The economic system is broken for most of us – News – Canton Daily Ledger – Canton, IL

The stock market surged last week, with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 both hitting record highs and the Dow Jones Industrial Average still exceeding 29,000 per month after breaking that level for the first time.

By a river, a scorpion that can’t swim asks a frog to carry it across a river on the frog’s back. The frog stops because he is afraid that the scorpion will sting him. But the scorpion convinces him that if that happened they would both drown, so the frog agrees. Halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog anyway, damning them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung him despite certain death, and the scorpion says, “I couldn’t stop; that’s my nature.

The stock market surged last week, with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 both hitting record highs and the Dow Jones Industrial Average still exceeding 29,000 per month after breaking that level for the first time.

This meant big gains on Wall Street gains but little on Main Street.

Businesses and Trump’s Republican Party boast that such performance shows prosperity, but the economy is not working for most of us. In fact, it has become so obvious and threatening that the wealthiest businessmen in the country are publicly voicing their concerns.

This month’s federal economic report also showed mixed news, with 225,000 new jobs but 139,000 new unemployed Americans, plus a gain of 44,000 construction jobs (thanks to warm January weather) but a loss of 12 000 jobs in manufacturing, nominal earnings increasing 3.1% from a year earlier, but not adjusted for cost of living.

The real story: About 10% of Americans own 85% of all company shares. The economy is broken for most of us.

“Far from representing a ‘blue collar boom’ as the President said in his State of the Union address – real, inflation-adjusted data shows that most American workers do not not benefited from economic growth, ”said David Salkever, of the University of Maryland. professor emeritus of public policy.

Economist Thomas Palley, author of “Financialization: The Economics of Finance Capital Domination,” agreed, saying Wall Street does not show economic health.

“Our reliance on stock price inflation is politically and economically toxic,” he said. “It is rooted in an illusion promoted by Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and mainstream economists that confuses the stock market with shared prosperity. A stock market boom is not the basis for shared prosperity.

“While each new boom improves, it does not recover the previous damage done to income distribution and shared prosperity,” Palley continued. “Now this cycle is in full swing again, blurring the understanding of the economic problem and giving voters a reason not to rock the boat for fear of losing what little they have.”

Marjorie Kelly, co-author of “The Making of a Democratic Economy,” said in January: “Actually, there are really two economies. Forty-five percent of jobs today are precarious. These are part-time, contract, “uberized” jobs and wages have stagnated for decades. “

Now even the titans of capital are conceding problems, from Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and Larry Fink of BlackRock to the Business Roundtable (BR). Writing for BR – the nation’s leading lobby for more than 180 large corporations – Alex Gorsky said that companies’ fundamental commitment should not be exclusively to maximize shareholder value, but to benefit workers, suppliers, customers and communities, and reduce inequalities and protect the environment.

“While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose,” said his statement, “we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders.”

Similar corporate voices agree: PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates billionaire investment co-chair, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

But perhaps the best of “capitalist activists” is Peter Georgescu in his book “Capitalists Arise! There, he notes that after the 1970s, stakeholder capitalism in the service of customers, workers, shareholders and society surrendered to short-term, shareholder-only capitalism. Profits have skyrocketed – at the expense of everything else.

However, the business elites seem to just want to change the system, and one wonders if companies will really change policies and actions on workers’ rights, the influence of money in politics, monopoly power, etc.

It is unwise to expect a benevolent billionaire to come to the rescue of cities, households and hollowed out wallets, says a union leader who used another animal comparison to react to surprise corporate reformers, but with an unsurprising recommendation: get organized.

“Trusting companies to hold themselves accountable is like trusting the fox to keep the chicken coop,” said Communications Workers of America vice president Richard Honeycutt. “The real responsibility comes from the workers who come together to fight for fairness, respect and dignity for themselves and their communities. “

Bill Knight has been a journalist, editor and columnist for over 50 years. Also an author, Knight is Emeritus Professor of Journalism at WIU, where he taught for over 20 years. Contact him at [email protected]; for archives, go to

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