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The Rich Are Cheering Wall Street's Latest Records. Americans of Modest Means Are Draining 401(k)s.

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/11/27/rich-are-cheering-wall-streets-latest-records-americans-modest-means-are-draining


I have seen videos of vehicles amassed in lines at food banks and contemplated what about those folks who cannot afford a car? Reading this article makes me think about those who do not have access to a 401(k) or similar instrument. Piketty’s (2014) Capital in the Twenty-First Century really got me pissed. There is far too much inequality in the world. Bernie is right, there should be no billionaires. AOC is right, it is the system that must be fixed. Viva Progress!


People I know, and friends of mine have little or no experience with “the market”. I was a commodity compliance office for several years, and previously worked for Merrill Lynch before they were almost knocked out during the 2008/2009 financial meltdown. While there were once may TV ads touting various brokerage firms, most are now for online companies touting all of their online services. These spots are mostly aimed at day traders, not investors.

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Good explanation of the reality of this insane human created nightmare of “Wall Street” and “stocks”.

Can you imagine if people cared as much about how many monarchs there are this year vs. how high the stock market is? Or whales? Or bees? Or how many healthy coral reefs still exist?

I can’t.

As philosopher Slavoj Žižek said: " it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism."

How long will this destructive charade of toxic smoke and jagged mirrors hold up?

How long do we have before it all crashes down?

I do not see anything close to levels of action being taken that will stop perpetual grow on a finite planet commensurate with the ever increasing breakdown of earth’s life support systems.

In fact I see for the most part (on this cyber Black Friday) just the opposite.

Not seeing enough people moving away from consumerism/ objectification toward reverence for/protection of nonhuman life forms on earth.


The fundamental problem is brutally simple: our world system is based on the premise of perpetual growth in consumption, which puts it on a collision course with the natural world.

However, the only thing that will truly avert collapse will be a radical restructuring of the economic system that is driving us ever more rapidly to that precipice.

This will only come about when enough of us are ready to jettison the consumer values that pervasive mainstream culture foists on us. In their place, we need to find other sources for meaning in our lives: growing the quality of our experiences rather than our consumption, building our communities together, and reconnecting with the natural world.


Something from the UK perspective on much the same topic

When the finance industry gets into trouble, it pleads that it is funding ordinary people’s retirements. It isn’t true. Pensioners are a useful defence in the City’s fight to preserve its privileges. Unwittingly they are wheeled out as human shields by the finance industry, and increasingly major corporations, to serve and protect probably the most powerful interests in the UK.

Individual shareholders own just 13.5% of the London stock market. UK pension funds own 2.4% and insurance companies, which could be said to be investing on behalf of pension savers, account for a further 4%. Collectively, that is less than a fifth of the market. The largest slice is held by overseas investors, who own 55%.


It would be so much better if the market were tanking, people were being forced to sell their 401k’s at much lower prices and being hit with huge fines and taxes and businesses were having mass layoffs because of a recession.

How obvious does it have to be, fgs?

Actually, this may be the best time there ever has been to sell your stocks. Talk about “unsustainable …”

and everyone else is falling into abject poverty-homelessness, and starvation–all while the capitalists rake in Billions in new wealth off the pain and suffering of the American people

Raking in billions from a tanking market. Right.

capitalists make money whether the market is going up or down–only the institutional money gets the shaft if the market goes down–that is everyone who is not a capitalist(making money on capital) and just a worker with a pension invested in the market–those are the ones taking it in the rear when the market fails

Yes, thanks Carol. I’ve read many of his books and very much value all Derrick Jensen offers through books, videos, speaking engagements. For a time (many years ago) had him on as a guest for the Community Radio station where I volunteered. He was generous and gracious with his time!

First discovery of D.J. was A Language Older Than Words and What We Leave Behind

I follow his Deep Green Videos too—

Deep Green Video
Deep Green with Derrick Jensen is a collection of short videos that include excerpts from written works, full essays, and answers to specific questions

The CARES Act reversed or reduced poverty, I’ve read, and that’s because $600 per week also translates to $31,200 per year, and half of U.S. workers earn less than $34,248 in wages – that’s 84.6 million workers, half of all who submitted W2 forms, who earn less than the median wage income in 2019 , $34,248 (see the 2019 Social Security Ad. report on wage income: ~https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2019~) The average wage income for the lower 84.6 million workers is on average just $15,673 per year. (You can add the total income and divide by workers) That’s just above the poverty line, and just above the minimum wage income for year-round and full-time work. ($7.25 times 2080 hours is $15,080) – The issue is complicated, and it suffices to say that a good many, perhaps a third of households and citizens are facing an extremely tight year. In 2018 the Fed published a report on liquid savings and “quasi-liquid” savings, the “quasi” referred to 401(k) savings accounts, and the conclusion stated, " Furthermore, while financial planners often recommend having a liquid savings cushion of at least 3 months of expenses, we find that about 60 percent of families do not satisfy this rule of thumb, including most married families with children and even many high income families." Three months of savings. The CARES Act ran out just about 4 months ago, August 1. — Fed report: (~https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/notes/feds-notes/assessing-families-liquid-savings-using-the-survey-of-consumer-finances-20181119.htm~) Common Dreams does not allow links, so I camouflaged the link. There’s another source that shows how desperate people are, that’s the U.S. Census’ Weekly Pulse report, Food Table 3b, week ending Nov. 9, shows that about 45% of those queried worried a lot, several times a week, almost every day, and every day. Worry, worry, worry – about half of the nation. And about 1/4 failed to respond! These Household Pulse reports are difficult to read! But that sounds about right, almost half, maybe about three quarters. Those who live paycheck to paycheck, about three quarters. What a sick economy.