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Seattle CEO: GameStop stock controversy has implications that go beyond Wall Street

GameStop stocks have shaken Wall Street this week. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

A group of Reddit users shook up Wall Street this week after enacting a massive buy-in of GameStop stock, massively inflating its value and crippling large hedge funds. Seattle CEO Dan Price weighed in on the controversy on KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show on Thursday.

Price first made headlines in 2015 when he pioneered a $70,000 minimum salary for his Seattle employees at Gravity Payments, cutting his own $1.1 million yearly pay down to $70,000 in the process.

Explainer: Why GameStop’s stock surge is shaking Wall Street

As someone who’s often extoled on the virtues of wealth equality, he sees the value behind a bunch of average people on the internet rallying together to shake some of Wall Street’s wealth loose. More than that, he sees it as a firsthand demonstration of what the stock market truly is.

“What it shows is how there’s not a tether between the economy that affects everybody here and the stock market,” Price noted. “And so those really fun, amazing people on Reddit, … they proved that once and for all.”

The situation with GameStop stock has seen Wall Street short sellers stand to lose millions, after being forced to sell back borrowed shares at massive deficits.

Ross: The little guy wins as Reddit topples hedge funds

With trading platforms like Robinhood attempting to slow trading on these stocks, many have decried the move as an attack on middle class outsiders who they say were merely taking advantage of a system that hedge funds have reaped the benefits of for decades.

For Price, though, the situation has other implications, while indicating that an economy’s true success lies in wages and middle class wealth, not stock trading.

“I think what it really shows is stop paying attention to the stock market — pay attention to what wages are we paying, how many people can be comfortably middle class, how we’re managing things like housing, expensive services for people, and a little bit less attention to the stock market,” Price said.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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