The mythical "Dow" versus the real "Doug"

It's a sign that the economy is "healing," exclaims a happy headline. "It signals that things are getting back to normal," says a delighted market analyst. And the New York Times heralded it as "a golden age."

It’s a sign that the economy is “healing,” exclaims a happy headline. “It signals that things are getting back to normal,” says a delighted market analyst. And the New York Times heralded it as “a golden age.”

The “it” they’re hailing is The Dow – that mythical and mystical force said by faithful Dowists to be “The Way” – the provider of good fortune, often by magical means. It’s the Dow Jones industrial average, and this holy measure of corporate stock prices is now smiling warmly on its acolytes.

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On March 5, the Dow Jones Average reached a new high, regaining every dime of the $11 trillion that Wall Street investors had lost in the 2007 crash. Worker productivity is zooming, corporate profits are soaring, wealth is flowing like a mighty river, Wall Street is buoyant – all praise the Dow!

Unless, of course, your wealth is dependent not on stock prices, but on wages. In that case, you’re among the majority of Americans who’re concerned about the Doug Jones Average. Forget all the buzz about “a golden age,” Doug, Darcy, Deewanna, and all the other Joneses can’t even afford to eat at the Golden Arches – for they’re still mired in the Great Job Depression that Wall Street’s crash caused. Washington rushed to rescue the financial elites, but the Joneses are still getting stiffed by the very elites Washington continues to coddle.

United Technologies is typical. The profits of this manufacturing giant have never been higher, and it continues to be blessed with lucrative government contracts. Grand. But how are the workers doing? Only four days after its stock prices reached a record high in February – United Tech’s honchos announced the firing of 3,000 workers, on top of the 4,000 they fired last year.

The continued separation of the few from the rest of us is revolting. In more ways than one.

“Dow record erases losses in recession,” Austin American Statesman, March 6, 2013.

“Recovery In U.S. Lifting Profits, Not Adding Jos,” The New York Times, March 4, 2013.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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