submitted 3 weeks ago by MicroWave to c/politics

Nearly three in five Americans wrongly believe the US is in an economic recession, and the majority blame the Biden administration, according to a Harris poll conducted exclusively for the Guardian. The survey found persistent pessimism about the economy as election day draws closer.

The poll highlighted many misconceptions people have about the economy, including:

  • 55% believe the economy is shrinking, and 56% think the US is experiencing a recession, though the broadest measure of the economy, gross domestic product (GDP), has been growing.

  • 49% believe the S&P 500 stock market index is down for the year, though the index went up about 24% in 2023 and is up more than 12% this year.

  • 49% believe that unemployment is at a 50-year high, though the unemployment rate has been under 4%, a near 50-year low.

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[-] [email protected] 124 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago)

While I'm not going to blame Biden for the economic situation right now since his policies look more like they've cushioned us against a much worse economic situation by pumping money into state-side manufacturing, I absolutely fucking HATE how out of touch economists are these days. They look at productivity (the value of which barely gets to workers), the stock market, or at spending that's driven by debt and rich people, and say "everything looks fine. Oh, most of you can't afford to eat, or get a job? Sounds like a personal problem."

If the conclusions that economists come to are so consistently out of touch with the experience of the average person, maybe they should fix their fucking outlook criteria!!

I think it was another post on here that had a bunch of [good] economists write a paper stating that if the inflation formula had accounted for borrowing costs like they USED TO, the inflation numbers would match much more closely with public sentiment, after having topped out at 18 fucking percent at the height in 21/22.

And of course there's how, at the height of the pandemic, they blantantly changed the criteria for what counts as a recession at all to say "no worries guys, everythings fine" when we were absolutely in a recession based on the old criteria.

Fuck economists

[-] givesomefucks 36 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago)

It's metrics.

American culture has an absolutely horrible relationship with metrics.

For "the economy" the metrics are profits of corporations. Because back in the day that would generally translate to employee pay, number of employees, and how much money was changing hands.

But metrics should never be the final thing you look at, it's just an indicator.

Like, if your engine light isn't on but black smoke is pouring out from the engine...

It's probably best to look under the hood at what's actually happening.

But because our economy is based of wealthy investors, and they just care about the metrics, people game the metrics and come up with this rosey view of how things are.

Regular Americans don't care about the metrics that are being gamed. We're looking at the crazy person who's driving a car around that's obviously on fire. When they wave at us like everything is normal, it's not reassuring, it makes us think that person has no clue what's going on, and it's probably not a good idea to let them keep driving

[-] [email protected] 27 points 3 weeks ago

That's not just America. The whole world is addicted to a school of economics that "models" reality without ever actually studying it.

Most economists basically operate in a world of frictionless spherical cows moving in an infinite vacuum, and then from this try to infer useful data about the expected price of milk.

[-] Viking_Hippie 9 points 3 weeks ago

Most economists basically operate in a world of frictionless spherical cows moving in an infinite vacuum, and then from this try to infer useful data about the expected price of milk


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[-] [email protected] 23 points 3 weeks ago

if the inflation formula had accounted for borrowing costs like they USED TO, the inflation numbers would match much more closely with public sentiment

It is a total mystery why they removed it!

[-] Viking_Hippie 17 points 3 weeks ago

Last year, they actually put out a report stating that inflation was back to normal "when you discount the costs of groceries, power, housing and fuel" 🤦

You know, just minor luxury items that everyone can choose to forgo if they want to!

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[-] [email protected] 73 points 3 weeks ago

As a millennial in the middle class it feels like we've been in a recession since 2008.

[-] CharlesDarwin 30 points 3 weeks ago

IIRC, wages have been flat to down since the 1970s, so it's likely this cuts across many generations, from the "greatest generation" on, and soon including generation alpha.

[-] [email protected] 11 points 3 weeks ago

It hasn't been felt until the millennials, for sure. That's when the rifts really started to widen. Around the early 2000's

[-] CharlesDarwin 14 points 3 weeks ago

Eh, that's not my experience. I saw what corporate downsizing and Ronnie Raygunism did to the boomers and some of their parents' generation during the 80s. Many of us Gen Xers were very cynical about corporations as a result of early 90s recession (though some may have later forgot those lessons) and the growing corporate rule and the rise of things like Manpower and temp work - many of us chuckled when we saw the usual suspects rebranding this as the "gig economy" as if this was a good thing for workers.

Of course, many of our generation got burned, and burned hard, by the boom/bust cycles like the dot-com bubble and the real-estate speculation that came after. But then, so did older and younger generations.

When the poor and middle class suffers, it's not like just one set of people that happened to be born between certain years and are lumped into one group (mostly for marketing purposes, by the way) are the only ones affected.

As someone else points out here, though, for the first time in a long time, though, real wages have gone up in the very recent past. If that is a trend, it would be a reversal of literally decades of it not going up. I suspect it is not, being the cynic I am, and eyeing things like AI and the automation it is/will be enabling. I also think the uptick is partly a result of Covid and the powers that be seek to reverse any gains ASAP.

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[-] [email protected] 73 points 3 weeks ago

Everything costs more, housing prices near me still rising, and my wage stays the same. If this is what a good economy looks like then give me a bad one.

[-] Passerby6497 27 points 3 weeks ago

Having lived through 2008, you keep that wish to yourself.

[-] [email protected] 11 points 3 weeks ago

I bought my first house in 2009 - $125,000 on an income of $45,000. I even got a first time homebuyer credit of ~$8,000 to help make the purchase easier.

I make a little over $200,000 today, and I'm completely priced out of the market. I doubt I'll ever own a home again and am currently living in a rundown old sailboat.

I'd take 2008 over this economy any day of the week!

[-] Thrashy 11 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago)

Good for you. In 2008 I went from having standing offers for paid internships at a half-dozen architecture firms to not knowing of a single open entry-level position in a 500 mile radius, and it stayed that way for almost three years. I graduated in 2010 and spent the next year mostly-unemployed in my parents' spare bedroom, applying to every listing for a fresh-out position nationwide and not getting so much an automated courtesy email to let me know my resume didn't make it the top of the pile of hundreds of others doing the exact same thing. I spent a year working for less than minimum wage as an illegally-misclassified "contractor" sorting mail and running errands, just to get an architecture firm on my resume. My best friend from architecture school became a barista and joined the National Guard to cover his student loan payments, and didn't land a job in the field he spent five years training to enter for another five years.

Inflation sucks right now, but this is a fucking cakewalk compared to the Great Recession. Lucky for you that you were in a position to capitalize on the misfortune of others, but don't forget for a second that millions of us went through years of misery.

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[-] Son_of_dad 71 points 3 weeks ago

Tbf I don't blame people for not knowing the economy is good right now. Because that shit doesn't affect anyone positively except the wealthy.

For most of us, the economy is bad? Cost of living/groceries goes up. Economy is great? Cost of living/groceries goes up. It makes no difference to us who aren't stock gamblers, whether the country is in recession, we certainly are. When the economy is good we see no benefit to us at the bottom whatsoever

[-] AA5B 29 points 3 weeks ago

First thing that makes sense here - income inequality has been increasing over time, and either side will see completely different economy

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[-] just_another_person 61 points 3 weeks ago

Polling isn't going to change people's minds about it FEELING like a recession. It certainly feels like anyone who owns or controls any sort of economic production is on a cash-grab bender, jacking up prices on absolutely everything, and finding new ways to exploit the populace while the getting is good. People can't afford the basic staples of life. It FEELS pretty dire.

[-] [email protected] 12 points 3 weeks ago

I made a post about this sometime ago about this split in expectations. People know that the economy is fine, actually great, for businesses they just don't think its good for them.


~Anti~ ~Commercial-AI~ ~license~ ~(CC~ ~BY-NC-SA~ ~4.0)~

[-] Son_of_dad 9 points 3 weeks ago

Like I've said above. Economy is bad? Costs of living and items go up.

Economy is GREAT! costs of living and items go up.

The economy's health only benefits the wealthy who can afford to play stocks, etc. It makes absolutely no difference to the rest of us who are getting fucked no matter how good the economy is

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[-] Suavevillain 50 points 3 weeks ago

People can't afford rent and food. The most Biden has done to address the corporate greed and price gouging is telling them to knock it off lol. The attempts at trying to gaslight people into believing the economy is good won't work.

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[-] [email protected] 46 points 3 weeks ago

Corpo say economy is great because green line. I went from $200 for a month of food to $400 while losing 30 pounds. Retirement is fiction. I even got a new job paying double of what my old job was just to stay stagnant.

There not playing the same game as us.

[-] [email protected] 18 points 3 weeks ago

Yeah, when people's personal experience is the same as what happens in a recession, they will think we are in a recession.

[-] [email protected] 15 points 3 weeks ago

Looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, acts like a duck. Clearly thats a booming economy and not a duck.

[-] AshMan85 11 points 3 weeks ago

and that game is rigged.

[-] jmanes 41 points 3 weeks ago

Any working class person living in the elements of this economy will tell you it is not good; cherry-picked indicators in these reports be damned. When the people tell you they are hurting in numbers this large, leaders must listen, not ignore.

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[-] Pixlbabble 40 points 3 weeks ago

By good economy you mean corporations making gang bucks while the people are being bled dry and putting shit on credit.

[-] NielsBohron 13 points 3 weeks ago

making gang bucks

I think you mean "like gangbusters," but it's totally possible "making gang bucks" is a term I just haven't heard before.


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[-] militaryintelligence 36 points 3 weeks ago

It's not a recession, it's outright class warfare.

[-] givesomefucks 36 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago)

The issue is voters talk about how regular people are doing, while politicians talk about "the economy" which is rich people and business....

For them, shits going great. Because their record profits are coming from regular Americans being priced gouged.

Also, I stopped reading when the article clearly couldn't understand inflation compliants.

The poll underscored people’s complicated emotions around inflation. The vast majority of respondents, 72%, indicated they think inflation is increasing. In reality, the rate of inflation has fallen sharply from its post-Covid peak of 9.1% and has been fluctuating between 3% and 4% a year.

In April, the inflation rate went down from 3.5% to 3.4% – far from inflation’s 40-year peak of 9.1% in June 2022 – triggering a stock market rally that pushed the Dow Jones index to a record high.

The inflation rate is slowly going down. But it's a rate, prices are still up and continuing to go up. That 9.1% from 2022 is still baked into the 3% increase we're experiencing.

Like. Say it was 100, 9% increase makes it 109. 3% of 109 is more than 3% of 100...

It's compounded, but it's not complicated and anyone writing about economics should understand that and explain it to their readers when talking about inflation rates.

So the inflation rate should go down but it's not like that means lower prices, it just means 1% increase now is more than a 1% increase in the past.

And that's not even getting into the harsh truth about inflation and capitalism:

A lack of inflation means people save money. That takes money out of circulation. A lot of our problems are because the wealthy do that with huge sums.

If enough money gets taken out of circulation then it leads to a recession as there's less money floating around and changing hands.

We need inflation to prop up this bullshit economic system the wealthy are obsessed with.

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[-] HeyThisIsntTheYMCA 32 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago)

Economists call this a K shaped recovery. People at the top of the economy stop being in a recession. People at the bottom of the economy stay in the recession. Net, it looks like a recovery.

[-] [email protected] 12 points 3 weeks ago

Except it's literally the opposite of that - wages at the top are not keeping pace with inflation (whether to blame Biden for the massive 2022 inflation spike is a somewhat different story), but wages at the bottom are increasing, even outpacing inflation. All the lines are squeezing together.

[-] [email protected] 10 points 3 weeks ago

Those lines have been diverging for over a generation. You'll need a vice grip the size of the Grand Canyon to squeeze hard enough make any real world difference.

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[-] themeatbridge 28 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago)

You need to ask yourself why? If unemployment is low and the economy is growing, then why are 3 in 5 struggling? If you have a room with 100 people and 100 pizzas, statistically the room has plenty of food. If 60 of the people complain that they are hungry, you wouldn't scoff and tell them, "stop complaining, look at all the statistical pizza in the room! Things are actually quite good for everyone." Sure, maybe some are falling for propaganda, but propaganda doesn't get you 3 out of 5 people.

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[-] hark 20 points 3 weeks ago

The majority of Americans know their situation sucks, they're just not able to express it in numbers, probably because they're busy trying to live their lives. These articles do nothing but smugly highlight that the numbers are tracking the wrong things. Unemployment being low doesn't mean much if a huge chunk of employment is shitty gig work. The stock market being up doesn't anything if over 90% of the stock market is owned by 10% of people. GDP doesn't mean shit and a prime example of that is Canada having nearly 40% of their GDP being made up by overpriced housing, in that case it's just people selling housing at each other and jacking up prices each time while renting it out at exorbitant rates. Not really much being produced there, certainly nothing that improves people's lives (except speculators).

[-] DarkCloud 18 points 3 weeks ago

It is a recession for the bottom majority of the country... That's what happens when economic growth is only benefiting the top half ....

It is a recession for many folks, and that's a real problem that pretending it's not happening won't erase for them.

[-] [email protected] 17 points 3 weeks ago

Isn't this the same old "ThE eCoNoMy Is DoInG gReAt, WhY aRe YoU cOmPlAiNiNg?" BS as always?

The average person doesn't care how well the rich people's game is going if they're struggling to afford their groceries because of said rich people's game.

[-] [email protected] 16 points 3 weeks ago
[-] secretlyaddictedtolinux 15 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago)

This really misses the big problem. For many people, the costs that are most inelastic (like food and housing) are the ones with the most inflation. For people in financial situations that aren't great, there aren't easy ways to lower costs.

Inflation statistics like the CPI also grossly inaccurately measure what an accurate basket of good is by including many things that are frivolous and so it totally misses how people are feeling. Did the price of a large television go down slightly decreasing the overall inflation a bit? Yes, but I still need to buy incredibly expensive food. I don't need to buy a TV. That makes me worried. I can't cut down on food.

This leads to having to consider things like: should I try to move to an even smaller place (since my tiny place is incredibly expensive), which results in moving costs? Should I look for a better paying job and is it likely I will find that and what happens if my employer finds out and fires me because I am searching for a new job?

There are also large feelings of uncertainty about the economy and about inflation. For those who own property and purchased it a lower cost than the market rate, things are fine. For everyone else, it's terrible.

Biden is doing a horrible job of being realistic about how people feel about these things. He is looking at ivory tower economic statistics and either he doesn't get it or isn't acknowledge it. The message from him is that he's doing a good job and things are improving. That isn't reassuring. It feels like a "let them eat cake" mentality. I'd much rather have him say "yes, certain things in the economy are problematic" and then either say how they will be improved or just bluntly say the best option is to not do anything because doing things (like market interference) is potentially worse.

I support the rights of trans people, and I like some of Biden's ideas, however for most lower middle class people who are completely stressed out, Biden seems like a terrible option. Even for lower middle class people who dislike Trump, they at least view him as a realist. I am left not knowing if Biden is ignorant of how people who don't own homes are feeling or if Biden is being so defensive with his record that he seems out of touch, but either way, he will definitely lose at his current trajectory.

He keeps not addressing this problem and it's a big problem for many voters, probably over half of all swing voters are affected by this. I wish I could advise Biden on what to say and do to improve his poll numbers, because many of the problems that bother large segments of the voters are things that could be easily resolved through the executive office without new laws while adhering to classical economic theory, but he's not going to make the needed changes, I have no way of suggesting things except sending a letter that will not be read but instead will just be summarized as a view (like "letter received, opinion is inflation is bad").

He is going to keep relying on ivory tower economic statistics because fundamentally he's a career politician, he believes his bureaucrats or lacks the ability to understand the real experiences behind the data, and Trump is going to swoop right in and pluck every disaffected swing voter or disaffected Democrat he doesn't reach. The fact that Biden is also doing cool or nice or interesting things in terms of other policy choices doesn't somehow make up for this major weakness in ignoring this.

The fact that The Guardian is referring to the public's "misconceptions" highlights how journalists and also politicians just regurgitate erudite statistics without reflecting on their real world implication, as though regular voters were just wrong or stupid. This is also a problem of Democrats at large who don't know how to take academic research and information and look to the real-world meaning of it and then communicate effectively with regular people or implement practical policies based on this data.

So yeah, Biden will definitely lose. Trans people should figure out how to organize now for possible fascism, which sucks. They should figure out how to technologically, emotionally, and organizationally prepare for a worse case scenario. I can't fathom Biden would win.

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[-] Treczoks 13 points 3 weeks ago

Maybe the commercal and financial Egonomy is on the rise. But the private economy of the average citizen is nof.

[-] [email protected] 12 points 3 weeks ago

No one cares that businesses are doing well if they aren’t paying their employees

[-] [email protected] 11 points 3 weeks ago

It's sad to see the conservative's plan to dumb down America working so well

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[-] Cornpop 9 points 3 weeks ago

Well it fucking is. Everyone is broke. No one is spending like they were a few years ago.

[-] IsThisAnAI 8 points 3 weeks ago

The US has done quite well weathering the last few years but everyone is still pissed off and blaming Biden.

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this post was submitted on 22 May 2024
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