On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Way Too Early,” CNBC International Financial Journalist Arabile Gumede said that the revised GDP numbers show that the U.S. economy is in a recession according to the technical definition, and that while some people dispute whether we’re in one, “you can kind of get the sense that” with prices going up “things are certainly looking a whole lot more negative. Consumers certainly getting into the red as well when it comes to their bank balances across the board.”
Host Jonathan Lemire asked, “So, the U.S. government’s final reading of our gross domestic product last quarter shows that the economy shrank at an annual rate of .6%. Does that mean, technically, the United States economy is already in a recession?”
Gumede answered, “Yeah, technically, certainly it does seem so, right? It was a confirmed adjusted 1.6% dropoff in the first quarter’s GDP numbers, 0.6% decline in the second quarter. Technically, the definition does say two quarters of negative growth means that you’re in a recession. But, how many times have we heard, of course, leaders, whether it be economic leaders or even political leaders, including Joe Biden himself, say that the economy’s not necessarily in a recession. But you can kind of get the sense that, with everything going a little bit higher, whether it be from — right through from gas to all other sectors of the economy struggling, including food, things are certainly looking a whole lot more negative. Consumers certainly getting into the red as well when it comes to their bank balances across the board. So, you are going to see a lot of that come through. Whether it is official that they’re in a recession, I suppose someone may need to call it, but according to the technical numbers, though, yeah, definitely in a recession.”
The stock market continued its downward spiral on Thursday as the economy struggles to cope with Democrats’ reckless spending adding fuel to runaway inflation.
All three benchmark indexes closed under their opening value with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 450 points. The NASDAQ dropped nearly 3 percent Thursday and the S&P 500 fell by nearly 80 points.
The Dow’s decline marks a continued trend since the signature passage of President Joe Biden’s dubiously named “Inflation Reduction Act” on Aug. 16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has now fallen nearly 5,000 points, or more than 14 percent, in the aftermath of Biden’s bill becoming law.
The U.S. inflation rate, meanwhile, remains at a four-decade high with Labor Department data out in early September revealing that prices rose 8.3 percent last month over the year prior. When Biden celebrated the bill’s passage at the White House in mid-September, markets continued to plunge as James Taylor played “Fire and Rain” on the South Lawn.
In July, official GDP numbers revealed two consecutive quarters of negative growth, meaning the country is in a recetion. The Biden administration responded by pretending the recession doesn’t exist and sought to redefine the term, and his lapdogs in the corporate media followed the administration’s lead.
“Most economists and most Americans,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters, “have a similar definition of recession — substantial job losses and mass layoffs, businesses shutting down, private sector activity slowing considerably, family budgets under immense strain. In sum, a broad-based weakening of our economy. That is not what we’re seeing right now.”
Most Americans are struggling to cope with inflation, however, with prices for gas and groceries increasing far higher than what they were when Biden took office. The nationwide average for a gallon of gasoline, for example, is $1.36 higher than in January 2021.
According to a survey published by the University of Michigan the month before Yellen’s comments to reporters, consumer sentiment plunged to its lowest record. Inflation also remains at the top of voters’ minds in poll after poll headed into the November midterms. Yet in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Biden claimed the inflation rate was up “hardly at all.”
As the nation’s economic health continues to deteriorate, the stock market will keep collapsing. The falling markets have already wiped out more than $9 trillion in U.S. household wealth.
Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal. His work has also been featured in Real Clear Politics and Fox News. Tristan graduated from George Washington University where he majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at Tristan@thefederalist.com.
One Massachusetts father, Rick Whitman, told CNN that his family was enjoying eating at home more frequently because of how expensive eating out can be but is now grappling with the reality that eating at home is also becoming pricey.
Whitman noted he wasspending25 percent more for family groceries, forcing him to shop at cheaper grocery stores, such as Costco and local chain Market Basket, instead of Whole Foods or Stop & Shop.
Food prices have not only increased for the Whitman family but for the nation, as the consumer price index shows grocery store prices haveincreasedby 13.5 percent since last year under the Biden administration, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, food prices have increased by 11.4 percent.
Polling has shown that 63 percent of American families with children arechangingtheir eating habits, compared to 31 percent that are not, Breitbart News recently reported.
A majority of Americans report seeing their grocery bills increase and expect food prices to keep rising, the poll found. https://t.co/ZTop6Q6bi4
Seventy-two percent of families with children recorded paying more at the grocery store for items such as eggs, milk, butter, and bacon.
Another family also highlighted that current food prices had forced them to significantly adjust their eating habits by cutting down on dinner gatherings they used to enjoy hosting at their home.
“Before, we at least found joy in being home and having friends and family over, cooking and sitting around the table and just being content,” said Carol Ehrman from Montana. “Now, I’m not entertaining at all. It’s really sad.”
She noted that her family is trying to save money by cutting back on meats and is buying bulk foods more often.
Even if changing habits requires only giving up certain simple pleasures, it can still be jarring to any family, William Masters, a nutrition science and policy professor at Tufts University, told CNN.
“Not being able to buy the foods that people are used to — that your children are asking for, that your family wants — that’s a really hard thing,” said Masters.
Anybody but Joe. That is the simple message a clear majority of Democrats delivered in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday, indicating the party should replace President Joe Biden as its nominee for president in 2024.
The polling figures come ahead of November’s midterm elections which already promise to be a litmus test of both the president’s overall appeal and the party’s hopes of control in the House and Senate, as both chambers barely have a majority.
Looking two years further down the track, just 35 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents favor Biden for the 2024 nomination; 56 percent want the party to pick someone else.
Put simply, Democratic supporters are telling Biden if he cannot carry them with him he has no chance of winning over the country in 2024.
The poor polling numbers are nothing new, as Breitbart News has reported, with Biden’s casting of his GOP opponents as somehow a threat to democracy seen as an unacceptable smear.
Fifty-six percent of general election voters view Biden’s speech, where he cast Republicans as “threats to the foundations of our republic,” as unacceptable, a Tuesday Trafalgar Group poll found. https://t.co/FBI7BEMVV8
The president’s standing customarily is critical to his party’s fortunes in midterms — and Biden is well under water. Thirty-nine percent of Americans approve of his job performance while 53 percent disapprove, about where he’s been steadily the past year, the poll shows.
Specifically on the economy, with inflation near a 40-year high, his approval rating is 36 percent while 57 percent disapprove — a 21-point deficit.
Overall economic management is a key point of voter disapproval of Biden and his administration.
The poll shows 74 percent say the economy is in bad shape, up from 58 percent in the spring after Biden took office, with Biden’s handling of inflation cast as a disaster time and time again – by his own supporters and GOP opponents alike.
Fifty-six percent of Americans say President Joe Biden’s 40-year-high inflation has caused them hardship, up from 49 percent in January and 45 percent in November, a Gallup poll found this week. https://t.co/5axxAh8o9s
This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Sept. 18-21, 2022, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,006 adults, including 908 registered voters. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percentage points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions in the full sample are 28%-24%-41%, Democrats-Republicans-independents, and 27%-26%-40% among registered voters.
By now you’ve no doubt heard about President Joe Biden’s interview with “60 Minutes” in which he declared the pandemic “over” and said unequivocally that, “yes,” the United States will come to Taiwan’s defense whenever China attacks. He also made some dubious claims about inflation.
When CBS interviewer Scott Pelley highlighted the abysmal state of the economy and noted that “people are shocked by their grocery bills,” Biden sputtered that the “inflation rate month to month was up just an inch, hardly at all.” To give you a flavor of the rest of the exchange:
Biden: [You guys] make it sound like, all of a sudden, ‘My God, it went to 8.2 percent.’
Pelley: It’s the highest inflation rate, Mr. President, in 40 years.
Biden: I got that. But guess what we are. We’re in a position where for the last several months, it hasn’t spiked. It has just barely — it’s been basically even.
It’s worth clarifying what Biden is trying to claim here. The inflation rate clocked in at 8.3 percent in August, after registering at 8.5 percent in July and 9.1 percent in June. When the president says inflation “hasn’t spiked” and has “been basically even,” he’s talking about these fractional changes — and he’s hoping you don’t know what they mean and that his lapdogs in the corporate media won’t explain them to you.
But when we’re talking about inflation and how it affects prices, the baseline isn’t some-odd 8 percent or whatever the rate happened to be last month. In other words, we don’t measure August’s inflation as down 0.2 percentage points from July and 0.8 points from June. These monthly figures represent year-over-year changes, meaning each report describes how prices that month compare to prices at the same time last year — and they’re all up, by a lot.
To that end, I suppose it’s accurate to say that month-to-month, inflation “hasn’t spiked” — but that just means inflation has been consistently bad under this administration.But the goal obviously isn’t to keep inflation “basically even” at a 40-year high; it’s to bring it the heck down.
But even these overall 8 and 9 percent figures are misleading — and dramatically under the money — for essential needs such as energy and food. As Pelley said, Americans are “shocked” every time they go to the grocery store.
But just how bad is it? Do grocery increases really amount to just 8 percent, or a few cents, per item? Are prices up, as Biden claimed, “hardly at all”?
I went to the grocery store and ran some numbers, and I too was shocked by what I found.
Midterm to Midterm
I stopped by one of the nearest grocery chains, which isn’t as cheap as Aldi but is no Harris Teeter highway robbery either. I’d say it’s comparable to a nice Pick ‘N Save, with a few brand options for each item.
While doing some personal shopping, I took inventory of basic items (universal brands if the store had them), some of which were “on sale.” I documented each item’s regular price. Then, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), I cross-referenced those prices with grocery costs during a comparable time in recent memory: the last midterms in 2018 under President Donald Trump — a year and a half into the presidency and during a time of strong political incentives to keep Americans happy.
I avoided produce, most of which the BLS doesn’t keep consistent records for and which has such a short shelf-life that prices vary widely. I did, however, check in on other essentials across a variety of categories: baking items such as flour and sugar, meat, eggs, cheese, and other staples such as bread and pasta. And let’s just say after running the numbers, an 8 percent increase would have been welcomed. The real hikes were insane.
Milk, Eggs, and Bacon
Let’s start with breakfast, as you do. In September 2018, bacon cost $5.50 per pound, according to BLS averages. Today, those delicious piggy strips will run you about $7.99 per pound for your run-of-the-mill brand.
That’s a 45 percent price jump, almost all of which occurred after Biden took office.
Milk is even worse. In 2018, one gallon of whole milk cost $2.98. Now, the grocery store’s off-brand milk costs $4.89, a price increase of almost 70 percent.
Milk is an input into multiple other foods, such as cheese, sour cream, cream for your morning coffee, and more. So when milk goes up, it has a big effect on the prices of many other edibles.
The other two non-specialty brands available, both Midwest-specific, cost $4.99 per gallon and a whopping $5.39. The latter was the last one on the shelf, an all-too-familiar sight in Biden’s America.
Eggs are some of the worst offenders of all. Americans paid $1.65 for a dozen of Grade A, large eggs in 2018. Now, those eggs cost $3.49 for 12.
I’ll spare you the math. That’s a nearly 112 percent spike that’s coincided with the current president’s time in office. The cost has more than doubled.
Pasta, Bread, and Baking
Bread and pasta used to be reliably inexpensive staples of the American diet. It’s why go-to meals for lower-income families often include PB&Js for lunch and spaghetti for dinner. But they’re not so inexpensive anymore.
Wheat bread in 2018 cost $1.95 per pound. Now it costs $3.19, a 64 percent rise.
The cost of white bread has skyrocketed. Four years ago, it ran consumers just $1.29 per pound. Today it’s $2.79. That’s a 116 percent spike.
And while the price of spaghetti in September 2018 was $1.20 per pound, America’s go-to pasta now costs $1.84, meaning it’s risen in price by more than half.
Speaking of rising by half, that’s also what’s happened to the price of sugar. Four years ago, it cost just 58 cents per pound. Now it costs 87.
Flour is even worse, with a 70 percent increase. In 2018 it cost an average of 47 cents per pound, and today it costs 80.
Meat and Cheese
A consistent complaint among Americans is the cost of meat, and it’s easy to see why. Prices are up considerably for some of consumers’ most reliable protein sources.
Chicken breasts cost an average of $2.90 per pound during the Trump midterm era. During Biden’s midterm season, they are running at $4.99 per pound. That’s a 72 percent increase for what was arguably one of the most basic, versatile, and affordable of poultry proteins. The upward trend started about the same time the Biden administration took the reins of the U.S. economy.
Ground beef, another staple, is up from $3.74 per pound in 2018 to a staggering $6.29 per pound now. No, that’s not for organic. It’s a good thing the summer season is coming to a close, because those cookouts were getting painfully expensive — 68 percent more expensive for the burgers than just a few years ago.
The cheese for the top of those burgers went up a bit too. While cheddar cheese ran about $5.13 per pound in 2018, it’s up to about $6.00 now, for a nearly 17 percent rise.
Junk food isn’t exempt from Biden’s inflation, either, so if you’ve got a salty craving, expect to pay more to satisfy it — at least twice as much, actually.
In September 2018, potato chips were $4.43 for 16 ounces. Now they cost more than that for a regular price 8-ounce bag.
That means today potato chips are $9.18 for 16 ounces at my grocery store, a 107 percent jump for the simple pleasure.
So … ‘Hardly at All’?
This is a lot of figures to make sense of, but it’s safe to say a single-digit inflation rate doesn’t capture it, and you definitely wouldn’t describe the prices as up “barely an inch.” In fact, among these basic items in my shopping survey, prices were up an overall average of 70 percent since just the Trump midterms!
Of course, it should go without saying that groceries in some parts of the country will be cheaper than in the Midwest city where I live, while others will be more expensive. And of course, consumers can sometimes find more affordable off-brands than some of the above, just as they could find brands that are much spendier. But these 2018 BLS statistics are “U.S. city average[s],” meaning it’s fair and accurate to compare them to mid-tier brands in this American city in 2022 — and the comparison is damning.
The left-wing media and Biden apologists will retort that prices are the fault of a virus or Vladimir Putin or malicious corporations, but the administration’s reckless fiscal policies speak for themselves. And it isn’t as though other presidents don’t have to contend with geopolitical forces or crises outside their control. When Trump was in office, everything from an airborne virus to Twitter spats was his fault. Now that Biden is commander in chief, it’s only right that the direct consequences of his policy failures be laid at his feet.
So consider this a fact-check. Biden’s claim that inflation is up “hardly at all” deserves pants-on-fire status and all the Pinocchios. But Americans don’t require a fact-check. They just got home from the grocery store, and they’re shocked at what they see.
Kylee Griswold is an assistant editor at The Federalist. She previously worked as the copy editor for the Washington Examiner magazine and as an editor and producer at National Geographic. She holds a B.S. in Communication Arts/Speech and an A.S. in Criminal Justice and writes on topics including feminism and gender issues, religion, and the media. Follow her on Twitter @kyleezempel.
One of the things that went largely unnoticed about yesterday’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is how little consensus there is about the median term future.
Fed officials are in very close agreement about the path of the Federal Funds rate this year and next year, according to the dot plot of the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP). Eight of the FOMC participants see the target range between four and 4.25 percent, and nine see the range at 4.25 to 4.50 percent. One outlier sees it a quarter point higher, and one sees it a quarter point lower.
There are three levels that get a lot of support for the end of 2023 projection. There are six FOMC participants who foresee a range of 4.25 to 4.50 percent, six who see 4.50 to 4.75, and six who see 4.75 to 5.00 percent. One outlier sees the target range between 3.75 and four percent. The point is that the Fed’s projections are pretty tightly clustered around three positions that are themselves close to one another.
Now look out to 2024. There’s no consensus at all. There are two officials each for each of the three quarter-point increments between 4.75 to 4.50 percent and 4.25 and four. There are four for 3.75 to four percent. Three each for the next two quarter-point increments below that. At the bottom there is one participant for each of the three quarter-point increments from 3.25 to three percent to 2.75 to 2.5 percent. The projections, in other words, are all over the place.
This was not always the case. In the prior SEP, released back in June, there were eight forecasts at the 3.35 percent to 3.50 percent range. There were still outliers above and below that, but it was clear there was a centrist view. Now there really isn’t. The most popular view at the September meeting—3.75 to four percent—attracts half as many participants as the most popular view did in June.
To put it slightly differently, back in June, there were half as many hawks with projections above the most popular view. There were six doves below the most popular view. Now the hawks and doves outnumber the center in both directions.
It’s no wonder Fed Chair Jerome Powell continuously emphasized just how uncertain the future is. As he put it on Wednesday, “These projections do not represent a Committee decision or plan, and no one knows with any certainty where the economy will be a year or more from now.”
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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