Regarding yesterday’s letter (“Who Wins? Follow the Numbers,” Nov. 17), the Dow Jones Industrial Average going from 1,000 to 33,436 (these numbers don’t represent money) over 50 years is not a 3,253.6% return. Using a calculation of the time value of money, this represents an average annual return of around 7%. And the median household income going from $11,120 to $70,784 over 50 years represents, according to the same method of calculation, a return of approximately 4% per year.
Also, the Dow Jones Average is not necessarily a measure of corporate wealth, and household income is not a measure of personal wealth. Wealth and income are different things.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average represents the price of a basket of stocks that can be bought by anyone. If the author of the letter does not increase his fortune by investing part of his income in the stock market, it is his fault. It’s not the companies fault that people don’t choose to participate in the growth of American industry. There are problems with the industry, but that’s the wrong argument.