- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2014

President Obama may tout a populist message aimed at drawing in the middle class constituent, but by the numbers the economy under his watch has blown big windfalls onto the already rich.

George Walper Jr., president of the consulting and research firm Spectrum Group, said an improved real estate market and solid Wall Street returns have enabled the wealthy to capitalize and fuel their bottom lines to hit the highest levels in years, CNN Money reported. Basically, the wealthy grabbed up properties that were going for cheap prices during the harshest recession years and have now turned them into profitable sales.

“Because of their levels of wealth, they increased their exposure to equities during the downturn and were making investments in real estate when the market was at the bottom,” he said, CNN Monday reported. “That’s why now they’ve benefited the most from the return in the economy.”

The Spectrum Group said specifically that the recent economic gains have brought about the most number of households that report net worths of $5 million or more — and the most number of households to report worths of $25 million or more.

Meanwhile, those of lesser means have been faring well lately, too, the group found.

The number of households in the United States that have seen a net worth of $1 million or more hit at 9.63 million in 2013 — up by 600,000 from 2012, CNN Money reported. The millionaires’ list stood at 6.7 million in 2008 and then rose gradually through the years: An estimated 7.8 million reported net worths of more than $1 million in 2009; about 8.4 million in 2010; then 8.6 million in 2011; and 9 million in 2012, the Spectrum Group reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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