Everybody was thrilled to get stimulus checks in the mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s free money!” many exclaimed. But nothing in life is free. This includes “free” things handed out by the government. According to estimates by Bloomberg Economics, US households will spend $5,200 more this year than they did last year on the same consumption basket. That breaks down to $433 extra in expenditures every single month.
The Atlanta Fed GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the second quarter of 2022 is 0.9 percent on June 8, unchanged from June 7 after rounding. After this morning’s wholesale trade release from the US Census Bureau, the nowcast of the contribution of inventory investment to second-quarter real GDP growth decreased from -1.61 percentage points to -1.62 percentage points.
What is particularly interesting about this chart is that today, Americans’ personal financial situation is not that bad, though the trend is definitely down. It is the six-month outlook that is most troubling. They see the storm clouds building. This perception will cause purchasing decisions to turn negative and then becomes a self-fulfilling phenomenon. Politically, it also spells trouble for the Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections.
We can see the economic deterioration virtually anywhere we look, and we can feel the economy slipping. We’re watching our economy being driven off a cliff in a blue convertible, and we can see the senile buffoon in the White House behind the wheel with the accelerator floored and a stupid look on his face.