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Americans saw wealth plummet 40 percent, government spending up 14%

The Federal Reserve said the median net worth of families plunged by 39 percent in just three years, from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010. That puts Americans roughly on par with where they were in 1992.

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State spending: Despite the deep recession and the slow recovery, annual state spending overall hasn't dropped once. In fact, by fiscal 2011, total outlays at the state level were 14% higher than they were in 2008, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. (See nearby chart.)