On this particular Friday in May, we learned that . That's pretty much a minimum number. Many economists seem to think even more people lost their livelihoods. The unemployment rate is now 14.7 percent. Others have had hours or salaries cut. Folks got their onetime $1,200 stimulus checks, and there are temporarily boosted unemployment benefits, but there's no avoiding that the novel coronavirus epidemic, and the necessary lockdown it brought with it, have caused an economic cataclysm. People who were already living paycheck to paycheck working jobs that paid too little now aren't getting paid at all. Filing for—and receiving—unemployment . Even if some or a majority of those jobs can be recovered, a big chunk won't be. And in the meantime, many people can't pay their rent. They can't afford anything beyond bare necessities. They're certainly not going to be breaking down the doors at restaurants anytime soon.
Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up nearly 400 points this morning, or more than 1.5 percent. The S&P 500 was up a point and a half as well. The news that the state of employment in this country is at its worst since the Great Depression—the Great Recession of 2009 —has been met with no little positivity on Wall Street. Once again, it seems that because some forecasts predicted the numbers would be even worse, the fact that they are merely "Ultimate Cataclysm -1" is a boon to the market. In the end, it doesn't matter what's actually happening out there. It only matters how a small group of people in here快乐飞艇开奖app feel about it, and , and whether they feel Congress and the Federal Reserve will keep looking out for them. Long live The Stonks.
If ever there were an indication that the stock market has no relationship to the nation's economic reality, it arrived today. Granted, even before this latest disaster. Granted, the Dow Jones Industrial Average in particular has long been more of a cable-news programming device than a useful metric for gauging the health of the economy. Even back in 2012, Adam Davidson was dissecting all of its sprawling shortcomings for . While it might have been useful in the postwar boom, where prosperity was widely shared and "what was good for G.M. really was good for the country," the Dow measures just 30 large American companies and fails to present anything resembling an accurate picture of economic reality in a globalized and hideously unequal快乐飞艇开奖app world. The S&P 500 has a bit more value, but the fact remains that a multinational corporation's share price—and how some folks feel about it—has very little to do with the lives of working or even many middle-class people.
It's hard to believe the misery engulfing a growing portion of the actual American public will not eventually have some consequences for The Stonks. But even if financial markets somehow retain immunity to the massive disruption in the hospitality sector and beyond, they will not retain legitimacy—to the extent they still do—with much of the public. Like our political institutions the growing detachment of elite circles from the larger Venn diagram of American life cannot proceed forever without consequences. People have been suffering for a long time, and it's only getting worse, and soon they will have heard just about enough of this talk about bull markets and stock buyback programs. Even now, with all the nation's problems rendered in such sharp relief by this strangely enlightening plague, so few of the people who hold the power and make decisions in our political economy seem to realize how precarious the situation is. So few seem to truly grasp the desperation of the people outside the walls of the gilded city.
That, after all, is what are all about. These are not just goofy words and images circulating on Instagram. They represent multiple generations' ridicule, an extension of their growing disdain, for people who watch the numbers on the screen go up and down and consider that to be The Economy. It's not just the Millennials, whose adult lives have been spent careening from one economic catastrophe to another. Millions of Gen Z kids are now also coming of age in a time when it's readily apparent how silly this way of measuring things has become. They're not just mocking The Stonk Man. They might be mocking you. And soon, they might grow impatient with mere mockery.