That Wall Street run? -- it's all bull

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My article in today's Daily News about the utter failure of trickle-down economics:

THERE WERE no champagne corks popping, no ticker tape down Broadway, and only muted cheers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month when the Dow - the supposed blue-chip barometer of America's fiscal health - bulled through its 2007 closing high of 14,164 and kept going higher.

There may have been a sense of smug satisfaction up in penthouse boardrooms of corporations that have stashed away an astonishing $1.45 trillion in cash - more than half of that overseas - while average CEO pay continued to rise, even during the bleakest years of the economic crisis.

But there was no rejoicing on middle-class retail strips like Aramingo Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia, where wary shoppers and job-seekers pass empty storefronts, often on their way to homes where basic services like cable TV or telephone landlines have been cut off so families can keep putting food on the table.

"I could care less," said Tracy Mulvehill, of Northeast Philly, 50 and unemployed for the past year, when asked about the upbeat reports from Wall Street and of a gradual recovery in the job market. "It doesn't pay my bills."

Right now, Mulvehill - who lives with a daughter and two grandchildren - is one of thousands of local residents who will see their long-term unemployment benefits slashed by nearly 11 percent in 10 days, and she's busy calculating how she'll live with an additional $200 less every month. "Now I've dropped my Internet," she said, "and for all my other bills I'm going to have to rob Peter to pay Paul one month, and the next month I'll rob Paul to pay Peter."

Welcome to the Great Disconnect - the 21st-century American economy.

Please read the whole thing. Class warfare? Of course it is. But don't ever forget which class started this.

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