Wall Street Versus Main Street

D0D31E18-F47E-481E-B833-F1633E716B72As I write this, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the premier barometer of Wall Street and the “health” of the American economy, is on a tear. And this makes Donald Trump and the relatively small numbers of American population who are wealthy and are heavily invested in the stock market very, very happy. But what about average, everyday Americans?

According to a Gallup poll conducted in March and April, 55% of Americans reported that they own stock. A high percentage of that stock ownership is from people like me, whose money is invested in retirement savings accounts, like their employer-based 401(k) or IRA accounts. But according to Goldman Sachs, the richest one percent of Americans account for more than half the value of equities owned by U.S. households.

Stock ownership is strongly correlated with household income, formal education, age, and race. It’s much higher among older, more highly educated whites earning more than $100,000 annually than it is among blacks, Hispanics, and the non-college educated.

So yes, a segment of the population is thrilled with the way that Wall Street has bounced back. But what about Main Street America? Are Wall Street and Main Street out of touch?

Wall Street investors are are excited and optimistic simply because they see progress in the reopening of our economy. Yet the continuing health crisis from COVID-19 has killed almost 110,000 Americans and there is no let-up in sight. There is record-high unemployment. Civil rights demonstrations (some violent) have been occurring across the nation. And the president is threatening to use the military against American citizens using their First Amendment right to assemble and demonstrate.

So there does seem to be yet another divide in America. Not the race divide, not the income divide. Not the political divide. But the divide that has a little bit of all of that: the divide between Wall Street and Main Street.

Friday Fictioneers — Stood Up

E3D5C750-0058-4BDB-8989-D046556809B4“Are you going to eat those?”

Delores was sitting on the park bench reading a book and hadn’t noticed the obviously homeless man sit down next to her. He pointed to the two potato chips on the paper wrapper, all that remained of the sandwich and chips she brought with her to the park.

“Take this,” Delores said. She reached into her backpack and pulled out a brown paper bag with a sandwich and chips in it and handed it to the man. “It was for my husband, but the bastard just texted me and said he couldn’t make it.”

(100 words)

Written for Today’s Friday Fictioneers prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Photo credit: Ted Strutz.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — June 5

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 5th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally published on June 5, 2006 on my very first blog. I retired three and a half years ago and business travel, the subject of this 14 year old post, is no longer anything I need to deal with.

Oh the Joy of Business Travel

8EFF4DEB-0183-4D21-A1AE-46988CE172B5Maybe it’s just a run of bad luck, but in the past month, every single flight I’ve taken from one place to another has been delayed. In one case, when thunderstorms and other unnatural acts of Mother Nature took their toll, I had to spend the night near Newark airport after what was to have been a day trip to New Jersey.

I was fortunate enough to secure a hotel room for the night not far from the airport. I had to buy a toothbrush and toothpaste at the hotel’s sundries shop, and the next day I had to dress in the same clothes I had worn the entire day before, including socks and undies (gross), since I hadn’t planned for an overnighter. I was finally able to catch a flight home the next morning, a full 12 hours after my original flight was scheduled to depart.

And while that 12-hour overnight delay was the worst of them, I have not experienced less than a two-hour delay on any flight I’ve taken since early May. And I fly a lot.

Most airlines, in their efforts to generate some profits, have cut back significantly on flights, moved seats closer together, and eliminated all but soda, coffee, and maybe a small bag of peanuts or pretzels. Some airlines have even eliminated the complementary peanuts or pretzels and now sell a snack pack that basically consists of peanuts and pretzels!

Additionally, all of these flights have been filled to capacity. I’m talking every single seat filled, the overhead bins overflowing, and generally big, fat, smelly bodies with bad breath crowding me and making the experience much less than pleasant.

As I write this, I’m trying to get home from a road trip. My flight from Boston to Charlotte last night was delayed by two hours. Now my flight back to Boston from Charlotte is delayed by at least an hour and a half. In fact, I’m sitting on the plane, which is parked on the tarmac waiting the lifting of some sort of “ground hold.”

And, just so you know, this whole air traffic dilemma is not limited to one airline. I’m on US Airways right now, but this past month I’ve flown American, Delta, Continental, and Northwest. Same deal with each of them, although I personally think Northwest wins the award as the absolute worst of the bunch.

Okay, rant over. I might as well make some productive use of this ground hold by getting some work done. I just wish the big, fat, smelly guy sitting right next to me, who is stuffing his face with some fast food he brought on board with him, would stop brushing his crumbs onto my keyboard. And I wish the little kid sitting behind me would stop kicking the back of my seat. And that the infant two rows back would stop crying like a banshee and would shut the fuck up. And that the asshole in front of me wouldn’t have his seatback in the maximum recline position so that he’s invading my personal space. And that — well, you get the idea.

Yup, business travel is really exciting!

FOWC with Fandango — Frame

FOWCWelcome to June 5, 2020 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “frame.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

The issue with pingbacks not showing up seems to have been resolved, but you might check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.