percent of all financial assets held by households.

A larger lesson from the financial crisis, of course, is how important it is to promote asset-building, including saving for a rainy day, as protection from the ups and downs of the economy. I surely hope that our nation will not face another crisis anytime soon as severe as the one we recently experienced. But for many lower-income families without assets, the definition of a financial crisis is a month or two without a paycheck, or the advent of a sudden illness or some other unexpected expense. Families with assets to draw on are able to deal with these developments as bumps in the road. Families without these assets can end up, very suddenly, off the road. According to the Board's recent Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking, an unexpected expense of just $400 would prompt the majority of households to borrow money, sell something, or simply not pay at all.

The Federal Reserve's mission is to promote a healthy economy and strong financial system, and that is why we have promoted and will continue to promote asset-building. One way we do this is through the Community Development programs at each of our 12 Reserve Banks, and through the Federal Reserve Board's Division of Consumer and Community Affairs in Washington. As a research institution, and a convener of stakeholders involved in community development, I believe the Fed can help you in carrying out your mission, to encourage families to take the small steps that over time can lead to the accumulation of considerable assets.

Thank you for the chance to be a small part of this conference, and for your commitment to a cause that I strongly support.

Source: Federal Reserve

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As The WSJ notes,

“For many lower-income families without assets, the definition of a financial crisis is a month or two without a paycheck, or the advent of a sudden illness or some other unexpected expense,” Yellen adds...

but still expects them to "save" in the latest Biotech or China IPO?

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Don't forget, "America's Poor Have Never Been Deeper In Debt"...

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venturen's picture

"Saving"? With your ZERO PERCENT INTEREST? Savings is for LOSERS!

Headbanger's picture

What!!??   She's saying DON'T SPEND !!?

And the PTB fear deflation worse than anything now?


mliu_01's picture

How to get rich? ask robinhood.

Divided States of America's picture

If this J-bitch really cared about the poor, then she should have let the poor people into the testimony and let them have a shot at asking questions in the Q&A instead of having Steve 'Full of' Lies-man and HilsenWRAITH hogging up all the prepared questions.


SafelyGraze's picture

"she stresses, "how important it is to promote asset-building""

we're all austrians now


COSMOS's picture

What assets, after paying for school, car insurance, health insurance, food, living expenses etc.  What fucking money does one have to save you little fucking Yellen gnome.  Most people dont steal to build up their asset classes like your wall st cousins you POS.  Its easy to build asset classes when you can print all the money you need to buy them or give the money to your cousins on wall st to buy those corporations with throught their LBOs.  Fucking scum.

max2205's picture

Let's see no interest for all I mean all plus moar goes to the banks for 6 fucking years

Fuck you Janet.....the bats are flying out of your pussy now

toady's picture

Get rich or die tryin!

Seriously though, building assets means 1 thing to the 99%, buying houses.

Bastiat's picture

I own some precious metals and related assets.  I get the feeling that Janet is not helping me get rich at all.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Obamaphone II, coming to an EBT near you.

Matching colors to the FED dollars given to WS Banksters.

Badabing's picture

She's Yellen "save" not spend?
Looks like we're being setup for a revaluation of the dollar!

pelican's picture

Hmmmm.. that sounds really really bad.  So those of us with jobs will be working for the same amount, which is worth less.


I am glad I cleared my 401k out.

RafterManFMJ's picture

When Mexico devalued the Peso by 40%, they increased the loan debt by 40% as well; so the average smuck got it both ways.

Tl/DR: Banks win; you lose.

Spine01's picture

People do what they are incented to do. Sad but true for the average person. She will get what she imcented: Multigenerational profligate behavior.

Why save when you see how the system took all the savings from the fools that saved before?

This happened in otherr nations and its history can be easiky studied. She is only trying to counter it with words, rather than deeds. But words are as free as inneffective in this.

freewolf7's picture

This is code. She's prepping us for the collapse. "I tried to tell you."

PT's picture

How do you send clever people bankrupt?  You allow idiots to borrow money.  The idiots bid prices up to unsustainable levels.  The clever people either compete or they do without.  Either way, everyone loses.  Only the connected survive.

tumblemore's picture

usury = green, folding, heroin

Spine01's picture

Profligacy: You are correct, monetary policy for the last.6 years has strongly encourage profligacy and very strongly discouraged savings and capital formation. This was the main reason I have strongly opposed the means used by the FOMC to save the financial system, the consequencea of their actions will last for generations...

Spastica Rex's picture

The last 6 years?! The "American Dream" morphed into mere profligacy at least 50 years ago.

Remember, Americans: you are only what you own - or rent, as the case may be.

Lordflin's picture

This is the same Fed that orchestrated the stripping of the American middle class of their homes? The same Fed that has watered down their declining wages to the point they are struggling to feed themselves?

Parasites... the whole lot of them... arrogant to boot.

Hal n back's picture

St Louis Fed was critical of the people for "hoarding" money and not spending.


they all have three sides of their mouths.


I like the concept of ending qe while debt goes up 1 trillion in this fy, and we know qe was just to buy treasuries nobody else wanted--now the banks excess reserves of 2.7 tril can be used for that.


wait till rates go up and we have to bail out the banks for underwater mortgages and losses on treasuries held.


already have money out of banks--now have to find a way to avoid being a taxpayer as they wil be doing the heavy lifiting--they already are.

I really wish my unknown dependents would be polite and say think you at least. Even my kids know to say thank you and not clammor for more.


tarsubil's picture

This is vile CYA. Pushing debt while speaking of building assets. If you don't want people to get into debt, how about you stop printing money and charging interest on it?

MATA HAIRY's picture

she and the rest of the Fed banksters are naught but treasonous filth--reverse Robbin' Hoods.

Spine01's picture

The problem is not the bankers but the system. If those bankers were to dissappear they would be replaced by other quicker than you can blink.


Read the book the system of the world, sorry it is 3000 pages, but controlling the world through a multigenerational self adjusting system that preys on human weaknesses is not simple, and neither is it attempting to describe it isimple terms. The good part is that author novelized it enough to make it bearable and even entertaining to read. It includes the middle east european interactions of the 1600 and 1700s.

tumblemore's picture

The banking mafia create the system that suits them by bribing the politicians and buying the media.


Pimp Daddy's picture

Janet Yellen is a MAN! Just look at that face! Gross!

disabledvet's picture

"Taxes are for poor people." No surprise here either...

Mercury's picture
  • *YELLEN SAYS FED WILL `CONTINUE TO PROMOTE ASSET-BUILDING' (count on the Fed to lift prices).


  • Yes, Yellen should promote asset building but change tactics and not continue with the same program (regardless of whether or not it was the right thing to do in the first five minutes of the financial crisis).

    She should argue that market participants should decide where to allocate capital - not the Fed picking which asset prices to boost. 

    Then, advocate for a capital  gains tax rate of 0% for everyone on their first $100k of gains (as is similarly the case already for primary residences in RE).


    If Yellen wants to be remembered as the first great female government leader in US history she should  stop acting like a hidebound old priest protecting existing vested interests over future, more universal prosperity.

    nakki's picture

    Government leader??????????? SHE DOSENT WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT. 

    PT's picture

    Asset Building = "Borrow money and buy real estate and shares and when they go up use the increased valuations to borrow more money and buy more real estate and shares".  It is an open request to indulge in Ponzi Finance.

    NoDebt's picture

    Don't miss the point here, guys.  Think who her audience is.  Not poor people.  They don't know who she is, don't know what the Federal Reserve is, will never read this statement and don't care regardless.

    So who's she writing this for?  And what's the coded message?  Answer that and you will know what this statement is actually about.

    swmnguy's picture

    Please expand on your theory.  I think I "smell what you're cookin'," but I'd like to hear more.

    ShortDebt's picture

    Code for the upcoming crash.

    swmnguy's picture

    That's what I was thinking.  

    I've noticed the pattern in mainstream hive-mind, be it academic, media, official.  Events begin to run counter to the official narrative.  The first people who point this our are labelled as crazy at best, and ignored.  Eventually they can no longer be ignored; then they are vilified.  If they persist, eventually they are paid some attention, if only to point and laugh and emphasize how crazy they are.  If things stay on trend, then "serious" people start to bring up the issue, but only to poo-poo it and dismiss it from consideration. Right before the gap between official reality and real reality becomes too wide to straddle, "serious" people start creating conceptual escape hatches for themselves, allowing that they have been trying to deal with the crisis they have been, up to now, deriding.  Then the crisis hits, and everyone instantly says, "Nobody could have seen this coming."  Within a couple news cycles, the chorus changes to, "We tried and tried and tried to tell you, but you wouldn't listen."

    At no point does anyone give any credit to those who truly did see it coming and really did try to warn everyone.

    This is actually an ancient pattern, but "news cycles" and timing used to take a lot longer than they do now, so it was harder to see happening in real-time, as it happened. 

    Since that's the narrative structure applied to everything else, why not to this.  Makes sense.  When I started seeing Wal-Mart talk about the pernicious effects of income inequality, I knew something was truly up.

    NoDebt's picture

    "reality becomes too wide to straddle, "serious" people start creating conceptual escape hatches for themselves"

    I think there's a big part of that in there.  The "poor people" she's talking to don't exist.  It's a straw man in her mind.  Like a kid talking to their "invisible friend."  Janet doesn't even know any poor people.

    So.... it really says more about what she thinks she can protect.  Stock, bonds- yes (there's always plenty of printer ink to blow another bubble).  Real estate not so much (no stomach for a repeat of the 2008 bail-outs).  Value of the dollar may need to be sacrificed along the way which is why she talks about investing/accumulating assets, not saving.

    I'm not much of an arm chair psychiatrist, but this article was so bizarre I just felt there's no way it could be taken at face value.

    swmnguy's picture

    I'm with you all the way.  When these people start talking about anybody who is outside of their conceptual bubble, it gets so weird so fast it takes a lot of ciphering to decode.

    LawsofPhysics's picture

    privilieged academics and families...  yes, yes...

    same as it ever was (until the supply chains break and we get another "turning")...

    Falconsixone's picture

     My Condolences. Bring Out The Dead!

    forensicator's picture

    @falcon Any reference to Monty Python deserves an up vote

    Zeptemberalevin's picture

    i have question for you Zh'ers: am i crazy to say that Israel was behind 9/11? 

    agstacks's picture

    If i had a printer and the legal authority, I could "build up assets as well"


    Fucking cunt

    CheapBastard's picture


    That's what happens when you issue fraudulent mortgages for overpriced houses to people with no money down, no job and no assets ... people who cannot afford a house to begin with and should learn to save before loading on the heavy responsibility of massive debt, property taxes, maintenance, etc

    BTW, where's Angelo "Orange Face" Mozillo?

    LawsofPhysics's picture


    If e actually allowed the overpriced shit to clear and markets to reset, folks could actually afford to purchase things like houses again...

    Still very much a "mark to fantasy" world...

    Bangalore Equity Trader's picture

    Listen. {open letter to American poor}

    Dear Poor,
    Buy house from USSA hedge fund. Purchase includes free spyPAD. (lol)

    Extra Sincere,

    forensicator's picture

    (American poor), please, please buy our MyRa treasuries