Depending upon your age, two standard items in the news for most of your life, if not all of it, have been economic data and the stock market. The economic stagnation starting in the late 1960’s lasting into the 1980’s made the economy the top priority on everyone’s mind. Every election, it was one of the top issues. In the 80’s, Baby Boomers got into the financial markets, so the stock market and your 401K became a strange proxy for general happiness.
Something that has gone unremarked during the Trump era has been the fact that these paramount issues have dropped in priority with the media. On the Left the only thing that has mattered is hating Donald Trump and white people. On the Right, the only thing that matters is the various internal battles over what it means to be on the Right and where Trump fits into it. No one has noticed that the stock market has just about doubled in value during his presidency, despite it all.
Many on this side of the great divide mock public concern for the economy, but that is often just a pose. A primary goal of any human society is the prosperity of the people, as that is the point of human organization. Humans came together in larger and larger groups, in part, because it increased material prosperity. Even the communists were primarily focused on material prosperity. Read the book Red Plenty and you will see that no one is more materialist than a communist.
What’s odd about the sudden lack of interest in the economy and markets by ruling class media organs is that it is a central part of the Covid panic. Government shuttering businesses has to have an impact on the economy. Washington has been hurling money at the economy for a year now. The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet is probably going to top $10 Trillion to end the year. The 2020 deficit is over $3 Trillion. More money is promised for 2021, assuming current plans move forward.
Again, the massive economic upheaval caused by the government in response to Covid should be showing up in the economy and that should be news. In many cities, the restaurant industry has collapsed. San Francisco has seen an 85% decline, which is an unprecedented event. Big chains with connections into the ruling elite will survive, but the small ones will never come back. San Fran is hardly unique. The tyrant Cuomo is promising to finish off the restaurant industry in his state.
Of course, it is not all bad news. The nations rich people are doing well, which is no doubt a relief to everyone. Toll Brothers, the luxury home builder, reports they are having their best year in decades. Much of their business is around the Imperial Capital, where it is always good times, so Covid has been manna from heaven. Those trillions in new spending are laundered through Washington, so it means the locals are flush with cash for new cars and new homes.
On the flip side of this, we are seeing food lines turning up in what used to be middle-class parts of the country. Again, you would think this would be at the top of the news, but it gets limited coverage. Usually, it is someone on social media posting a picture of cars lined up at a food bank. The reason we have food lines is we have lots of people without work all of a sudden. It turns out that shutting down businesses and locking people in their homes increases unemployment.
One reason for the lack of interest in the economy is the numbers no longer make any sense to people. How can the stock market be booming when the economy is being cratered by lock downs? How can housing prices be soaring when we have food lines and massive small business failure? The official statistics are little help, as they are mostly wrong now. For a long time, the economic data was a rough approximation of the economy, but now it is just more noise from the system.
The point here is that the economy should be the big story. There are a lot of red flashing lights that suggest 2021 could make 2020 look like good times. Those millions lined up for free food are going to become a story, even if official media refuses to notice it. The collapse of small business will have a huge impact further up the supply chain in the next year. All of those closed restaurants had suppliers and those suppliers have suppliers and creditors.
The elephant in the room, of course, is the growing wealth gap in America. We are becoming a land of very rich people, a minor aristocracy we call the managerial class and then a vast population of peasants. The media is in the minor aristocracy, so from their perspective, things are doing well. They have theirs and their bosses are happy, so why bother talking about the economy? The politicians have no reason to discuss it for much the same reason. They are doing great.
Regardless, realty is that thing that does not go away when you stop believing in it and our economic reality is increasingly muddled. How long can the Federal Reserve keep buying up assets to maintain asset prices? What happens when those mortgage forbearance plans expire? Delinquency rates remain at levels you see in a severe economic crisis. How about those late rent payments? Those problems are not getting better with jobless claims going up.
The official media could ignore the economy for most of the Trump term, because the public was generally satisfied with what they were experiencing. That’s probably about to change, but they won’t have the orange man to blame for it. One consequence of the selection of the Pretender Biden is that the ruling class has no one to blame. They own it all now and if the people are not happy with the bread or the circuses, they know who is responsible for it.
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