Signs We are NOT Better Off Now than Two Years Ago
By Mark Schwendau
It is that time of the year when the subject of math takes center stage as we get ready to cast our votes in another national midterm election. This happens because (as we reported previously) about 20% of American voters identify as Democrats, 20% identify as Republicans, and a whopping 60% are represented as Independents or undecideds. This is keeping in mind that only 53% of all registered voters even voted in the 2018 midterms, which shows the U.S. trailed most developed countries in voter turnout. It is also said that nearly 25% of all Americans who could vote are not registered to vote.
So that offers us the math on voters.
The typical age-old question we ask ourselves this time of the year before casting our ballots is, “Are we better off today than we were two years ago now?”
The evidence is coming in rapidly now on several fronts, and that answer would appear to be “NO!”
Because the stock market is a major consistent measure of America’s economy, it is worthy of a first look.
The NASDAQ is down 33%, and the S&P is down 24.5% in 2022 alone. It has been said that some $11 trillion in losses have been wiped out from America’s wealth.
Just as former President Donald Trump predicted during the campaign:
“This election is a choice between a TRUMP RECOVERY or a BIDEN DEPRESSION,” President Trump tweeted before Twitter banned him, echoing what he tells his supporters at his rallies. “It’s a choice between a TRUMP BOOM or a BIDEN LOCKDOWN. It’s a choice between our plan to kill the virus – or Biden’s plan to kill the American Dream!”
The U.S. is now officially in a recession, as defined by two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth according to measures of a widespread and prolonged downturn in economic activity. A typical measure is two consecutive quarters of decline in the gross domestic product (GDP), which then constitutes a recession. A recession typically produces declines in economic output, consumer demand, and employment.
In 2021 acting president Joe Biden received widespread accolades from the mainstream media as the stock market showed growth as is typical after any change in leadership, but that honeymoon period was short-lived.
In June of 2022, it was reported the S&P 500 had lost all of the gains it had made since Joe Biden was sworn in as president. In June, this market checked in at 3,749.84, notably below the 3,798.91 level, which is where it closed in January of 2022.
Consumer Price Index
Another mathematical measure of how we are doing is the Consumer Price Index or CPI. In August of 2022, the CPI data showed that there had been significant inflation almost every month of Biden’s presidency. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) samples some 94,000 prices monthly to calculate the CPI. The BLS weighs the index for each product or service in this “market basket” in proportion to its share of recent consumer spending to calculate the overall change in prices from month to month. To do this, the BLS examines the buying and spending habits of urban residents and evaluates the spending habits of about 24,000 consumers from across the country, and surveys about 14,500 families each year.
While year-over-year consumer prices increased 8.3% in August, food prices reached an inflationary level not seen since 1979. Here are a few examples for a sense of perspective:
Fuel Oil: +68.8%
Overall Food: +11.4%
A historic new term related to the economic times we are living in has come about during the Joe Biden presidency. Stagflation is when there are reporting periods where inflation stays persistently high even as economic growth slows or becomes stagnant. While this is a new phenomenon, the fear is this period of stagflation will result in higher unemployment in time. Some say the U.S. economy is in the middle of this unusual “stagflation” period as employers lack enough workers to meet spiking demands because of the Biden administration’s policies.
There is an age-old adage that explains inflation as “too many dollars chasing too few goods.” In this example, we could add, “…but there wouldn’t be too few goods if we had enough labor to produce them”.
This brings us to…
In 2022, we have new trends such as “quiet quitting” and “quiet firing.” In the first instance of quiet quitting, a person just decides to walk away from their job, and this is becoming an alarming trend. In many instances, they do not even give the customary two weeks of notice! Quiet firing, on the other hand, is when an employer does the legal minimum to get rid of an employee. Signs you are being subjected to a quiet firing are commonly listed as follows:
- Your manager gives you a lower annual performance review with little to no documentation to support his/her claims and no suggestions for improvement.
- You have not received an annual salary increase without explanation, while others have received raises.
- Your manager seldom engages you and gives little meaningful feedback.
- You are treated differently than other workers in similar positions.
- Good ideas and good catches are not acknowledged, or worse, your manager takes credit for them in your place.
- You see little to no possibility for professional improvement and advancement.
- You are left out of communications related to meetings, events, and gatherings.
Very often, quiet firings are related to ageism or some other form of discrimination whereby the employer wants to push out a worker as they think they can replace that worker with somebody willing to work for significantly less pay. Employee longevity and loyalty are disregarded for cutting budgets and corners which often costs a company more in the long run.
Some economists are offering concerns about American workers as per a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found here.
That report offered this sentence, “The labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.3 percent in September, and the employment-population ratio was unchanged at 60.1 percent.”
Some are now extrapolating this mathematical data to report this is the lowest level of labor force participation in the history of the U.S.! They use the Great Depression years of 1929-33 as an example of when just 25% of the population was out of the labor force!
The implication is more people are living off of government subsidies than private sector employment opportunities, which may be due to choice or lack of skill set to achieve open employment positions.
Housing Market Issues
There are multiple issues and stories related to the housing market, and many seem to depend on where you want to live. A random rundown of these issues are:
- In some parts of the U.S., there is a lack of rental properties.
- In some parts of the U.S., it is now cheaper to buy than rent.
- Democrat blue-held states where a mass exodus of people occurs (Portland, Oregon) have hurt home values.
- Republican red-held states where people want to move to (Florida) are offering suddenly inflating home values.
- There is a housing shortage in some locations where people want to move to and live.
- Mortgage rates are up nationally from 2.68% in 2020 to 7.24% today.
Acting president Joe Biden randomly seemed to warn us about a coming food shortage he is expecting. Of course, our complicit mainstream media did not think to ask him about the origin of his information or the reason for his statement… Why not?!
Others are predicting a coming energy shortage which could result in dolling brownouts and blackouts around the country. Massive protests are taking place this month all over Europe regarding both inflation and shortages as they relate to both food and energy. YouTube has allowed some of these protest videos to remain on their platform to their credit.
Attacks on Agriculture
In many instances, farmers are being attacked in the name of the false narrative of climate change (cow farts). There are now numerous videos on the Internet of farmers coming out to explain their positions on their trade related to their providing us everything from milk, eggs, beef, and grains to local droughts and how Mother Nature, in some instances, will also take a toll on our national food supply.
We have previously reported on another odd phenomenon of our time here: “Why the Sudden Rash of Food Processing Plant Fires?”
Other news sources have reported on concerns about China and Microsoft’s Bill Gates being allowed to buy so much tillable American farmland. Gates now holds more farmland than any other single individual in America, and he has not been forthcoming with his intentions.
By any measure, one might sample and use America is not as well off as we were two years ago. If there is not a massive Red Wave coming in November, we will all be surprised and/or suspicious. Those risking the safety, health, and well-being of American families will be putting their own welfare at risk.
Americans want to remain warm and fed this winter, and the only thing keeping them from becoming cold and starving might very well be The Second Amendment! Something to ponder this winter.
Copyright © 2022 by Mark S. Schwendau
Mark S. Schwendau is a retired technology professor who has always had a sideline in news-editorial writing where his byline has been, “Bringing little known news to people who simply want to know the truth.” He classifies himself as a Christian conservative who God cast to be a realist. Mark is an award-winning educator who has published seven books and numerous peer-reviewed trade journal articles some of which can be found on the Internet. His father was a fireman/paramedic, while his mother was a registered nurse. He holds multiple degrees in technology education, industrial management, OSHA Safety, and Driver’s Education. His personal website is www.IDrawIWrite.Tech.
The simple answer, “NO!” we are not better off.