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The Dow Is Up But the 99 Percent Are Down

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Last week’s headlines highlighted record prices for the Dow Jones stock market average. But who really wins when stock prices soar?

The biggest American winner was Rupert Murdoch, the boss of right-wing Fox News and a global media empire. He made $214.81 million in a single day, according to Forbes magazine. Mexican magnate Carlos Slim did better still, with a staggering $1.09 billion one-day increase in [his] wealth. They, plus the other 98 individuals on Bloomberg’s list of the world’s wealthiest people, made $28.7 billion in a single day.

But what about us? Here are some of the hard economic facts that really matter to the 99 Percent:

  • Nearly half of Americans earned absolutely nothing when stock priced soared, because they have no investments in the stock market, no mutual funds, no stock-market based retirement accounts.
  • The wages we depend on have fallen to a 40-year low.
  • Median family income has fallen by eight percent, to about $50,000, since 2007.
  • The number of Americans forced to rely on food stamps nearly doubled in the recession, to 46 million.

So how much of our nation’s wealth do the super wealthy control? The One Percent now control over one-third of America’s net worth. As a result, the U.S. has the biggest gap between rich and poor of any developed nation.

(Steve Askin is Research Director for Good Jobs LA, where his post first appeared. Republished with permission.)

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