To report on how our economy is doing, media outlets keep a constant eye on the Dow Jones Average. But they’re like cats watching the wrong mouse hole, for the great majority of Americans have between zero and next-to-nothing in the stock market.
The economic measure that matters most to most folks is the Doug Jones Average. The Doug is concerned about such key indicators as the pump price on a gallon of regular, the subprime value of today’s seven-and-a-quarter minimum wage and the impact of global inflationary pressures on the cost of a six-pack.
So, how’re Doug and Dottie Jones doing? Not well, report the number-crunchers at the Federal Reserve. In the latest Survey of Consumer Finances, Fed economists found that from 2007 through 2010, all but the wealthiest 10 percent of American households have been downwardly mobile, with the median net worth of U.S. households tumbling by a startling 39 percent, falling to the lowest level in 20 years.
In short, Americans are not merely feeling poorer — they are. Foreclosures, lost jobs, wage declines and other reductions (combined with rising costs of everything from gasoline to child care) have become the norm, even shoving many proud middle-classers onto food stamp rolls. Yet Washington remains fixated on propping up Wall Street’s moneyed elites.