On Tuesday, November 24, the New York Stock market closed at 30,000 points, setting a record. (https://www.nbcnews.com/business/markets/dow-hits-30-000-start-transition-biden-prospect-yellen-treasury-n1247399) As a working person and Labor activist, I must raise the questions “And? and “So?” .
What does the Stock Market really mean? What does it really reflect? Does it do any good for the millions of American workers who have no work, and thus no income to feed their families, pay their utilities and mortgages, have to go to foodbanks to attain food, and worry about medical expenses, especially around the COIVD pandemic? Does it benefit people who have no homes, or battered women who need a place of refuge from their abusers? Or people dealing with opioid addiction?
The Stock Market is only good for the billionaires who hold stock in companies, and contribute little else to a company’s development, who do no work on the shop floor, who do no research and development. Yes THESE are the people our economic policy, for five decades and both parties, have sought to benefit. Productivity has increased for decades, but wages have either shown no growth or have fallen.
In the upcoming Biden administration, economic policy must focus on the benefit of working and low-income people, who actually manufacture, transport, and sell the goods we purchase, and who spend their money on local stores in their neighborhoods. This would include a national minimum wage of $15.00 an hour, a national health care system-yes, “Medicare For ALL!”- and a strategy, worthy of the New Deal, for upgrading our nation’s infrastructure-roads, bridges, airports, sea ports, railways, electric power grids, and the internet-and a “green jobs” program, to shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, and would employ more workers then carbon-based fuels do now.
That is what we must demand from the Biden administration, because that is what we deserve. We, and not he stock market, and the true measure of the nation’s economy.