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Trump touts stock market, but most Americans left out

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on February 5, 2020 - Duration: 02:12s

Trump touts stock market, but most Americans left out

President Trump loves to brag about gains in the U.S. stock market as an indicator of his success, but analysis of who gains when the stock market goes up shows it's mainly the rich who get richer.

Conway G.

Gittens reports.

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Trump touts stock market, but most Americans left out

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Since my election U.S. stock markets have soared." It's one of President Trump's favorite things to crow about: a record-high stock market.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "It is something every country in the world is looking up to." U.S. stocks have surged 55 percent since the day he was electedโ€ฆ But who really is benefitting?

If you say most Americans, you're wrong.

Eighty-four percent of the households participating in the stock market belong to the wealthiest ten percent of the American population, according to analysis of Federal Reserve data done by an NYU professor.

That means when the stock market goes up, the rich are the ones getting richer.

What about the roughly 50 percent of Americans who own stock through a brokerage account, retirement fund or pension?

Don't they benefit?

Yes, they do.

But, according to research on wealth inequality done for the National Bureau of Economic Research, the amount of stock in an ordinary retirement account is so small it hardly moves the financial needle.

And the money in these tax-deferred retirement accounts can't be touched anyway.

Do it before retirement age and there's a penalty.

So, who owns most of the stock market?

According to the St.

Louis Fed, the majority of stock and mutual fund shares are held by investors who are white, college educated and above the age of 54.

If a rising stock market tide doesn't lift all boats... what does?

Housing.

The typical middle-class family gets the bulk of its wealth through home ownership.

But the housing crisis of a decade ago wiped out vast amounts of wealth, and most Americans have yet to recover.

Since the recovery began in the third quarter of 2009 - through 2019 - nearly three-quarters of all the wealth gains went to the richest ten percent of the population, according to analysis by Oxford Economics.

For the bottom fifty percent of Americans?

The gain was only two percent.

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