Oil, Gas, Wages, Interest Rates: Biden’s Other 2024 Risks

It should go without saying that Clinton adviser James Carville’s “It’s the economy, stupid,” generally is a good predictor of electoral outcomes. And most experts are lousy at predicting the economy. Macroeconomists (such as Mark Thoma, who retired from publishing the popular Economist’s View blog and also taught macroeconomic modeling) admit their models are not accurate more than six month out.1

But the level of press noise over the Trump prosecutions and the Hunter Biden at least right has turned pundit attention away from hot the state of the economy might affect Biden prospects, assuming he can be propped up that long.

The short version is the downside appears greater than the upside.

In April, Pew reported that Americans are sour on their personal and the country’s long term prospects. This should not be a surprise give falling class mobility and ever-increasing rentier extraction, particularly in housing and health care, and the overarching existential threat of the climate crisis. While this is a bit dated, it’s meant to assess fundamental views. From Americans take a dim view of the nation’s future, look more positively at the past:

Americans are in a negative mood about the current state of the country, with large majorities expressing dissatisfaction with the economy and overall national conditions. And when they look toward the not-too-distant future, they see a country that in many respects will be worse than it is today, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Sizable majorities of U.S. adults say that in 2050 – just over 25 years away – the U.S. economy will be weaker, the United States will be less important in the world, political divisions will be wider and there will be a larger gap between the rich and the poor. Far fewer adults predict positive developments in each of these areas.

In other words, Americans look at longer term trends and don’t see much to give them cheer. This rational outlook2 will at least at the margin, and perhaps even more so, will color how they view present conditions.

A fresh survey offers some support to our hypothesis. From CNN Poll: Half of Americans think the economy is getting worse, despite months of stronger economic news:

Despite months of increasingly positive economic indicators, the American public remains negative about the state of the nation’s economy, with 51% saying they think the economy is still in a downturn and getting worse, according to a new CNN poll.This consistent pessimism, coupled with a stagnant and negative approval rating for President Joe Biden, could portend challenges for his attempt to sell voters on the success of his domestic agenda as a part of his 2024 reelection bid.Biden’s overall approval rating stands at 41% in the new poll, about on par with where it’s been since the spring. His approval drops to 37% when Americans assess his handling of the economy and further still to 30% for his handling of inflation. Among political independents, a scant 26% approve of his handling of inflation.

Of course, this is the old menu versus the meal fallacy. Groaf figures appear not to be sufficiently well connected to the lived experience of a lot of Americans. This is in part due to statistical being tweaked over time to produce more flattering result.s3 It is also very likely due to the benefits of this growth accruing disproportionately to those at the top of the food chain (as happened in the post-financial-crisis rebound, for instance).

In fairness, CNN did point out:

The Democratic Party overcame deeply negative numbers for both Biden and the economy in 2022 to emerge with a better-than-expected performance in that year’s midterm elections.

But the recent Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade was a huge rallying cry and was a factor, perhaps the factor, in the Dems doing only somewhat badly, as opposed to hemorrhaging losses as once predicted.

In keeping with many Americans not buying what the business press is telling them about the economy, former Larry Summers speechwriter Edward Luce warned in his Financial Times column warned that Biden needed to do more to assure that more Americans felt that reported groaf was helping them. From America’s feel-bad Biden boom at the end of July:

At a recent health check-up I had a heart-stopping moment. An African-American nurse told me she would probably vote for Donald Trump next year because she felt much better off when he was president. What about the future of US democracy? “I don’t have much time to think about that,” she replied. And Joe Biden’s economic reforms? “I’m not feeling them,” she said. 

Anecdotes can be misleading. But there is data to back up the nurse’s view. Under Trump, US blue-collar wage growth beat inflation for the first time in years. Under Biden they have fallen in real terms. This is why barely a third of Americans approve of Biden’s economic record. It is also partly why only a third of African-Americans — an overwhelmingly pro-Democratic bloc — say that Biden’s policies have helped black people…

At 3.6 per cent of the workforce, US unemployment is at a near 50-year low. America’s economy is now about a tenth larger than when Biden came to office two and a half years ago. And US inflation is falling more rapidly than elsewhere. It is quite possible that America is heading for “immaculate disinflation” — the kind of soft landing that usually eludes it.

Yet there is a big gap between America’s impressive macroeconomic picture and how most Americans are feeling. There is also not a lot Biden can do to change that in the 15 months before the nation votes. The whip hand lies with the US Federal Reserve, which on Wednesday is likely to raise interest rates for the 11th time in 12 meetings (it paused at its last one).

US mortgage costs are increasingly beyond most people’s budgets. Inflation is ranked as the highest concern by US voters. The only happy people are those at the top with exposure to the stock market, which has had an unexpectedly sharp rebound this year. How the rest feel will be a big factor in what happens next year.

We’ll put aside the bizarre headline claim that 2% GDP growth in the first quarter and 2.4% in the second is tantamount to a boom. It used to take increases of at least 4% to earn that label. The gap between how the well off are doing versus everyone else has increased electoral dysfunction, since as we know, it’s the rich (ex the Sanders campaign) who provide the bulk of campaign contributions, and are essential due to the high cost of buying advertising, most of all TV ads. So the rich get the policies they paid for, natch. One supposes that they are betting on successful enough propaganda plus voter apathy to enable them to continue to not deliver much to the great unwashed. But as Luce indicates, that bet may break down thanks to well-deserved lack of enthusiasm about the Biden campaign and a weak Democratic bench if he has a health crisis.

We’ll look strictly at economic developments that could break the wrong way for Biden. One is gas and oil prices. They are admittedly tame compared to the sanctions-blowback level of 2022 (remember the Covid lockdown/widespread work at home plunge was an anomaly; separately you can see the big reason for vaccine boosterism. Look at the pickup in gas prices, no doubt reflecting increase driving, starting at the time of the rollout). From YCharts:

Nevertheless, the press has taken notice (and even more so, the Republican Twittersphere) of the uptick in gas prices. From the Financial Times:

Rising US fuel prices are triggering alarm in Washington just as President Joe Biden steps up his bid for re-election by touting lower inflation and the strength of the US economy.

The surge in petrol costs to a nine-month high follows a 20 per cent jump in global crude prices this summer, after Saudi Arabia and Russia slashed supply. The move has revived predictions of $100 a barrel oil this year — and new worries about the political fallout.

“The White House is in full-blown panic mode,” said Bob McNally, head of Washington-based consultancy Rapidan Energy Group and a former adviser to president George W Bush. “Any sitting president is threatened when pump prices go up because of the impact on consumer confidence and the president’s approval rating.”….

Saudi Arabia last week risked angering the White House by announcing that it would extend and potentially deepen existing oil production cuts, despite the International Energy Agency warning that crude markets are set to tighten significantly in the coming months. The kingdom followed up on Saturday by increasing the price of its oil it in Asia.

Car and Driver is more measured and attributes the consumer-sensitive gas price spike significantly to the July heat wave.

But the Biden Administration is right to be worried. Oil producer efforts to increase prices look to be having an effect after previous production cuts didn’t have much impact. This development is happening after the much-derided Russian oil price cap has failed; Urals crude has traded above that level.

The reality is that the US has lost a tremendous amount of soft power due to the failure of its shock and awe economic sanctions to do more than knock the Russian economy back for a short time, while harming what ought to be innocent bystanders, like poor countries that bought Russian grain and fertilizer but were impeded from doing so by sanctions on the banks they’d used for those purchases.

And it goes without saying that the US won’t be able to push Saudi Arabia around like it once did. As the Wall Street Journal noted in a mid-2022 headline: Biden to Visit a Saudi Arabia That Is Closer to Russia Than Ever. Riyadh has been keen to play a large role in the emerging non-dollar economic and geopolitical organizations, and in particular, the efforts to create alternatives to dollar payment systems. For instance, from the Associated Press in March:

Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, stunned reporters in Davos in January when he expressed that the oil-rich nation was open to trading in currencies beside the U.S. dollar for the first time in 48 years.“There are no issues with discussing how we settle our trade arrangements, whether it’s in the U.S. dollar, the euro, or the Saudi riyal,” Al-Jadaan said.

Around then, the Saudis said they were willing to sell oil in yuan but I don’t see evidence that trade is yet operational at any scale. Mind you, there’s little doubt it will occur.

The coup in Niger and threat of a conflict there has added to the upward pressure on oil prices. It is also not helping that the US is escalating with Iran, to the degree that it feels it necessary to put US military personnel on some Gulf tankers, and the Ukrainians have started making drone attacks on Russian tankers in the Black Sea (Alexander Mercoursis thought the over-the-weekend hit on a small empty tanker was a warning to pressure Russia to reactivate the grain deal. There is no way, no how Putin will do that absent the West delivering on its side of the pact, which it still seems to have no inclination to do).

And oil is far from the only potential source of trouble (and we are ignoring shocks resulting from very bad Biden ideas like escalating with China). Wolf Richter has been carefully following labor market trends. The latest data say the Fed campaign to suppress wages has stopped working. The money chart from his
Powell’s Nightmare: Wage Growth, after Signs of Losing Altitude, Re-Accelerates:

Note this has been happening, despite another fact Wolf has highlighted repeatedly including in a fresh post, that employers have been hiring the disabled at unprecedented levels.

Needless to say, either sustained energy prices or renewed wage pressure will lead the Fed to keep tightening. George Bush the Senior attributed his re-election loss to the Fed waiting 6 months later than it arguably should have to ease rates. What might rate rises going into the election do?


1 This is why psychics and astrologers have a good following on Wall Street. Their predictions are likely no worse than the official oracles. The use of astrologers is so common that I know money managers who profess not to believe in astrology nevertheless consider major astrological factors in their market timing because they know many traders do consult them.

2 I trust you got the memo that rationality is a bad! Generally speaking, supposedly well-adjusted people have an optimism bias and overestimate the odds of happy outcomes. Those who make more accurate assessments typically score as mildly depressed. This may have to do with the inevitability of death and the need not to think about it, otherwise that could be paralyzing. See our long-form treatment in The Dark Side of Optimism at The Conference Board Review.

3 Please do not cite ShadowStats’ alternative measures. John Williams has done a great job of tracking the way various official measures have been degraded over time. For instance, one issue we and Michael Shedlock discussed back in the day was the use of hedonic adjustments to GDP, as in goosing economic growth figures to reflect the value of increased computing power. The Bundesbank complained that our approach had the effect of increasing GDP by 0.5% compared to how Germany ran the numbers. From a 2007 post:

Shedlock in particular has written on the seldom-considered practice of using hedonic adjustments to GDP. They allow for the fact that computers are becoming more powerful at lower costs. In essence, the US grosses up the price of computers in its GDP reports to adjust for the fact that computer prices are dropping.

These adjustments have been going on since 1980 and the US is the only OECD country to use this approach. Shedlock obtained some data from the Bureau of Economic Advisers that indicated that hedonic index-related adjustments had added $2.257 trillion to 2005 GDP. That’s 22% of the total.

However, Williams does not even remotely have the ability to construct adequate or credible metrics of his own.

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  1. ambrit

    Anecdata Point.
    On my travels using the local bus system, I have noticed a significant uptick in ridership levels. People around here are beginning to use the bus to get to work and then back home, a major break with tradition here in the North American Deep South.
    Last week I had the experience of being denied entrance to the bus on the main drag in town because the seats were all full. This was a first for me. (Insurance regulations preclude standing passengers now.) An hour later I managed to get home in a roundabout manner. Not only is the price of petrol an issue, but the price of autos and the cost of repairs to said autos is becoming a major stumbling block to the use of personal autos by the “deplorable” class.
    I have linked before recently to a video explaining the technical reasons why the auto makers are producing almost exclusively large trucks and SUVs. (Hint: It’s the methodology behind calculating the CAFE standards.) Smaller cars and trucks would make a big improvement in Americans’ “access” to automobiles.
    Given the coming collapse in the American Electric Vehicle (EV) market, as a consequence of the unfulfilled needs for the build out of the electrical grid, charging stations, etc. I can see the social limitations to the mobility of the “deplorable” class happening fairly rapidly. Consider how much of the switch to EVs is driven by mandates for the removal of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles. When the replacement vehicles for the banned ICE vehicles are priced way out of the reach of the “average” family, the massive social changes to come become clear. A return to the era of The Rich and Everyone Else will become physically manifest through personal mobility.
    The corollary to the above will be demonstrated by the weak and ineffective roll out of the new Public Transportation. Right now, the Homeless are pointing the way. They mainly rely on their feet to get around. Soon enough, the entire “lower class” will join them in ‘hitting the bricks.’ A proper Underclass is a-borning right before our eyes.
    Stay safe. Question Authority.

    1. vao

      Soon enough, the entire “lower class” will join them in ‘hitting the bricks.’

      If you look at photos or documentary movies about Europe before 1955 or so, what is striking is the vast number of people going on bicycle to work. Chinese colleagues told me this was also the standard in China (including large cities like Peking) till the late 1980s. Nowadays, forget it.

      Further, in developing countries, most places are overwhelmed with motorbikes and mopeds of all kinds. I would expect the USA to devolve into similar patterns of transportation if conditions degrade further.

    2. Carolinian

      Funny everyone in my didn’t-used-to-be-but-now-upscale neighborhood seems to have shiny new Subarus and BMWs (a local cult) and Lexi. Perhaps when they trade in after three years the poors can drive their discarded luxemobiles like in Driving Miss Daisy. I do think that not only are we not living in a populist age, but arguably we are living in an anti-populist age as food stamps get cut back, unions are given perfunctory tolerance and the elites get all hysterical when Trump even pretends to be a populist. They must dream of pitchforks when tossing at night in their Connecticut mansions. At least one hopes so.

      But I think my upstate SC area may be thriving a bit more than your town. Maybe you need a car factory.

      1. cnchal

        > Perhaps when they trade in after three years the poors can drive their discarded luxemobiles like in Driving Miss Daisy.

        Not if they have any firing neurons remaining. Had a discussion on my walk this morning with an Audi loving neighbor and at 100,000 KM (60,000 miles) the check engine light comes on and his car developed a hard to start condition. It was resolved after a $3,000 bill at the dealer. One of the fuel injectors failed on the direct injection engine so all were replaced and the infamous walnut blasting the back of the intake valves had to be done to stop the motor from choking itself.

        This is crapification at it’s finest. Luckily he addressed it right away. The failed injector was leaking fuel into the cylinder as it was sitting there and if you let that go, well let’s just say gasoline doesn’t make a good lubricant. Total engine failure was avoided.

        Toyota addresses that by having two fuel injection systems, a direct injection and a supplementary injection system, old style to bathe the intake valves with fuel to stop carbon formation on intake valves. Moar complexity to deal with the previous comlexity to eke out an extra tenth of a MPG.

        Those Subies and BMW’s that your neighbors lease as status symbols are rolling garbage cans. They are useless as used cars. The expense of repairing them will overwhelm the ability of the fools that buy them, to keep up.

        The production of rolling garbage cans is epic.

        1. Screwball

          I have a close friend who is a retired Mercedes-Benz technician. Hoo Boy, the stories he can tell about the cars, and better yet, the owners.

        2. FlyoverBoy

          As a car nut, I think this post is a bit of a mashup of accurate and inaccurate comments.

          Many newer Audis have dual injection systems, too. Interestingly, on their top-selling 2-liter Four-cylinder turbocharged engine, the Audi versions often have this feature and the lower-priced VW-branded ones don’t.

          Also, while they’re not quite Toyota/Honda/Mazdas, I wouldn’t lump in Subaru with BMW as irreparable money pits. FFS, recent BMW’s don’t even have an oil dipstick.

          1. Carolinian

            Thnx for the replies to all. Believe the last time I looked at Consumer Reports repair poll Subaru was the most reliable. As for BMW owners, as with Tesla owners if you have to worry about the repair costs you can’t afford one anyway. I did once replace the four injectors on my brother’s Nissan and didn’t charge him $3000. That’s a lousy job though. Are there any ICE cars now, and for some years, that don’t use fuel injection–dual or single? When it works it works great in conjunction with the much complained about engine computer.

            Miss Daisy’s Hudson, which was also famous for carrying Jack Kerouac at high speed across America, was undoubtedly much simpler under the hood at the cost of mpg and pollution. I’d say it’s the giant pickup trucks (some of my neighbors have those too) that we should be complaining about.

            1. ambrit

              As I comment elsewhere, the rush to larger trucks and SUVs is an artifact of how the Regulators decide the CAFE mileage standards.
              It’s not so much miles per gallon as tailpipe emissions that determine the mechanical aspects of the engines today. Someone we knew back in the day had an early Mitsubishi hatchback auto that got Fifty(!!!) miles per gallon on the highway. The pollution aspect is paramount. (Anybody except me vaguely remember the Los Angeles smog from the 1960s? [We lived in Pasadena in the early 1960s for a year.])
              Yet I see absolutely nothing in the MSMs about workable light rail and trolleys for cities and towns. Except for the occasional aspirational Super Science project, (Hyperloop, here’s looking at you!) nothing is being planned or implemented.
              No one does any Civic Planning of any use today. It’s all zoning plans to keep the “deplorables” out of “Our Town” (TM).
              Maybe we deserve to go extinct.

  2. ambrit

    Now that’s interesting. A comment went into moderation. No big deal there. It happens all the time.
    A follow on comment, giving a link forgotten in the first comment went up in the right hand “comments happening now” scroll, but is not up at the end of the post it connects to.
    Fun and games on the ‘back end?’ (Here’s hoping that Dave feels up to it on a Monday morning. I do not envy him the task.)
    Anyway, stay safe all!

  3. ambrit

    I feel absolutely stupid. I failed to realize that comments to something in “mod—-ion” shares the same fate as the offending comment.
    Duh oh! *Slaps self on forehead.*

    1. vao

      Oddly enough, I see the headline “3 COMMENTS – SUBSCRIBE TO POST COMMENTS” but yours is the only one displayed.

      1. ambrit

        Yes. I believe that two of my secondary comments did not trip any algorithmic ‘wires’ but were nested after an earlier “modded” comment and thus are hidden through what the late Master of the Arcane Arts Roger Bacon described as the Principle of Contagion. (The Texas Thaumaturge Randall Garrett wrote about the long term effects of Brother Bacon’s codifying work on the Arcane Arts.)

      1. Mark Gisleson

        “We revise the triggers often.”

        [sigh] Just when I thought I’d learned all the ways to get a comment kicked into moderation…

  4. Mikel

    Not only do administrations and their supplicants rely on BS stats given in averages that conceal, in their glorified GDP numbers people servicing debts and all forms of rentiers is a big part of what they consider growth.

  5. jackiebass63

    None of these actually affect me. I pay cash for everything and only drive my hybrid car about 5000 miles a year. Since I’m retired wages don’t matter. I during my working years planned for the future. I worked a job that provided a pension and also contributed to SS.My home is paid off and I don’t have any other debt. Unless I have a serious health problem I see nothing that will hurt me economically.

    1. Pat

      I’m assuming you also have a bit of land where you can grow some food. As a city dweller, I can tell you that increased food prices are real. My income isn’t entirely fixed but those around me who do have that issue are feeling it. And as gas and transport costs rise, this may only be the beginning.

      1. nippersdad

        My wife actually enjoys shopping for groceries so I haven’t been in a market in years for anything other than whimsical purchases. It was a real shock when she told me the other day that Kraft Mayonnaise is now eight dollars a jar. The Federal minimum wage is still less than that, and if anyone in the Administration needs to understand why the common folk are not thrilled about Bidenomics, that would be a good metric to point to.

        “How many jars of mayonnaise do you make per hour” might be a good question for the White House Journo pool the next time Karine Jean Pierre starts touting how great the economy is.

  6. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the Biden economy

    Most of the groaf I see is in 2 person tent sales, judging by the homeless encampments popping up everywhere there’s a patch of green around our small city.

  7. SocalJimObjects

    GDPNow is now showing 3.9%, so perhaps Bidenomics is working after all ;). Beyond everything that’s been written here, IMHO, we will be seeing a rerun of what happened to Silicon Valley Bank, and there’s very likely to be some reckoning in the CRE market. Last but not least, apparently the government might still shutdown this October(!!), https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-08-07/government-shutdown-threat-builds-after-downgrade-imperiling-wall-street-bets#xj4y7vzkg


  8. JohnH

    Yes, the groaf numbers do not reflect the experience of the average American. GDP is the number cited most often. But if you compare the growth of real per capita GDP (or GDI) to the growth of real income of the bottom 90% and to that of the top 10%, it’s easy to see how per capita GDP more closely reflects the experience of the top 10%, not the bottom 90%. (See realtimeinquality[dot]com for income data.) While real income for the top 10% has been growing nicely for years along with GDP, that of the average American has stagnated.

    A similar phenomenon occurs with average wages, which economists love to cite. But they fail to note that it’s an average, not a median, something that ought to immediately raise suspicion. The average gets skewed upwards as wages for the top 10% rise faster than overall wages. Social Security has been showing this upward skew for years. But economists typically overlook it.

    What’s interesting to me is that prominent economists like Krugman sing the praises of the economy, while claiming to be mystified by Americans’ dissatisfaction. Are they really that ignorant, or are they carrying water for somebody?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Krugman was hired as a bludgeon against the left and to dress up free trade as anything other than an attempt to deregulated and attack labor.

      Neera is Biden’s top domestic policy person now, so they are going to move into full pr all the time, not doing anything. “It’s the economy stupid” is treated as divine wisdom instead of obvious, so they are going to simply tell voters they are really stupid for not recognizing how great things are. I mean Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are going to have a fight! America!

      1. The Rev Kev

        Sounds like Biden is taking a page out of Obama’s book in that when there is a serious problem, you just keep throwing pr and spin at it to make it all go away. Of course having an eager, compliant press on your side makes things much easier though I have noticed lately a lot of sharp exchanges between the White House press pool and Biden’s spokespeople.

  9. Carolinian

    Apparently the Bidenistas are obsessed with gas prices since they keep drawing down the Strategic Petroleum Reserve every week. I’m not sure how much we need this relic of the 70s oil crisis but Biden seems to view it as his own personal political piggy bank.

    But perhaps the Biden campaign’s biggest risk is Biden. How much longer can they keep his deteriorating gray matter in play?

  10. Screwball

    I’m retired and on a fixed income. Every time I go to the grocery store I feel the pain. I only feed myself. My grocery bill every two weeks used to run 60-70 bucks. Now they run 90-100. My electric bill, which they warned about (AEP) has went from around $100 a month to $150. Gas in this small town is usually cheaper than the bigger cities, but hasn’t been under $3.00 a gallon since the height of the pandemic. Now running around $3.49. Other noticeable increases; land taxes, auto and home insurance ($200 a year), sewer bills (5% annually mandated by the city), as well as the other utilities. Cable jumped a few bucks a month (internet only), and the streaming service upped their rate slightly.

    Everywhere you look there is inflation or shrinkflation (less product, same box, same price). $22 bucks for a 12 pack of toilet paper???? Really???? $24 bucks for a bag of kitty food? It all adds up, and I can see it at the end of the month. I cannot keep growing my balance, even with a part time job.

    But you know what? If I have to feel some pain for the next X months because of this poor economy (IMO) – and it gets these warmongering psychopaths tossed out of office – it will be worth it.

    Yes, I’m willing to pay to get rid of these people. They are nothing but a giant bullshit factory who only care about their donors, and have nothing but contempt for anyone outside their PMC base of arrogant unhinged control freaks who want to run the world.

    FJB and his merry band of circus clowns.

    1. jan

      But would they be replaced by something better? Having doubts about that. The recently linked Aurelien and Greer posts didn’t help easing that doubt

      1. Screwball

        Very valid question. I don’t know, but probably not. I think all we have is flushing the toilet as often as possible. If I had a political yard sign it would say; “IF U R IN – U R OUT.

        Stay safe, stay sane.

        1. David in Friday Harbor

          Kevin Phillips came to the conclusion nearly 20 years ago in his masterpiece Wealth and Democracy that Ronnie Reagan and his evil morph Slick-Willie Clinton designed their economic policies to crush the political power of organized labor or any other mass movement.

          Neither duopoly party can appeal to more than 10-20 percent of the electorate at any given time and the voters can only ride the “throw the bastards out” see-saw in presidential election years. Meanwhile the duopoly has locked-down Congress as the real seat of power and grift, and neither party seriously cares about keeping the White House. This is the ugly face of what Sheldon Wolin called Inverted Totalitarianism.

          Globalization created an employed precariat who see the quality of their daily lives in steady decline and who are constantly reminded that they are always just a few weeks from homelessness. The precariat doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ about GDP. They resent having to take the bus because affordable combustion-engine cars are being banned; they resent having to step over needles and feces; they resent being told to go into peonage in order to re-train or become an app-slave “entrepreneur.”

          This doesn’t end well in a society with unfettered access to firearms…

          1. Screwball

            I agree with this. But what else can I do (that is legal) other than try to vote them out?

            This doesn’t end well in a society with unfettered access to firearms…

            No, it won’t. In my travels, it sure seems like more and more people are struggling, and without a doubt more are not happy about the way things are going.

            As you say, this won’t end well.

            1. ambrit

              As I believe it was Kennedy who is purported to have said: “Deny the people legal ways of change, then they will resort to illegal ways.”

            2. some guy

              For whom will it work out ” not well” ? As long as access to guns remains unfettered, there is a chance, however slight, that it is the inverting totalitarians themselves for whom it will work out ” not well”.

              But if the PMCs and the inverting totalitarians achieve their gun control agenda of denying unfettered access to firearms to anyone outside of their power pyramids, then the only people for whom it will work out “not well” would be hopeful demonstrators ( as in Occupy), or desperate rioters, or other such non-powerful groups of people.

              ” The inverted cossacks work for the inverted Czar.”

    2. griffen

      A lawmaker, Sen Chris Coons, was on CNBC talking this morning about the great plans of this administration and why don’t the plebes and the poors appreciate these good, if not, remarkably wondrous times to be alive and working in the US. I pity the Democrats needing to peddle how things are better, because in his paraphrased words “Biden delivered on what Trump only ever promised to do, like infrastructure or cost of prescription drugs…” FWIW, Trump talked about “doing infrastructure” but that just never got off the ground.

      People aren’t happy because they liked Trump better, they’re unhappy at the inflation problems that are only in these recent months of 2023 starting to trend lower, albeit 4.0% or year over year inflation still leaves a mark. The below website summarizes such aspects, satire or not.


  11. spud

    the speech writer for summers mentions what about democracy, well what about it, does he even understand what a democracy is? if he did, he would not support the democrats, that’s for sure. the party of free trade, war, torture, censorship, rigged elections, prison labor, corporations making all of our policies, why that’s the definition of fascism.

    1. some guy

      We need a new party which would be for the opposite of each of those things. But if it emerged , would the remaining timeline even be long enough for it to be able to get anywhere anymore?

      Voting about this and that can still make a difference here and there. Various black-hat bad actors in power and authority must think that voting by the wrong people can still change things, or they would make the effort they still make to prevent voting by those wrong people, either in elections or in primaries.

      Still , voting is not as important anymore as preparing for the long slide down the descending slope of Hubbert’s Peak ( all the Hubberts Peaks for all the different ” resources” and “ecosystem functions”). People might spend less time reading about how to vote and more time reading about how to prepare for collapse. . . . in articles by this one by Ian Welsh, for example.

  12. chuck roast

    Please inform Mr. Carville that, “it’s not the aggregation, it’s the distribution, stupid!”

    And since Mr. Wolf has been mentioned, here he is on the tsunami of longer-term treasury notes and bonds. How this will play out is anybodies guess. There is a huge amount of, ahem, undistributed cash sitting on the sidelines that could absorb this rogue wave. But who wants to buy long-term bonds in an inflationary environment? The price will have to go up. Which means all manner of consumer interest rates associated with long end of the curve will rise. My question is, will this lead to a resumption of the tendency towards debt-deflation? Inflation gets tamed at the expense of driving the great unwashed closer to precarity.

    There has been speculation that Ms. Yellen’s trip to China was to try to get the locals to resume buying bonds and stop dumping them. Similar speculation on Mr. Blinken and his cohort visiting Saudi. Not a subject for discussion in un-polite circles, however. And QT continues apace soaking up liquidity. Perhaps they could tax the rich. Nah!

  13. Jeremy Grimm

    I was bored so I poked around the reddit Collapse site https://www.reddit.com/r/collapse/ and I was surprised by the number of comments about the disconnect between happy talk Biden Great Economy and the real life views. I know this is a self selected group of pessimists like myself but wow — I think Biden may have a little trouble running on the merits of the Biden Great Economy. Other common complaints — mad max aggressive drivers on the roads, the lack of birds and bees and insects, and of course the bizarre weather patterns.

  14. some guy

    Here’s a possible saying which I wonder if it would open the door to some discussion . . .

    ” It’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the stupid economy.”

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