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What a difference a month makes
Reality about inflation and spending, on the eve of the holiday season
I’m not an economist, never was and never will be but… deep research, via excellent sources has long been part of my profession. Also, by the grace of God and a good, common-sense midwestern upbringing, I have a knack for coming to conclusions about extremely complex topics. At this point in my career, I’m largely in service of the concept of, “paying it forward” for the greater good. For full transparency, the list of things that I do poorly is far longer, like skateboarding, surfing or staying quiet about glaring violations of truth and integrity. In my core specialty of, influence in support of national security, knowing how to find and sort out truth in comparison to trending narratives, has been an essential part of my career. As a tip, please remember that the use of narratives to influence is not about truth, it’s about meaning. As friend colleague and the founder of our think/ do tank says, “we don’t disagree over information about facts, we disagree over the meaning of those facts.
Narratives, a long and poorly misunderstood concept and field of academic rigor, was always at the core of any success I had professionally. Without understanding narrative, actual success at influence is no better than an educated guess. Like my esteemed colleagues at our think/ do tank, Narrative Strategies, I have taught and mentored the principles for US and NATO forces. As a practitioner or operator in uniform, my expertise is not only academic but bridges the gap between learning and doing. Explaining all of this would require a book so today, I will explain some hard to swallow truths about the ridiculous narratives about our economy used by political tribes, for last month’s midterm elections.
My point today, and I promise to be as brief as possible, are about core truths that will show you just how far politicians will go to sway voters with scare tactics or over-optimism. Being brief will not put much of a burden on readers, as they head into the holiday shopping and preparation crunch-time.
Now, a month after the midterms, inflation and the sky-is-falling narratives can hardly be found in the mouths of politicians. Neither can the overly optimistic narratives about the economy be found. Both of these narratives dominated campaigning for the midterms. Both are not true, one more than the other but deviation from reality in the Trump era, alternate reality era has come to be expected out of the right side of the aisle. Over-optimism and selective facts, the opposite side. Today, let’s fill in the gaps and build a clearer picture.
First point, inflation is and has been global since Xi’s China imposed a pandemic on the globe. There are plenty of reasons for this but most accepted economic principles apply, like, “too many dollars chasing too few goods.” Then there is the issue of disrupted supply chain obstacles as we saw throughout the pandemic and that somewhat still persist in certain sectors. Global failure to preemptively prepare for and address logistics and related issues, as recommended by crisis planners and existing playbook within the NSC, national security council. By all accounts, including an excellent review of the Trump administration’s handling of pandemic response, indicates failure on almost all levels.
Secondly, Americans are spending and to be more precise, they continue to spend at increased rates compared to last year and especially higher over 2019, pre-pandemic. Where we spend money is a little different but with expendable income like vacations and holidays still higher, indicates that inflation is not hurting as badly as politicians would have you believe.
Last but not least, the role of income disparity plays a role in how we view economic hurdles. It’s simple, “the more you have the less you worry” when it comes to inflation and paying bills. Income disparity in the US is a product of many factors but congressional legislative protectionism. of those above middle class and lower-class citizens is one of the painful factors. Lower- and middle-income families bear tax burdens and suffer from economic factors like inflation far worse than that above middle class. Middle- and lower-class citizens are also the primary targets of politicians who employ fearmongering as a primary tactic of electioneering.
The US history of using congressmen to provide legislation for the rich to become richer has long overshadowed the needs of lower and middle-class citizens. The battles against raising minimum wages has been epic for almost my entire adult life. Reducing oversight and regulations of businesses who put their own, ever-increasing profits over the stability and well-being of their workforce is another serious error in economic stability. Just look at companies like Amazon, whose efforts to keep unions out of their workplaces have filled headlines for decades. They are not alone.
The funding of anti-Union legislation comes from a large part our corporate elites. I’m not claiming that unions are always the good guys but without them entirely, workers’ economic stability or in some cases, viability is and will remain at risk. I offer some insight that for personal reasons I know a fair amount about. Here in Texas, a so-called “right to work” state, police and fireman can collectively bargain but teachers cannot. This allows our legislature to continue their decades long abuse of teachers. Teachers, even those nearing retirement have quit or have seriously entertained leaving teaching due to the abuse imposed by our government in Austin. Then, they have the nerve to scapegoat teachers for all of their fake, culture wars. Okay, as the husband of, father and father-in-law to, son of and cousin to generations of teachers, I’m already sensitive to this abuse. Sadly, the facts still fully support my statements.
So, to wrap this up and get on with your holiday prep weekend, let’s just say that instead of being influenced by politicians with their own interests at heart, seek facts from credible sources. None of these issues will go away until voters demand politicians who tell the truth and legislate with it. Even half-truths are dishonest. Conspiracy theories are dishonest on another, far worse level.
As far as facts, from a credible source, I have written often on this topic and will return to it here on TAT, sometime after the New Year.