The Federal Reserve released a study this week showing that Americans' net worth fell dramatically between 2007-10. However, while reporting on the study, Fox News hosts falsely claimed the decline occurred during the "last three years," even though it's clear the decline began two years before President Obama took office.
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Fed: American Families' Net Worth Declined Nearly 40 Percent From 2007-10
Federal Reserve: "Median Net Worth Fell 38.8 Percent ... Between 2007 And 2010." From the Federal Reserve's June 12 bulletin:
The Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) for 2010 provides insights into changes in family income and net worth since the 2007 survey.1 The survey shows that, over the 2007-10 period, the median value of real (inflation-adjusted) family income before taxes fell 7.7 percent; median income had also fallen slightly in the preceding three-year period (figure 1).
The decreases in family income over the 2007−10 period were substantially smaller than the declines in both median and mean net worth; overall, median net worth fell 38.8 percent, and the mean fell 14.7 percent (figure 2).Median net worth fell for most groups between 2007 and 2010, and the decline in the median was almost always larger than the decline in the mean. The exceptions to this pattern in the medians and means are seen in the highest 10 percent of the distributions of income and net worth, where changes in the median were relatively muted. Although declines in the values of financial assets or business were important factors for some families, the decreases in median net worth appear to have been driven most strongly by a broad collapse in house prices. [Federal Reserve Bulletin, June 2012]
Fox Hosts Falsely Claimed Study Shows Net Worth Declined During "Last Three Years"
Patti Ann Browne: Fed Study Shows Net Worth "Down A Whopping 40 Percent In Just The Past Three Years." Fox host Patti Ann Browne said of the Fed report: "A stunning new report finds that Americans' average net worth is down a whopping 40 percent in just the past three years." Graphics aired during the segment correctly noted that the decline occurred between 2007 and 2010. [Fox News, Fox & Friends First, 6/12/12]
Steve Doocy: "Over The Last Three Years, The Net Worth Of The Average American Family Has Fallen 40 Percent." During an interview with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said: "It was a jaw-dropping statistic that was flashed across the country yesterday. The Federal Reserve has figured out that over the last three years, the net worth of the average American family has fallen 40 percent, over three years." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/12/12]
Sean Hannity: "If We Lost In The Last Three Years 39 Percent Of Our Wealth ... What Does That Mean In Eight Years Of Obama?" On his radio show, Fox host Sean Hannity said: "I can't imagine four more years. If we lost in the last three years 39 percent of our wealth -- family wealth has dropped 39 percent -- what does that mean in eight years of Obama? Eighty percent?" [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 6/12/12]