President Donald Trump has tweeted about the stock market more than 150 times since he was elected president, repeatedly referring to the major indexes reaching all-time highs.
But former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has been vocal about the disparity between stock market rallies and the realities facing Americans — and he believes Trump’s successor will stop conflating the two.
“I do not think that President-Elect Joe Biden is going to be trumpeting the stock market success the same way Trump did,” Yang said in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Tuesday. “I always thought it was really awful the fact that Trump conflated the stock market values and how we're doing as a country.”
Stocks hit record highs on Monday, but the country is not faring well by many measures. Despite some positive indicators of a steady recovery, the U.S. is still down by 10 million jobs since the novel coronavirus rattled the world in March. It’s not just jobs that have been lost: The country has surpassed 10 million total cases of coronavirus and 238,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
“I mean, you have record high stock market prices. You also have record high deaths of despair, record high mental illness, record high financial insecurity,” Yang said. “So Joe is not the type to build that connection at all.”
In reality, most Americans don’t get any benefit from stock market highs. Only 52.6% of American families have exposure to the stock market, according to a recent survey of consumer finances conducted by The Federal Reserve. But even those Americans who do own equities primarily have retirement accounts like company sponsored-401(k)s.
Despite the recent influx of retail and Robinhood traders, just 15% of American families hold any individual funds they can access easily, according to the Federal Reserve survey, which is an accurate snapshot of just how much exposure Americans have to the equity markets.
Even Americans who are invested in the stock market might not have Trump to thank, Yang suggested.
“I always thought it was political malpractice for anyone to ... [take credit for the stock market] because the fact is even if the stock market's doing well, a lot of the time it has something to do with the decisions that were made before you took office,” Yang said. “Someone made a decision three years ago in some industry and someone benefited under your administration and you take credit? It's always been asinine and Joe's not going to do it.”
Yang, who was an early proponent of a $1,000 universal basic income, has used his PAC to deliver $10 million in cash relief to 20,000 American families during the pandemic.
Melody Hahm is Yahoo Finance’s West Coast correspondent, covering entrepreneurship, technology and culture. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.