Wall Street vs. Main Street
Junious Ricardo Stanton
“In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in relatively few hands. As of 2013, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 36.7% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 52.2%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 89%, leaving only 11% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.8%.” Power in America Wealth, Income and Power by G. William Domhoff
Every day the corporate news has a segment on the US stock market noting the Dow Jones Industrial and Standard and Poor’s fluctuations and they make it seem like what happens on Wall Street is indicative of the US economy and that ordinary viewers have a stake in what occurs on Wall Street, it’s not and they don’t. Relatively few Americans own stocks and bonds compared to the .001% who own most of the country’s wealth. “In terms of types of financial wealth, in 2013 the top one percent of households had 49.8% of all privately held stock, 54.7% of financial securities, and 62.8% of business equity. The top ten percent had 84% to 94% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and almost 80% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America; see Table 3 and Figure 2 for the details. The only category which is not skewed severely toward the upper class is debt.” Power in America Wealth Income and Power- G. William Domhoff https://whorulesamerica.ucsc.edu/power/wealth.html
The class divide in the US is wider now than at anytime since the “gilded age”, the latter part of the nineteenth and first quarter of the twentieth centuries. Sadly the gap is widening daily. The United States is experiencing income and wealth inequality that mirror many banana republics.
Despite the coronavirus disruption the super rich are doing just fine, thank you very much. They are getting richer all the time. “The United States is on the brink of the worst economic collapse since the Hoover administration. Corporate profits have crumpled. More than a million Americans have contracted the coronavirus, and hundreds are dying each day. There is no turnaround in sight. Yet stocks keep climbing. Even as 20.5 million people lost their jobs in April, the S&P 500 stock index logged its best month in 33 years. After a few weeks of wild swings, the market is down a mere 9.3 percent this year and 13.5 percent from its peak — what most investors would consider a correction.” Repeat After Me the Markets Are Not the Economy https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/10/business/stock-market-economy-coronavirus.html
The corporate and monopoly social media (Facebook, Google, Twitter etc) rarely address wealth inequity. Instead they trumpet how well the economy is doing, yes for their owners and shareholders it is doing well, meanwhile the rest of us scramble for the crumbs from their tables. Real wealth is not a salaried position or income from a paycheck. Real wealth is ownership of real estate, stocks, bonds and income from dividends and interest. “In the last twenty years, the overall wealth pie has grown, but virtually all the new growth in wealth has gone to the richest 1 percent of the population. In 1976 the wealthiest 1 percent of the population owned 20 percent of all private wealth. The top 10 percent of the population owned about 50 percent of all private wealth. By 2001, the richest 1 percent’s share had increased to over 33 percent of all household financial wealth increasing the top 20 percent’s share to 84.4 percent. The top 1 percent of households now has more wealth than the entire bottom 95 percent.” Economic Apartheid in America A Primer of Economic Inequality and Insecurity by Chuck Collins and Felice Yeskel with United for a Fair Economy and Class Action page 51.
When Donald Trump talks about the greatest economy in the world he is not talking about the economy most of us are familiar with. He is talking about the ownership class who wields the wealth and power in the country because they pay to lobby public officials to pass legislation and set policies favorable to them and their socio-economic interests.
This is why the recent CARES ACT passed overwhelmingly by both Republicans and Democrats favors the rich, gave billions to Wall Street, the hedge funds and the Financial, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) segment of the economy while short changing small and medium sized businesses. This is why the three trillion dollar “stimulus bill” being put forth by the Democrats will not see the light of day in the US Senate.
The enormous loss of tax revenue due to the economic crash being blamed on the coronavirus means state and local governments will have to cut services lay off personnel and reorder priorities. Many will face default and bankruptcy. The quality of life and social safety nets will be greatly affected. https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/491503-far-worse-to-come-covid-19-collapse-of-state-and-local-governments Don’t ever think Wall Street reflects the state and status of Main Street, it doesn’t.
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