A couple really bad economic numbers

Every once in a while you get these "highest/lowest number since x numbers of decades". For example, I like this headline from two years ago: Interest rates haven’t been this low in 5,000 years.
That headline is now dated, but this one isn't.

The most troubling information in the GDP report is the precipitous drop in real disposable income, which fell over $1 trillion in 2022. For context, this is the second-largest percentage drop in real disposable income ever, behind only 1932, the worst year of the Great Depression.
To keep up with inflation, consumers are depleting their savings and burning through the "stimulus" checks they received during 2020 and 2021. Credit card debt continues growing, while savings plummeted $1.6 trillion last year, falling below 2009 levels.

Worse than 2008. Worse than 1982. Worse than 1974. Worse than 1937.
Biden might want to think twice about running on the economy.

That wasn't the only bad number.

In December, the percentage of subprime auto borrowers who were at least 60 days late on their bills climbed to 5.67% — a major increase from a seven-year low of 2.58% in April 2021, according to Fitch Ratings. It marks the steepest rate of Americans struggling to make their car payments since the 2008 financial crisis.

The American working class is not in good shape.

According to Bankrate’s Annual Emergency Fund Report, 68% of people are worried they wouldn’t be able to cover their living expenses for just one month if they lost their primary source of income. And when push comes to shove, the majority (57%) of U.S. adults are currently unable to afford a $1,000 emergency expense.

Things may be getting worse much more rapidly than is being admitted.

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shaharazade's picture

For now we work for ourselves we own our own business. Always has been precarious but at this point it seems better then any other options. We provide businesses with math, and data that help them market their way to increase their businesses. Nobody likes the math. We're the garbage men. Working for yourself is sometimes safer then working for the man. Still no security and a few months without clients would break us
Who in the hell has an emergency fund? We have low debt live on what we make. Get real. How much money would you need to cover one month. A lot at this point. Why scare the shit out of people. Now is now and welcome to the new reality. Take it as it comes and thank god your above water for now.


4 users have voted.

I cannot get over the frustration I felt in the spring of 2020 as the effort to "save lives" by shutting down a huge slice of civilization became a moral imperative. In real life, even more than on the internet, I ran into countless otherwise intelligent and progressive-minded people who refused to listen to the question about whether the cost of shutting down so much productive activity might be more damaging than the worst covid could do to humanity.

Even now with a growing underground re-examination of the myriad of lies and authoritarian excesses of the campaign, there is very little re-examination of the first premise of the fight against covid -- that the threat of mass illness and death was so great that extraordinary action were not just justifiable, but utterly necessary. Any dissent from this First Premise drew the accusation that you wanted people to die.

This attitude was damn near universal and I lost lifelong friendships over it.

Here is what I had to say about the continuing cost of the campaign very recently on this board. The topic was about big money voices starting to talk about a possible "recession" to come later this year. The linked material included a journalistic gloss to the effect that banks were solvent which undercut these predictions of a recession.

Banks well capitalized

With what? Money created by the trillion to paper over the massive reduction of global production in 2020. The markets are floating above the clouds with the emblematic Dow gliding along above 33,000 -- more than 30% higher than it was in 2017. Push will someday catch up with shove.

Recession? We have a depression ahead of us as the global economy has been fundamentally disrupted. Was this the real objective of the bizarre and unprecedented globalized contraction of 2020? Conceivably not, but personally I believe that crazy is as crazy does.

Maybe this Big Dog Palaver about a recession is yet another buy low, sell high gambit as the video suggests, and, as an individual, I really hope that is all it is. I fear that 1929 will seem like a hiccup compared to the collapse to come.

The "bottom line" is that you cannot have more than you produce.

I remember much grousing about how paltry the shut dowm "stimulus" was for all but the Powerful. Factually accurate, but oblivious to the non-ideological reality that you cannot have more than you produce, and sending money to banks or needy families both water down the buying power of money.

This is why I dissent from the interpretation that the covid war and the Putin war are nothing more than corrupt subsidies to Big Pharma and Big Daddy Warbucks, respectively. Yes, their "profits" are skyrocketing as a direct result of economic suicide. We'll see in a few more years what those megabucks will buy.

John Maynard Keynes saved capitalism from itself almost a century ago, by pointing out business needs customers.

I posted a diary with this unpopular idea on this board on October 18, 2020.


The New York Times article I linked is now behind a paywall, but the portions quoted get across the point that shutting down significant amounts of productive activity was known to be dangerous in and of itself, from the time it was originally dreamed up within the Shrub Administration.

Two plus years later, I have to admit that I did not think the papering over of the loss of so much productive activity could keep a depression at bay as long as it has already, but the facts related in today's diary suggest that the bubble could pop any time.

I walk around my West Hollywood neighborhood every day as part of my continuing recovery from a stroke. The number people sleeping on the sidewalk tells me that the depression has started for lots of folks already.

7 users have voted.

I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

2 users have voted.

I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

Cassiodorus's picture

-- that Joe Biden hates the working class. I really don't know how important the political class's messaging is anymore. The Republicans are incoherent except, you know, that they hate stuff. I would also like to know how happy America is with its crap "leadership." The standard MO seems to be to take money from "the owners of this country" and then tell the public "you have no choice." How much choice could you possibly have if the rest of the public elected a Congress that includes "George Santos" or whatever his real name is?

I might add that Biden won't be able to run on the "bringing manufacturing back to America" pitch either, unless things take a big u-turn.

8 users have voted.

"you can say what you want about this country and I love this place. I love the freedoms we used to have..." -- George Carlin

We lost. It's the "getting over it" part that we're having a hard time with.

Look ,our own government is against us. Most of us could probably have the IRS do our taxes. We don't have any way to hide income, we're on the books. Ever notice the tax breaks and incentives don't apply to you, because you don't have the income or borrowing power to take advantage of them? Want to buy a house, but your income limits your buying power? Sorry, no mortgage deduction for you. Buy a house, a beachfront getaway and a ski condo and Uncle Sam has your back. The more you make the more the government is there for you, and the dems and r's are shoulder to shoulder in support. The business of America is exploitation of the powerless, all while "our" government spouts rosy propaganda about democracy.

8 users have voted.

class. Just the way it is. The Democratic Party is now the Bachelor degree and Black Party, Republicans are still run by the cut my taxes because I'm rich, import workers, export jobs Party. And Democrats can sure get on board with all of that too.

All my tech stocks are up 16% over the month so I can't complain too much.

I have always kept enough in liquid assets to pay for a year with no work, even when earning were close to poverty. Have to, my family depends on me. I wish we'd shut down more for covid. We lost over a million people after all.

Direct payments to people were a lot less expensive than to businesses, and businesses don't need to survive. If I lose my business it doesn't mean I lose my house or car or we are on the street, it's just a business. PPP was a huge boondoggle.

I figure Biden has imported about a million low wage workers this year. Plenty to keep the upper middle class in house cleaners, waiters, landscapers, dog walkers, construction workers, farm workers, and above all else give corporate America some wage relief. I mean who wants to pay people enough to live on?

8 users have voted.

@ban nock

I always paid my help more than the minimum required.
It is how I kept workers. A sustainable income is,
in these times, a negotiable figure. Finding an employer
that understands this is dicey anymore.

3 users have voted.