Where Does The "Wealth Effect" Go?

The Bernank confirmed, in almost perfect hypocrisy to his previous implied comments, that the Fed is not targeting some asset price appreciation but no matter which way you look at it – the ‘wealth’ effect is an easy concept to comprehend as levered unrealized gains are seen as disposable income. However, as we have pointed out many times, the ‘wealth’ effect only helps an already wealthy few and as BofAML notes today, spending across income groups is extremely disparate reflecting the ‘spending gap’ in our aggregately stimulated economy. It is quite intuitive that those with more income will be able to spend more. The top 20% of the income distribution make up nearly 40% of total consumer spending. The spending gap is the most extreme for apparel and services and the least for healthcare and food. Lower income households, unsurprisingly, allocate a larger share of their budget toward necessary items. When will the trickle begin…


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