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Democracy Now! (6 am) - July 3, 2013 at 6:00am

Democracy Now! (6 am), for July 3, 2013 - 6:00am

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Democracy Now!

Sharif Abdel Kouddous: As Morsi-Army Showdown Grips Egypt, Protesters Reject Authoritarian Rule; Novelist Ahdaf Soueif: By Ignoring Egypt’s Majority, Morsi Begat the Uprising Against His Rule; Failure to Stop Doubling of Student Loan Rates Sparks Call to Tackle "Systemic" Debt Crisis.


Headlines
July 3, 2013

    Morsi Rejects Army Ultimatum as Deadline Nears
    U.S. Drone Strike Kills 17 in Pakistan
    Bolivian Plane Grounded, Searched in Austria over Snowden Rumors
    Kerry, Lavrov Discuss Snowden at Brunei Summit
    Ecuador: Listening Device Found in London Embassy
    45 Killed in Iraq Bombings
    Activists Say Dozens Killed in Syria; U.S., Russia Remain Apart on Peace Conference
    White House Delays Key Obamacare Requirement for Employers
    Arizona Fire Partially Contained; Mourners Honor Dead Firefighters
    Service Workers Stage One-Day Strike in D.C.
    Anti-Bank Protester Acquitted for Chalk Slogans in San Diego; Activist Detained in Pennsylvania
    Study: Pilotless Drones Kill 10 Times More Civilians in Afghanistan
    Military Prosecutors Wrap Case Against Bradley Manning With Closed Testimony

 

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. And the house is taking

. And the house is taking care of it. An iaisenrcng number of retirees may be starting to follow the Weiners' example. New data released yesterday from the Federal Reserve shows that for the elderly, like Americans in general, housing wealth has soared even as other forms of savings have declined. The Fed's latest survey of consumer finance showed that overall wealth increased very little for most American families from 2001 to 2004. For the typical American household, net worth — the sum of all assets less debts — barely increased, to $93,100 from $91,700. Their savings dropped by 23 percent while the value of their homes rose 22 percent.For retirees, this shifting financial status is likely to force many of them into a decision no other generation has faced: to use their home as the centerpiece of their retirement plan.Americans have not traditionally used their homes to finance retirement, choosing instead to pay down the mortgage and bequeath the house to their children. But the iaisenrcng wealth that has concentrated in homes during the boom of the last decade, compared with dwindling pension benefits and lackluster market returns, means that many retirees are finding that their largest source of additional income could come, in fact, from their homes. People are living longer and longer, so over time they're going to be draining their retirement accounts, said Gillette Edmunds, an investor and author, with Jim Keene, of Retire on the House: Using Real Estate to Secure Your Retirement (John Wiley & Sons: 2005.) The only thing they are not draining yet is their houses, Mr. Edmunds said, and that's what they're going to have to turn to. The Fed's 2004 survey, released yesterday, painted a precarious tableau of retirement planning.Just under half of all families held retirement accounts in 2004, down from 52.2 percent in 2001, the date of the previous survey. The stock market has rebounded from its low in 2002, but the Fed's survey illustrates the lingering damage inflicted by the stock market collapse and the 2001 recession on Americans' net worth. At the same time, it underscores how the surge in housing prices has propped up otherwise shaky balance sheets, even as housing prices in some markets appear to have peaked.The typical family's savings — either in retirement accounts or elsewhere — fell to $23,000, almost $7,000 less than three years earlier. Meanwhile, the median indebtedness of the three out of four families who had some form of debt rose by a third, to $55,300.The erosion of savings affected the wealthy and the poor alike. The savings of people at the top 10 percent of the income scale declined by 6 percent, to $365,100; their income, on average, fell by about the same proportion. (Meanwhile, the typical American's income rose marginally.)The financial picture is particularly unsettling for those households headed by a retired person. The typical savings of such a family fell to $26,500 in 2004, from $34,400 in 2001. Everybody is having a terrible time, said Alicia Munnell, who heads the retirement research center at Boston College. Nobody is enjoying much in terms of growth in net worth. No one has enough to support themselves in retirement for 20 years. According to calculations by Ms. Munnell, even the group aged between 55 and 64 — the only age category to increase savings in the last three years — has only amassed a small fraction of what people need to maintain their lifestyle in retirement. Home prices provided pretty much the only upbeat news. Just over 69 percent of Americans owned their own homes in 2004, according to the Fed data. The median value of their homes jumped to $160,000 in 2004 from $131,000 three years before, a rise of 22 percent.Among households headed by retirees, nearly 76 percent owned their homes in 2004. The median value of their homes also jumped 22 percent, to $130,000, compared with $106,500 in 2001.

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