A report in Bloomberg’s online magazine reported on Oct. 8 that the richest 50 Americans are worth as much as the poorest 165 million. They hold almost $2 trillion of the wealth. The top 1% of Americans hold 30.5 percent of the nation’s wealth, which has risen from 23.7 percent since 1989. As an American you have to wonder why our supposedly free market economy is not working for a majority of us. The answer lies partially in a stock market which benefits relatively few citizens of the wealthiest nation on earth.

Meanwhile the president and his administration crow about the recovery of the stock market since the business closures and recession brought about during the pandemic. Although much better than the 14.9% at the peak of pandemic closures, unemployment across the U.S. is still high at 7.9%. Here are some state figures: Pa. – 10.3, N.J. – 2.9, Mass. – 11.3, Calif. – 11.4, and N.Y. – 12.5 percent unemployment. So obviously the fact that the stock market is near record highs belies the fact that many average Americans are still suffering from an economy devastated by COVID.

I work with several folks right here in the Lewisburg area who no longer claim unemployment but are still not fully employed. They work enough so that their weekly income is too high to claim unemployment, but they’re not making as much week to week as they made pre-COVID. Clearly this is a common happenstance. That is, many Americans have stopped claiming unemployment because they are back to work part time. Therefore that seemingly great recovery of employment is a bit of a false statistic. Only 7.9 percent of Americans claim unemployment ... but how many are back to full employment.

The simple fact is the majority of Americans cannot participate in stock market success because they do not have the disposable income which would enable them to invest. Investment in stocks is limited to upper-middle and upper income Americans who are enrolled in 401K programs or have stock options through their employers. Most people in the areas hardest hit by COVID — those in hospitality careers like hotels and restaurants — barely made enough money to invest before the pandemic, now need every cent they make to pay bills. People of color and other minority groups are even more adversely affected than the average American. Not only does COVID kill more black Americans, the post (not really) COVID economy has left them with even a smaller piece of the pie.

The growing, actually immense disparity between the very wealthy and the rest of us says something is not working in the U.S. economy. This administration has railed against the “left” and Democratic initiatives in Congress accusing them of pushing socialism. News flash: Unbridled Capitalism is failing the majority of working Americans. Democratic proposals to increase regulations on big business is not socialism. Regulation does what capitalism, at least here in the U.S., has failed to do — give the bottom half of earners a fighting chance to live a comfortable life. The promise of reduced corporate taxes and increased corporate profits is more and better paying jobs. This promise has not materialized as evidenced by the figures above.

Until Main Street U.S.A. begins to approach the success of Wall Street, the promise of capitalism is an empty one. If big business doesn’t give its workers a decent wage and chance in America, the government has to even the playing field. Again, that’s not socialism. Do not drink the cool aid of the pro-business super PAC’s touting the “recovery” for the Trump administration. It’s a lie. Big business is beholden to their owners, top executives and investors. It cares little about the American worker. This administration is pro-big business and against making America great for the average citizen. On Nov. 3 vote. Vote your wallet which is most likely lighter than it should be due to an administration bent on business success, not your success.

Mike Tischio is a freelance columnist living in Union County. To comment, simply email newsroom@standard-journal.com.

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