Dow 20,000 Is the Most Unexciting Thing Ever

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As long as we’re on the subject of economic growth, the Dow has been in the news lately because it broke the 20,000 barrier. A lot of people are pretty excited about this, but just to give you an idea of how totally unexciting this actually is, here’s the Dow over the past eight years:

During the Obama presidency, the Dow doubled in real terms. What’s more, its growth has been remarkably steady. The trendline here is nothing fancy, just the default linear regression provided by Excel. The Dow has been growing about 9.4 percent per year, year in and year out. There was a tiny uptick in November, which you can see on the chart, but all it did was return growth to the trendline it had been following for the previous eight years. Since then, growth has returned almost precisely to the trendline.

As for breaking 20,000, anyone with a hand calculator could have predicted a year ago that this would happen within a couple of months of the start of 2017. And it did. It means nothing except that growth is continuing along the same path as always.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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