If average U.S. residents have learned anything in the past few years, it’s that news about how the stock market is doing is not a reflection of the real-world economy or general societal well-being. The stock market recovered from early pandemic hits while people continued to lose their jobs or took pay cuts from companies claiming that it was necessary to avoid going under and hundreds of thousands died, with millions more left to struggle with long COVID.
It’s been a great few years for the stock market in general as rent and house prices have continued to skyrocket, energy and food prices have increased, and wages have continued to stagnate far behind that of a decent living almost everywhere in the nation.
New data out of the Federal Reserve on just who is enjoying the benefits of investing in the stock market may help explain why the health of the stock market seems to have become inverse to the health of the people.
These numbers are not actually all that different from pre-pandemic ones when the bottom 90 percent of Americans owned just 12 percent of all stocks. Either way, this disparity shows exactly why the ups and downs of the stock market seem to have no impact on real people anymore — it’s become almost exclusively a playground of the rich.
Another infuriating number is $6.5 trillion, which is the amount of money that the top one percent of wealth hoarders added to their giant cash piles sitting in offshore accounts in “corporate equities and mutual fund wealth” alone. This was while corporations were handing out mass layoffs and cutting pay, claiming that the pandemic was about to bankrupt the company and leave everyone without a job. As usual, it appears this was a lie.
It continues to be this top one percent that owns the vast majority of, well, everything.
Even those who aren’t one percent wealthy but still have enough spare money to even think about the stock market are not making as much money from it as their richer counterparts, buying and selling for quick gains rather than being able to let their cash sit for years and getting more out of these long-term investments.
“The top 1% own a lot of stock, the rest of us own a little,” said Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center senior fellow Steven Rosenthal.
These newer, smaller investors still represent the very top rungs of that bottom 90 percent of Americans, however, with those in the middle and below struggling just to survive as everything continues to get worse year after year. It’s those millions of Americans who are sick to death of hearing about the stock market as though it has any bearing on their lives other than to remind them that people are out there gambling on a mass scale while others have to choose between insulin or heat that week.