Year-end accounts of the U.S. economy are very strong indeed. According to Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal—which are certainly not giddy media outlets—U.S. economic output has jumped more than 7% in the last three months of 2021. Overall growth for 2021 should be about 6%, and economists predict growth of around 4% in 2022—the highest numbers the U.S. has seen in decades. China’s growth in the same period will be 4%, and the eurozone (which is made up of the member countries of the European Union that use the euro) will grow at 2%.
Once again. HCR has provided fact-based, objective analysis of what is going on in our country. As many have stated, she is a national treasure. I worry that she cannot keep up the pace she has set for herself, so that I (we) can be informed.
It is heartening to see that intellectual hard work is being recognized by a growing segment of our society. May it continue to reach, albeit too slowly, the bastions of illogical, uninformed thought in our country.
In my opinion, she and her “Letters From An American” should have been recognized as Time’s Person of the Year!
Thank you, take care of yourself. We need you!
We have all this focus on Senator Manchin the past week, but as one MSNBC commentator pointed out the problem is the 50 Republicans who are obstructing President Biden's agenda. It now feels like instead of focusing on Manchin maybe we should spend some time changing the math in the Senate and find the Senators like perhaps Alaska's Senator Murkowski and others that are detecting the waning of tfg's hold on the GQP. Statements like Senator McConnell saying bad things happened on Jan. 6th and Americans need to know about it. And tfg not being able to fill large stadiums on his recent tour. Surely there are two moderate, sane, courageous R Senators that could be the Cheney and Kizzinger of the Senate. That's all it would take to override the vetos of Senators Sinema and Manchin. I'm also hopeful that President Biden who knows the Senate so well has a plan for changing Senate rules without the two hold-outs. Between the revelations of the Jan. 6 committee, a strong economy that will not be ignored, and some tricky but doable math in the Senate the new year 2022 is going to start out well ... and end well in November. The R's have gone too far in ignoring the will of the People. Just like the Christmas is three days after the Winter Soltice when ancients realize the days were getting longer, the Winter of Autocracy just may be turning into the Spring of Democracy.
Great economic news. It sounds like reality s starting to emerge from under the ice of The Big Lie. Hearing the truth is the best Christmas present anyone could wish for. Thank you, Heather for keeping us focussed on reality in 2021!
Thank you Dr. Richardson, especially for the economic summary. I don’t know how you pull together so much info, so efficiently!
It’s a relief to know you’ll catch what I can’t find elsewhere.
And please take care of yourself. No one else could fill your shoes.
In the briefest of a conversation I had recently with a staunch angry old white guy Trumper (I am surrounded by them here in proud boy hood), he was railing about how Biden was "destroying this country". I asked how, by creating the strongest economy we've seen in decades, and hasn't his stock gone up? He had zero response and we left it at that.
So why is this good news not what influences peoples' perception of the economy? My thoughts on that:
1. The vast majority of Americans are as ignorant about economics as they are about world geography. They can lament that gasoline costs 'too much' at the pump with no idea of what affects gasoline production and markets.
2. We are inundated by ALL media with trivial and irrelevant information thought (by a lazy media feeding lazy minds) to reflect the state of the economy. So rising gas prices, BAD, because inflation, BAD. No concept of rising gas prices partly because more demand=more people out and about( good)/doing things(good)/earning money(good)/spending money(maybe good)......just cost more= bad because 'everybody says so.' 3. Bad news is believed and travels; good news is suspect and buried (the 'evil that men do' ..and all that).
3. Information overload, and the cacophony of competing megaphones distorts our sense of reality. We cannot process it all and still conduct our lives. What is plausible to many, given the amount of disinformation being scattered and absorbed indiscriminately, makes 'Alice in Wonderland' seem biographical rather than fictional.
No wonder people are moving to Idaho. (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2017/estimates-idaho.html)
They're not just escaping Covid. They're looking for quiet and a place to sort things out. Amen.
I wish that every citizen would read your astute overview of our economic situation at present. I, for one, am going to spread it far and wide! We need to know where we stand and the remarkable levels which President Biden has attained for us!
What we know, how we come to know it, and knowledge as the basis of doing the right thing - epistemology and ethics - define he human condition. Religion, philosophy, and science -whether we know things through revelation, reason, or perception - play a part.
We have wracked our brains as far back as we have a written record. We 'know' things in our guts, our heart, by our eyes, through our ears. I purposefully refer to body parts because scientific imaging is giving us a clearer picture of the physiological basis of not only how we know what we know, but also the degree to which we consciously decide what we do. And this is where it gets unsettling.
Because a lot is hidden from our consciousness. And although we are learning why negative statements have a more profound and lasting impact and why lies take hold, how to develop effective strategies and tactics for articulating and propagating factual knowledge has not caught up. In government, the best we can do is coming to consensus on the provisional truths of science and the contextual truths of history, through reasoned debate of the empirical evidence.
The Founders kept God out of the Constitution and religion out of the procedures of civic law, not only to protect us from the imposition of religious practices but the irrationalities of the religious mind set. The absolute truths of religion - the leap of faith - are best left to the pew snd prayer mat.
Republican small government is the lie which engendered the Republican big lie about the 2020 election - which sought not only to shrink government but to drown it. And that both have taken hold of what people think they know and what they should do, can be laid at the door of the door of the Republican politics of faith.
I am optimistic about the potential for politics and policies to answer challenges and crises. I am even optimistic about the possibility mitigating ignorance and irrationality. But I crack my teeth on the hard nut of what Hannah Arendt termed the banality of evil - the thoughtlessness of people who focus only on advancing their own interests with no concern for the horrors they set in motion which may consume their neighbors, communities, nation and even planet. Because God speaks to them through a Trump. That people will go to the mats, even electing a Trump, to save a fetus - with no thought to how the Republican agenda is destructive of all life.
Oh well, it seems that a major problem is the messaging that people are hearing and it’s not just defining the cult. The big lie covers a lot of territory; Fox and clones never miss a chance to lie and misrepresent; MSM will “both sides” us into oblivion; and even the “Just the facts, Ma’am” PBS blathers against Joe much of the time. Propaganda works. Do we need a Minister of Anti-propaganda? Somebody needs to get the word out or it matters not what Dems are doing. Last week I heard my sensible gdaughter repeat a lie common on Fox re the speed with which the vaccines were produced. She had not heard of the work done on Ebola before Covid even reared it’s head. God knows what the young are being exposed to. We had better care…
Book recommendation: Fiona Hill's There is No Place Here for You is like one of Heather's great articles relating history to our current time. Dr. Hill is the daughter of a coal miner in the North of England in decline and coal mines closing. She's describing West Virginia. Her triple comparison and parallels of Great Britian, the Soviet Union and the United States are eye opening. She describes President Reagan meeting in Moscow with Gorbachev in 1987. It brings back memories for me of being in the midst history in Berlin in June 1990 after the Wall had fallen in November but just a month before East and West Germany reunited in July and while the Bush Gorbachev summit was happening.
As a former investment professional (analyst/portfolio manager) I found the general public often underestimated the strength and overestimated the weakness of the U.S. economy. When I started out at Fidelity in the late 1970's, a couple of the fund managers told me my undergraduate degree in psychology would serve me better than my MBA in "understanding" group behavior and the vagaries of the stock market (this was before algorithms which can greatly skew the ups and downs of economic fundamentals).
HCR very succinctly summarizes the good macro economic news yet people remain woefully uninformed (intentionally or unintentionally). In my world that lack of understanding provided investment opportunity. Unfortunately, political ignorance has very different and dire consequences.
Media coverage of the economy has been shameless. Successes have been consistently underplayed. In my long life I've never seen a situation where people had so much choice in finding work. Are there still problems? Sure. We're still in a pandemic. But let's celebrate big achievements.
In the face of such economic success, this is one hot mess. The MSM is terribly wrong for its pillorying of Biden. You didn't mention Manchin, but his lies and obfuscations muddy the waters of truth. May the force be with the Jan 6 Commission and their work to open the can o' worms!
I love that trump just can’t keep his mouth shut!! Keep digging that hole donnie.
Good morning and blessings to all as we head into a Merry Holidays weekend. I’m still a True Believer and embrace the wonder of Santa Claus every year. Whatever your end of year traditions, enjoy yourself and others. Remember that winter is a cloak that protects and gives rest time for the Spring of the new year to emerge. And I’m with Cathy who referred to it as the coming Spring of Democracy.
There is some messaging out there that is relevant, truthful, and not beholden to corruption. I love riding on the enthusiastic, somewhat provocative and crazy good wave of the Politics Girl podcasts. Here’s the latest.
Love and Peace and Unity to us all. 💜🎅🏻🎅🏼🎅🏽🎅🏾🎅🏿🤶🏻🤶🏼🤶🏽🤶🏾🤶🏿
Due to a little insomnia I read the Atlantic article by Barton Gellman titled January 6 was Practice. The overall point that jumped out is his researcher was looking for correlations in the people who showed up that day— they had trouble finding any until they noticed that most of them came from counties where there had been growth in black/brown population. Racism does appear to be the chief motivator to curtail voting rights and potentially have a bloodier takeover.