Hi Norman Ravitch,
There is something to what you say here. I completely agree that government has long been pushing people to "join the stock market" in a myriad of ways and that it is a bad idea, because it is not necessarily the best investment for many people, and especially since the "bundled" investments tend to be handled halfheartedly by managers -- slow to jump in on rises, and worse, slow to jump out when big losses loom.
And I have no doubt that the government has been pushing people to throw their money bundled into stocks and bonds through retirement plans or whatever, not for the good of the people, but for the good of Wall Street. Both parties have lots of friends there who are the sources of lots and lots of campaign donations, and also the best place to get a corporate board seat if a swamp-dweller happens to somehow end up without a government job.
But your claim, that "a large majority, perhaps 80%, of securities are owned by the very, very rich" seems to be your misunderstanding of a 2014 article in The Hill by Mark Mellman, a Dem activist and owner of a high-profile Dem polling firm. He gives no source for his claim , but even he says only that the richest 10% of people own 80% of all stock. AND the top 10% means anyone making at least $133,445 a year (Investopedia, 2014 figure). That's many times what I make, but it isn't the "very very rich."
The funny thing is that before government started trying to push people into the stock market, many people instead got a pension from the companies they worked for. And the companies got the money from their own business. A lot of other people just put a little of each paycheck in a savings account, and savings accounts still paid reasonable interest because Wall Street hadn't got all pumped up yet by Washington-designed IRAs, 401ks, or whatever that poured everybody's money into the same basket, the stock market. And the bank had to pay you what you put in plus interest whether the Dow Jones was up or down.
Of course, once in a while a company or bank went broke and couldn't pay, but it was a system that generally worked and diversified risk. Putting all of everyone's eggs in the stock-market basket makes the little kind of disaster that affects a single company's employees just about impossible, but it also means that the whole country will see its retirement plans sink all at the same time if something really bad happens. And we all know that something really bad is always a possibility. What we saw in 2008 has never really been solved, mostly just papered over, and next time could be worse.