A May 12 political cartoon showed a 1 percenter jumping for joy as he looks at a chart showing the stock market continuing to defy gravity. Looked at from a different angle by a glum Joe Mainstreet, the chart shows the actual economy moving in the opposite direction.

A May 18 business brief said: "Stocks closed higher for a fourth straight week ... based on optimism about the economy and record corporate earnings. The market also is being supported by $85 billion a month in stimulus from the Federal Reserve. "

Eighty-five billion. But what if it said $999,999,999 hundred + $1, three times each day for 1,100 days in a row. Try to get your head around that. In contrast, the recent record lottery payout resulted in one person walking away with $375 million, which is equal to three hours worth of stimulus.

All investors - and the relatively few little guys' with 401k accounts - are in on the scam. That's why we hear nothing about it. The scam is called "quantitative easing" and it has been in effect for approximately three years. We, through the Federal Reserve, are printing ungodly amounts of money out of thin air and loaning it to ourselves. The payback will fall on future generations - our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The bogus unemployment rate had edged downward because, after 5 long years, millions have stopped looking for work and are no longer counted. And the number of people considered "permanently disabled" rocketed from 4 million in 2008 to 14 million today - another 10 million taken out of the unemployed count.

The main financial number going up is the stock market, which has been put on steroids by pumping it up with paper put on the taxpayer's tab.

Oh yeah, Washington officials are working for us - not! They've got us and our families working for them.

JESSE WENZEL

Egg Harbor Township