Checkbook Economics, Household Expenses Rise $961 Per Month, $11,532/yr, While Incomes Remain Flat

Checkbook Economics, Household Expenses Rise $961 Per Month, $11,532/yr, While Incomes Remain Flat

With most financial media being intentionally obtuse with the Biden economic impact upon Main Street, it is refreshing to see analysis that cuts to the heart of the matter.  HatTip to ZeroHedge who provides a link to a great article outlining reality for blue and white-collar working families.

The folks at NerdWallet have taken the inflation date from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) and applied the math to real life.  The result is a good encapsulation of checkbook economics and how the Biden economy is painful for the working class.

In total, Joe Biden’s energy policy driven inflation has added $961/month to preexisting expenses.  That’s $11,532 a year just to retain the status quo standard of living.

(NerdWallet) – […] In all of 2020, American households spent $61,300, on average. This number includes everything we spend our money on: housing, food, entertainment, clothing, transportation and everything else. In 2022, it stands to reach $72,900, a difference of more than $11,500 if consumers want to maintain the same standard of living. Keep in mind, this is an average, a number that represents an approximation across all Americans, but one that’s exact to a very few. Those who earn (and therefore spend) more will see more dramatic dollar increases. Those who earn less may see less dramatic dollar jumps, but the impact of these rising prices could be more significantly felt. (read more)

If the average household spent $61,300 and inflation is adding $11,500 to the expense, that means we now have to spend 18.7% more just to maintain the current standard of living.  That average is in line with what we are seeing in the real world.

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The Great Pretending – Denial of Truth Allows Easier Trespass

The Great Pretending – Denial of Truth Allows Easier Trespass

I was asked recently, what I considered to be the biggest problem of the current moment, and how would I describe it to my future self.  My response was, we are living in an era of great pretending, and if you elevate yourself and pause its actually quite interesting to watch.

The pretending issue goes beyond politics, it’s everywhere.  Sure, there was always an era where reality was skewed in favor of one position or another by various groups, people and leaders, where denying the obvious was always odd.  However, this current state of our national and international disposition extends far beyond politics into almost everything.

A person would ordinarily expect to see cultural or social pretending as an outcome of political correctness.  Denying the underlying social construct behind the rules of the urban society has been the norm for several years.  However, the pretending has become so pervasive it has recently extended into finance and economics; places where reality -actual outcomes- used to inoculate facts and figures against pretense.

It is no longer uncommon, heck, it’s become almost standard in this new era, to see CEO’s, CFO’s and even entire boards of directors, maintaining a standard of pretense. It is quite weird to see it happening.

Yes, this era -for a host of reasons- has made delusion somewhat of a norm.

In the social sphere, cultural norms now claim men can have babies, people can choose their gender, labels and pronouns, and everyone else bears the responsibility to conform to the delusion.  While goofy, that part is somewhat a weird cultural phenomenon of this western era.   If we were not pretending people like AOC would have no career opportunities.

In the political sphere, the axiom of politics being downstream from pop culture is perhaps the reason the infection of pretense has overwhelmed congress and the professional bureaucracies of government.  The social pretending has metastasized from the federal level to the state level, and now we see efforts to counteract “wokeism” as a social priority for state and local leaders.   It’s weird to see so much time and effort being exhausted on combatting social pretense at every level.

But the more stunning development comes in the sphere of economics, where factual outcomes of transactions are matters of simple accounting.  A ledger of sales and profits would normally dictate whether a business was successful or failing, and in the bigger picture would show empirical evidence of the financial health of the community of customers who purchase goods and services.

Under all common norms of economics, if a business was operating at a higher cost than its income; or if the income was to shift or disappear quickly; people would seek to identify the underlying cause.  However, in this era of great business pretending, an economic mass formation psychosis has led to complete denial of the obvious.

Accepting the state of the Main Street economy as it is – not as we would pretend it to be, CTH shared several months ago that quarterly profits would be far below expectations, and we would see revised projections from just about every business entity who engages in selling durable goods.  People just are not buying stuff because the cost of living and buying energy, food, fuel and shelter, has become extraordinarily difficult.  It isn’t rocket science to connect economic dots.

As expected, at a macro-level, topline sales for businesses have dropped or collapsed.  Inventories of non-essential products are piling up. Consumers are stressed and/or hunkering down, and general economic activity has slowed dramatically.

None of what is happening is surprising.  However, what is surprising is that businesses -while faced with empirical results that describe the situation- would continue pretending.

Yahoo Finance – […] The auto giant Ford warned of a whopping $1 billion profit hit late Monday in the form of higher parts costs, with the company blaming vendor inflation. Ford now sees third-quarter adjusted operating profits in the range of $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion, well below Wall Street estimates for $3 billion.

Somewhat oddly in the face of the major warning, Ford reiterated its full-year operating profit outlook of $11.5 billion to $12.5 billion.

The mood on Wall Street is that Ford’s warning is generally a shocker given relatively upbeat comments on demand and the bottom line when second-quarter earnings hit in late July. Now, the Street is scrambling to mark down profit and valuation estimates on the company.

“Vehicles in transit will be seen as transitory, but surprise inflation is always worrying,” said Evercore ISI analyst Chris McNally in a note to clients, adding that he sees Ford’s stock trading down to about $13 off the quarterly letdown. Citi’s Itay Michaeli also appeared stunned by Ford’s warning. (read more)

The great pretending continues…..

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CBS Economic Gaslighting Example, Face the Nation Pretends Not to Know Joe Biden Energy Policy Driving Higher Prices

CBS Economic Gaslighting Example, Face the Nation Pretends Not to Know Joe Biden Energy Policy Driving Higher Prices

“Gaslighting” is essentially a term used to describe an abuser continually lying to victim in order to make the victim misbelieve reality.

Economic “gaslighting” is a process of lying about the nature of true cause in order to continue advancing the abusive policy.

Combine the economic gaslighting with the historic leftist approach of pretending not to know things, and you get this dynamic on CBS Face the Nation today.  In this brief segment describing inflation, we see all the classic strategies deployed by ideological media.

First, notice they blame: (1) the pandemic recovery, (2) consumer demand, (3) Ukraine, and (4) a supply chain ‘muddle’.  Not only are these issues ridiculous, but none of them are the cause of supply side inflation.  Blaming “consumer demand,” which has transparently collapsed for the last year, is beyond nonsense.  WATCH, and also pay attention to the graphics they use to manipulate the audience:

The true cause of inflation, and yes that includes ‘global inflation‘, is the collective western economy jump into climate change energy policy known as “build back better.”  Stopping the use of oil, gas and coal as the source for cheap energy, has resulted in every element of the inflation they outline.

As an outcome of their ideology, the central banks of the western economies are now trying desperately to lower economic activity to reduce energy consumption.  The goal is to lower human activity to the point where windmills and solar farms can sustain it.  Everything else is pretending.

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Notice the synergy between the western economies who are following the Build Back Better climate change instructions from the World Economic Forum (yellow map) to the actions of the central banks who are trying to support the political agenda (blue map).

Coming out of the pandemic, western oil, coal and gas energy development was blocked.  Immediately energy prices skyrocketed, driving up the costs of everything.  Using the justification of “too much demand” the central banks (including the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank) are raising interest rates to lower the need for energy.

Western political leaders are pretending this is not a collective intention.

This is all being done by specific design.

Controlling a global population; controlling human activity; is the collective goal.

Show me the powerful political voice who will stop pretending and call this process out directly, and I will show you the most powerful global politician in history of the modern world.

…Who is John Galt?

This is why they are trying so hard to eliminate him.

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Despite Temporarily Lower Gasoline Prices, August Inflation Skyrockets with Biggest Jump in Food Prices Since 1979


We are in an abusive relationship with our own government. If you want a real-time example of how governmental bureaucracy fits into this statement, look no further than the footnote at the bottom of this article ¹cited from the BLS report today.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) has released the August inflation data today [DATA HERE] with a top line at 8.3 percent year over year.  Unfortunately, things are unfolding exactly as we previously shared.  [Modified Table 1 at left]

Despite the temporary drop in gasoline prices (-12%), the costs of food (+13.5%), electricity (+15.8%) and housing (+6.7%) are crushing U.S. consumers.  The stock market is responding accordingly.  We can only imagine the inflation data if the heavily weighted gasoline factor was not pushing overall toplines down.  Estimation of inflation would be well over double digits.

Keep in mind, as you read this review the price of the current harvest (prior field costs) is only right now coming into the food supply chain.

Food inflation is running at its highest rate since 1979 (+11.4%) and it will go higher as the third wave in this sector hits.

To give you an example, margarine increased in price 7% in August alone, that’s an annualized rate of 94% [Table 2 details].  Flour is also on pace for another 22.8% increase right as the holiday baking season begins.

We cannot eat gold, silver or durable goods.  Electricity, home heating (natural gas), food and housing costs are priorities right now.  Main Street USA is being crushed by Joe Biden overall economic and energy policies.  It’s bad now, and going to get worse – much worse, as the third wave of food inflation has only just begun.

¹Before sharing a MSM perspective I want to draw your attention to the BLS notation for 2023.  This innocuous footnote tells us just how manipulative the governmental bureaucracies are:

In order to give the statistical appearance of things being better than they are, the BLS is going to reset their weighting for the CPI to only compare against 2021.  This is being done with purpose to give the illusion next year that things are not as bad.  2021 was when Joe Biden’s inflation policies first surfaced. By comparing consumer prices to the timing when those prices first increased, the scale of future price increases will be statistically diminished.  We are in an abusive relationship with our government.

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(CNBC) – Inflation rose more than expected in August as rising shelter and food costs offset a drop in gas prices, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

The consumer price index, which tracks a broad swath of goods and services, increased 0.1% for the month and 8.3% over the past year. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, CPI rose 0.6% from July and 6.3% from the same month in 2021.

Economists had been expecting headline inflation to fall 0.1% and core to increase 0.3%, according to Dow Jones estimates. The respective year-over-year forecasts were for 8% and 6% gains.

Energy prices fell 5% for the month, led by a 10.6% slide in the gasoline index. However, those declines were offset by increases elsewhere.

The food index increased 0.8% in August and shelter costs, which make up about one-third of the weighting in the CPI, jumped 0.7% and are up 6.2% from a year ago. (read more)

For readers who do advanced preparation to offset prices.  THINK BEEF right now, you will thank me four months from now.  If you see a deal now, buy it and freeze it now. Anticipate retail ground beef costs be somewhere around $10 to $15/lb by spring to mid 2023 perhaps even higher.  Also remember, processed foods will increase in price at twice the rate of the fresh food sector.  Both fresh and processed food prices will rise, but the increased costs associated with the food processing will double the price.

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Massive Increases in U.S Natural Gas Exports are Driving Up U.S. Energy Prices

Massive Increases in U.S Natural Gas Exports are Driving Up U.S. Energy Prices

It is good to see at least one energy finance analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, speaking commonsense.  In an article by Clark Williams-Derry for Barron Magazine [SEE HERE], the author accurately outlines how significant U.S. Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) exports are driving up prices for American consumers.

The author accurately refutes the notion that exports do not drive-up domestic prices, by walking through the example of how natural gas prices dropped for U.S. consumers when the liquefied natural gas plant in Quintana, Texas [Freeport LNG] was temporarily shut down, blocking a portion of the export capacity.  However, that facility is about to come back on-line and with increased exports from other facilities domestic U.S. prices have already doubled.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Association (IEA), U.S. storage of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is 12% below the five-year average (LINK).  Additionally, the IEA is expecting the U.S. to export 11.7 billion cubic feet of LNG per day during the fourth quarter of 2022 — up 17% from the third quarter. The destination of that export is Europe.

Consider that 43% of U.S. households use LNG for home heating, and power suppliers use LNG to create electricity.  With the massive 2022 exports of LNG to Europe (+17% in fourth quarter alone), that means lower domestic supplies and increased prices here in the United States for electricity and home heating.  We are seeing and feeling these massive price increases right now.

Barrons – […]  If you need more evidence of the impact of natural gas exports on prices, just compare supply and demand fundamentals for the year leading up to February 2020 (the last pre-pandemic month) versus the year leading up to this May (the most recent month with full federal data). Annualized production rose over the period, while domestic consumption remained roughly flat. Yet LNG exports almost doubled—a surge that tightened U.S. gas markets and doubled the price that U.S. consumers pay for the fuel. 

The growth of global demand for U.S. LNG can be tied to many market forces, including the shortfalls in Europe due to Russia’s manipulation of European Union gas markets. Sustained high demand in wealthy Asian nations has contributed to export growth as well. And so has the U.S. gas industry’s dogged determination to ship its wares to the highest bidder, foreign or domestic. 

Russia’s role has been particularly critical in the rise of global LNG demand. As Russia choked off gas shipments to Europe, EU buyers have turned to global LNG markets to make up the shortfall. Global LNG prices rose in response, and U.S. LNG companies ramped up output, shipping more cargoes to Europe. But Russia responded by further clamping down on gas supplies to the EU—a vicious circle that has hurt Europe’s economy even more severely than it has harmed America’s.

There’s little sign that U.S. gas prices will ease in the coming years. Freeport’s demand will be back online soon enough, and there are three other massive LNG export projects under construction, with more than a dozen of others waiting for financing.

[…] Curiously, federal regulators have consistently found that the gas export projects are in the public interest—meaning they were in the economic interest of LNG companies and gas drillers. But now, exports are creating sky-high costs for U.S. consumers, and drillers are reluctant to boost gas output lest prices fall back to earth. So, it’s high time to consider whether soaring U.S. LNG exports are actually in America’s interest—or if, instead, runaway LNG exports are fueling energy inflation and undermining the nation’s economic competitiveness. (read more)

Not only are U.S. taxpayers directly paying for the majority of costs in Ukraine, but we are also subsidizing the European Union by exporting LNG and driving up the price for energy here at home.

We the taxpayers are directly paying Ukraine, and indirectly paying Europe to maintain gas sanctions against Russia.  As a result, we the taxpayers are also paying higher prices here at home.  This is the reality of the current exfiltration of wealth as created by the Biden administration.

FUBAR

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Massive Increases in U.S Natural Gas Exports are Driving Up U.S. Energy Prices

Massive Increases in U.S Natural Gas Exports are Driving Up U.S. Energy Prices

It is good to see at least one energy finance analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, speaking commonsense.  In an article by Clark Williams-Derry for Barron Magazine [SEE HERE], the author accurately outlines how significant U.S. Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) exports are driving up prices for American consumers.

The author accurately refutes the notion that exports do not drive-up domestic prices, by walking through the example of how natural gas prices dropped for U.S. consumers when the liquefied natural gas plant in Quintana, Texas [Freeport LNG] was temporarily shut down, blocking a portion of the export capacity.  However, that facility is about to come back on-line and with increased exports from other facilities domestic U.S. prices have already doubled.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Association (IEA), U.S. storage of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is 12% below the five-year average (LINK).  Additionally, the IEA is expecting the U.S. to export 11.7 billion cubic feet of LNG per day during the fourth quarter of 2022 — up 17% from the third quarter. The destination of that export is Europe.

Consider that 43% of U.S. households use LNG for home heating, and power suppliers use LNG to create electricity.  With the massive 2022 exports of LNG to Europe (+17% in fourth quarter alone), that means lower domestic supplies and increased prices here in the United States for electricity and home heating.  We are seeing and feeling these massive price increases right now.

Barrons – […]  If you need more evidence of the impact of natural gas exports on prices, just compare supply and demand fundamentals for the year leading up to February 2020 (the last pre-pandemic month) versus the year leading up to this May (the most recent month with full federal data). Annualized production rose over the period, while domestic consumption remained roughly flat. Yet LNG exports almost doubled—a surge that tightened U.S. gas markets and doubled the price that U.S. consumers pay for the fuel. 

The growth of global demand for U.S. LNG can be tied to many market forces, including the shortfalls in Europe due to Russia’s manipulation of European Union gas markets. Sustained high demand in wealthy Asian nations has contributed to export growth as well. And so has the U.S. gas industry’s dogged determination to ship its wares to the highest bidder, foreign or domestic. 

Russia’s role has been particularly critical in the rise of global LNG demand. As Russia choked off gas shipments to Europe, EU buyers have turned to global LNG markets to make up the shortfall. Global LNG prices rose in response, and U.S. LNG companies ramped up output, shipping more cargoes to Europe. But Russia responded by further clamping down on gas supplies to the EU—a vicious circle that has hurt Europe’s economy even more severely than it has harmed America’s.

There’s little sign that U.S. gas prices will ease in the coming years. Freeport’s demand will be back online soon enough, and there are three other massive LNG export projects under construction, with more than a dozen of others waiting for financing.

[…] Curiously, federal regulators have consistently found that the gas export projects are in the public interest—meaning they were in the economic interest of LNG companies and gas drillers. But now, exports are creating sky-high costs for U.S. consumers, and drillers are reluctant to boost gas output lest prices fall back to earth. So, it’s high time to consider whether soaring U.S. LNG exports are actually in America’s interest—or if, instead, runaway LNG exports are fueling energy inflation and undermining the nation’s economic competitiveness. (read more)

Not only are U.S. taxpayers directly paying for the majority of costs in Ukraine, but we are also subsidizing the European Union by exporting LNG and driving up the price for energy here at home.

We the taxpayers are directly paying Ukraine, and indirectly paying Europe to maintain gas sanctions against Russia.  As a result, we the taxpayers are also paying higher prices here at home.  This is the reality of the current exfiltration of wealth as created by the Biden administration.

FUBAR

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U.K Energy Reaches Crisis Point, Britain Announces New Oil and Gas Leases and Lifts Moratorium on Fracking

There is a particular historical irony in the timing.  On the same day King Charles III ascends the throne, previously Europe’s most isolated from consequence – yet loudest voice in chasing the catastrophic climate change energy policies, the British government is forced to reverse course on years of energy regulations and restrictions.

Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss announced, “a new round of oil and gas licensing will come next week with more than 100 licenses issued. A moratorium on fracking will be lifted and planning permission can be sought where there is local support,” in an urgent emergency effort to lower energy costs for British citizens.

The move comes in combination with a government plan to help citizens and businesses cope with skyrocketing prices for electricity and home heating fuel.  The climate change chickens have come home to roost throughout Europe and the British government is urgently trying to head-off the calamitous consequences.

Inside the media announcements of the Truss plan, the biggest concern expressed is how the financial and multinational banking sector (the ESG investment groups) will respond to the government position. After decades of ideological “green” outlooks flowing into the energy industry, the biggest concern expressed in the financial analysis is how a reversal by such a large economic system will reverberate.

The climate change ideology has a stranglehold on the energy sector of the economy, this move by Great Britain would be the most significant push-back in decades.  The minority green activists are apoplectic that they may lose control over the majority of opinion.  The economics of a reversal in energy policy could reverberate throughout the western alliance, particularly in Europe.  It will be interesting to see whether this shift in U.K. policy has ripple effects in the U.S.

LONDON, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Britain’s move to green-light dozens of new oil and gas fields will leave investors and banks with a tough PR job as Britain struggles to shore up its energy security whilst sticking to its climate commitments.

Starting new oil and gas projects runs counter to the world’s shift away from fossil fuels in the fight against global warming and a commitment at last November’s U.N. climate talks to phase down their use.

Yet runaway inflation amid conflict in Ukraine has forced the hand of new British prime minister Liz Truss as Russian President Putin seeks to use energy as a weapon this winter.

Britain will launch a new round of oil and gas licensing next week with more than 100 licenses issued, part of a wider package of measures to tackle the energy crisis announced by Truss on Thursday.

And Britain’s not alone in reassessing its energy strategy. Germany, for example, has been forced to turn back to even dirtier thermal coal to help fuel its power plants and keep the lights on, hampering short-term efforts to rein in climate-damaging carbon emissions.

But for energy companies and the investors, bankers and insurers that finance them, new investment in fossil fuels also presents a challenge given many have made their own pledges to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century.

“This will absolutely hinder companies’ … ability to hit their climate targets,” said Pietro Bertazzi, global director of policy engagement and external affairs at non-profit environmental disclosure platform CDP. (read more)

This is the first crack in the western alliance and the ‘climate change’ agenda of the World Economic Forum as it relates to energy policy and ultimately control over human life within the alliance.

The war in Ukraine was being used as a justification to explain the consequences of European energy policy, particularly rapidly increasing costs for energy and food, but the war in Ukraine was not the cause.  The true root cause of the exploding inflation and economic mess was the Build Back Better agenda, and the series of policies dictated from within it, that each nation willingly accepted.

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German Minister of Economics, Robert Habeck, Under Fire as Energy Driven Reality of Economic Collapse Starts Sinking In

German Minister of Economics, Robert Habeck, Under Fire as Energy Driven Reality of Economic Collapse Starts Sinking In

German Minister of Economics Robert Habeck is under fire after his comments during an interview with an ARD broadcaster on Tuesday evening.

The conversation surrounded the astronomical rise in the price of energy taking all the income away from people who would purchase other goods and services. As Germans no longer can afford purchases, the stores and businesses can no longer operate.  Minister Habeck was asked if that means a wave of bankruptcies and business closures are forecast.

Mr. Habeck responded that businesses can stop operating, but that doesn’t mean they will go insolvent.  Just because the business loses most or all of their revenue, doesn’t mean they will go bankrupt.  That doesn’t make sense, Minister Habeck was pressed to apply commonsense. If businesses close to save money, workers are not employed. If workers are not employed people do not earn income.  If people do not earn income, the economy worsens.

Habeck had no response other than an economically detached “Green Party” perspective that businesses will not go bankrupt just because they are not operating. However, his facial expressions reflect that he knows what comes next, total economic collapse. WATCH: 

(Reuters) – German Economy Minister Robert Habeck faced a backlash on Wednesday for saying he could imagine parts of the economy stopping production due to rising energy prices that German firms say are threatening their existence.

Asked whether he expected a wave of insolvencies at the end of this winter due to companies’ rising energy bills, Habeck said “No, I don’t. I can imagine that certain industries will simply stop producing for the time being.”

The answer, in an interview with ARD broadcaster on Tuesday evening, sparked criticism of the minister in charge of Europe’s biggest economy, with mass-selling Bild newspaper saying Habeck “has no idea about the economy.”

Friedrich Merz, the conservative opposition leader, also took the opportunity to criticize Habeck, Germany’s second most popular politician, saying he and his ruling coalition were not taking energy and economy questions seriously.

“One could see how helpless Mr. Habeck you are with these questions last night on German television,” Merz told the lower house of parliament.

Habeck’s comments come as economists and industry groups warn that rising energy prices are a growing risk for Germany’s medium and small-sized businesses, which form the backbone of the economy.  (read more)

Things are about to get very spicy in Germany as the reality of the unsustainable Build Back Better agenda starts to sink in.  The intellectual disconnect from an economic minister to the consequences of an energy policy removing trillions of dollars from the economy is stunning.

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