Published in partnership with Shadowproof.
The famous United States stock index known as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (or simply the Dow) flirted with approaching a historic high of 20,000. The index, which shows how the largest 30 companies publicly traded in the U.S. are performing, is considered a key indicator of how well U.S. business is doing.
On September 29th, 2008, the Dow crashed a historic 777.68 points in intra-day trading and would go on to reach its bottom of 6,594.44 on March 5, 2009.
The recovery of the Dow and the stock market has been great for the top one percent of Americans, who roughly own 36 percent of all private wealth. And, although roughly 35 percent of the general U.S. population owns securities through a retirement fund, their individual ownership share is minuscule to the point of irrelevance.
So, the rich have genuinely and thoroughly recovered from the crash of 2008. But what about everyone else?
* 93 percent of U.S. counties haven’t recovered from the Great Recession according to the National Association of Counties.
* According to Pew, the middle class is now no longer the majority in America.
* The “recovery gap” has more than 50 million Americans living in economically distressed regions plagued by high levels of unemployment, poverty and fiscal anxiety.
* Nearly 95 percent of all new jobs under President Barack Obama were part-time, or contract, which pay less and are precarious.
* Due to unprecedented and often illegal home foreclosures by banks, the wealth gap between whites and blacks grew during the era of Obama.
* 63 percent of Americans do not have enough savings to cover an unforeseen $500 bill.
The only serious counterargument to this narrative is to note many of these trends preceded the Great Recession. That is sadly true.
Workers have seen stagnant wages for decades and a decreasing share of income and wealth. As the Institute for Policy Studies notes, between 1983 and 2009, over 40 percent of all wealth gains flowed to the 1 percent and 82 percent of wealth gains went to the top 5 percent.
President Obama said in 2013 that economic inequality was “the defining issue of our time.” If so, Obama largely failed to do anything meaningful to address this issue.