Decades of deregulation allowed reckless and greedy Wall Street banks and financiers to capsize the global economy in 2008. The consequences of their actions, the Great Recession they caused, and the limitations and failures of the public policy response was long-lasting economic pain for most people — and for people of color to an even greater extent — with rising unemployment and poverty and a loss of household wealth, income, and homeownership.
The following charts show those losses for most families as well as the fact that the very richest recovered more quickly and have captured the lion’s share of the economic gains over the past 10 years. Big banks and wealthy investors have been able to seize a greater share of U.S. income and wealth at the expense of middle- and lower-income families.
The Great Recession and the slow recovery reinforced the economic racism that makes it harder for people of color to get ahead. Black and Latinx families faced a protracted economic downturn that was more severe than for average white families. Even a decade later, Black families have not recovered from the economic losses and Latinx families are barely ahead of where they were in 2008. The richest 1 percent of families saw their incomes rise by 27 percent and bank profits rebounded nearly 800 percent over the past decade.