That said, stocks have certainly done better so far under Biden than under the previous guy. From the last election to late August, all three major indexes — the Dow, S&P 500 and the NASDAQ — had produced higher percentage gains under Biden than in the same period under Trump, according to Forbes.
Stocks did great under President Barack Obama, too, but you heard nary a peep from him about the Dow. And until recently, Biden didn’t talk about it either.
Democrats had reasons, not all good ones, for their reticence. In downplaying gains in stock market wealth, they often note that ownership of shares is heavily weighted toward the richest Americans.
That is true. About 92 percent of stock owned by Americans reside in the top 10 percent of households. We’re including stakes in 401(k)s and other retirement plans, and mutual funds.
But these Democrats often underestimate how many Americans rejoice over a rise in stock prices delivering gains of even a few hundred dollars. And many who don’t own any stock associate booming markets with general economic prosperity.
Some liberals, meanwhile, have this sourpuss idea that there’s something not wholesome about making money in the stock market. After the Trump-era tax cuts favoring rich investors, they want to raise taxes on those with high incomes, and that makes sense.
But then they must also recognize that stock market rallies produce more taxable income. And the sweet part is that proposals to raise tax rates on capital gains and very high incomes have evidently not depressed Americans’ lust for stock investing.
Complicating the messaging for Democrats is that well-to-do Americans account for more and more of their voter base. In 2020, 59 percent of counties with a median household income over $80,000 went for Biden, whereas only 39 percent favored Trump.
Biden later swerved back to his party’s earlier talking point that the stock market is not the economy. He complained about some people “seeing the stock market and corporate profits and executive pay as the only measure for our economic growth.”
But did Biden use the word “exponentially” to describe rising stock prices under his presidency? He sure did. “I’m glad it’s gone up,” he added, “no problem.” Good for him, and if this change in tone continues, good for Democrats.