In a recent press briefing, White House Secretary Jen Psaki sidestepped a handful of stock market questions and gave a nonsensical, unrelated answer instead. If reporters were looking for updates and answers in the chaotic development of the stock market crisis, they didn’t find it there.
Robinhood, an online trading platform, had a federal class-action lawsuit filed against it after it restricted users from buying and trading GameStop shares after it saw an uptick in its stock. The app had also blocked retail investors from buying specific stock including AMC, Blackberry, Nokia, Bed Bath & Beyond, Express Inc., KOSS Corp, and Naked Brand.
When a reporter questioned Secretary Psaki about the incident, she offered a rather strange response. “Madame Press Secretary: some of the nation’s largest hedge funds are on the verge of collapse due to a populist uprising of small investors exploiting a huge vulnerability in the financial system. What can you tell us? The reporter asked.
“Well, I’m also happy to repeat that we have the first female Treasury secretary and a team that’s surrounding her. Often questions about the market we’ll send to them, but our team is, of course, our economy team including Secretary Yellen and others are monitoring the situation. It’s a good reminder though, that the stock market isn’t the only measure of the health of our economy, it doesn’t reflect how working and middle-class families are doing,” she said.
Critics mocked press secretary Psaki’s ability to bring identity politics into the conversation, as if it had any bearing on anything being asked. “Pitch-perfect expression of the defining neo-liberal mentality here. We have an extraordinary political & cultural conflict involving inter-generational wealth, vast disparities of power, and a deeply corrupt financial system, and this is all the Biden WH has to say about it,” tweeted The Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Others compared the transparently manipulative conversation to jingling keys in front of a crying baby. While Robinhood users suffer losses as a result of investing in Gamestop, Robinhood continues to openly prioritize the interests of Wall Street hedge funds over individual traders.
There has been continued bipartisan support amongst lawmakers in questioning Robinhood’s decision to prohibit customers from buying or searching specific stocks. In doing so, the online trading platform has stolen millions of dollars from its users to protect the people who’ve used the stock market as a casino for decades.
But hey, first female treasury secretary, right?