Jonathan Klate: Takes issue with president on stock market

  • jacoblund

Thursday, March 08, 2018
Takes issue with president about stock market

President Donald Trump recently proclaimed, as he often does with self-congratulatory delight, that the stock market is at an all-time high, supposing this is good news for everyone.

Of course, this stock market escalation began under the previous administration and is in significant measure due to policies promoted by Barack Obama. But I am not writing to praise Obama for the skying stock market any more than Trump.

A White House official this week said that the stock market gains “mean more money in the pocket of everyday citizens.” Just, no.

Oh, if you are among the 40 percent of Americans who have at least a little money in the market, chances are you have seen its value appreciate recently. Congratulations.

Of course, 60 percent of us own no stock at all. And what is more, the richest 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of the entire value of the stock market.

The president has also trumpeted that a big reason for the soaring Dow Jones industrial average is the recently passed tax reform package giving billions of dollars corporations. We’re supposed to get the idea that these companies are using that money to build factories and stores, hire workers, and pay them more. If only.

What’s really going on is that corporations getting this windfall are using it pay dividends to investors — that 1 percent again — and buy their own stock, thereby driving up its price.

Meanwhile, the federal deficit is skyrocketing, yielding a clamor to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit the 60 percent who have nothing in the market. This is a direct payout from the public treasury into the pockets of already profitable corporations and wealthy investors, a transfer of wealth from the have-nots to the haves. And it is deliberate.

So, the next time we hear the president gleefully boast about how the stock market is at an all-time high and the tax cuts helped push this, here is a translator phrase to substitute that expresses what this really means: “The rich are getting richer while most folks are getting poorer and losing the minimal protections they depend upon for survival.”

Jonathan Klate