MSN - January 13, 2020
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argued a record high for the Dow Jones Industrial Average - a benchmark index of 30 blue-chip stocks including Apple, Nike, and Disney - underlines the problem of stagnant US wages and the wealth gap between investors and salaried workers in a tweet on Sunday.
"The Dow soars, wages don't," the New York congresswoman commented on a NBC News tweet about the index passing the 29,000 mark for the first time. "Inequality in a nutshell."
Ocasio-Cortez was probably referring to the widening gap between US stock-market gains and wage growth in recent years. The Dow surged 22% in 2019. But wage growth, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, rose just 2.9% in the 12 months to December.
Stagnant US wages have puzzled many economists, given unemployment has plunged to its lowest levels in more than 50 years.
President Donald Trump frequently touts the rising US stock market as evidence of a booming economy and a boon for all Americans. However, Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly downplayed the relevance of stock-market gains to salaried workers who don't own stocks.
"The stock market is NOT the economy," she tweeted in February 2018. "Stocks aren't jobs. Stocks aren't wages."
"That's why stock prices can go up and normal people still won't feel any more secure about their future," she added.
Ocasio-Cortez's comments on inequality between workers and investors echo those of Bill Gates. The Microsoft cofounder and billionaire philanthropist recently called for the US government to narrow the wealth gap by shifting its focus from taxing incomes to taxing investments and assets.
Related video: Tackling the wealth gap between black and white America (provided by NBC News)