From Peter Reagan at Birch Gold Group
Corporate media headlines like Biden’s Economy Is the Best Ever or The Bidenomics Success Story leave one big question unanswered…
Who is better off? (Lest we forget, “the economy” isn’t a citizen.)
Are you better off than you were thirty months, two and a half years ago?
Let’s set “the economy” aside for a moment. It’s easy to argue about abstractions. Let’s focus on individual Americans and their day-to-day lives.
We have seen a rebound from the economic damage caused by the pandemic panic and the government’s response. That’s to be expected! People are trying to move on with their lives. (Though the hardest hit areas could take up to five more years to recover.)
Since the end of the pandemic, “trying to move on with our lives” has gotten significantly more expensive:
In 2023, grocery prices increased 5.8%, which is why 71% of Americans are changing their spending habits according to the recent CNN poll.
Although the national average price for a gallon of gasoline has fallen from the all-time high of $5.02 in June of 2022, there is still pain at the pump for Americans.
Americans are seriously worried about their economic well-being and for good reason. For 26 straight months, until last June, the salary increases of Americans were outpaced by inflation, so “real wages” declined.
Groceries are 5.8% more expensive now. Inflation and real wage decline, though, have been punishing households month in, month out, for the last two years.
What about all the Inflation Eases headlines?
The rate of inflation has slowed – but the overall damage has gotten worse. That’s because the effects of inflation are cumulative:
A 10% increase one year and a 5% increase the next year is not a win, it means that you are now paying 15% more on average for everything you buy in the span of only two years.
When inflation “eases,” prices don’t go down – they just rise more slowly.
If we look at the last two and a half years, on net:
- Primary residence costs up 16% (and rent payments up about 25%)
- Food at home is up 20%
- Electricity up 21%
- Gasoline prices are up 72%
…and that’s just the necessities! It’s no wonder consumer debt is at an all-time high. An awful lot of people are maxing out their credit cards just to pay the bills.
Inflation doesn’t just raise the price you pay at the gas station or the grocery store, though. Inflation can also push asset prices up, as well.
If you don’t already own a home, you probably never will
Those interest rate hikes translate into higher costs for many forms of consumer credit. They’re most noticeable in the housing market, in the form of massive increases in mortgage costs.
According to Charlie Bilello, those higher mortgage rates have cut home purchasing power by a third:
Assuming a $3,000 monthly budget, a 2.65% mortgage rate in January 2021 could have bought you a home worth $641k. The same $3,000 budget today with a 7.23% mortgage rate could buy you a home worth $434k.
That’s a $207k (32%) decline in purchasing power.
Not only can today’s shoppers buy a lot less house for the same money, mortgage payments have skyrocketed by a staggering 85% over the last three years:
In March, the median monthly payment sat at nearly $2,100, according to data compiled by the Mortgage Bankers Association. That is a massive increase, more than 85%, from the $1,128 level median payments were at in April 2020.
So budgets are down, and expenses are up – but that’s not all!
Home prices have skyrocketed by 30.3% since January 2021, according to the Case-Shiller National Home Price Index:
Over the last 20 years, home prices have tripled. Buying a new home today costs 64% more than at the peak of the mid-2000s housing bubble!
Anyone in search of a new home today faces three powerful constraints: lower budgets, higher payments and much higher prices. That’s why we say, if you don’t already own a home, you probably never will.
It’s not just your imagination. Everything really is much more expensive.
So we repeat the question: Is this what a strong economy looks like?
Are you and your family better off today?
If the answer is indeed yes, congratulations! You’re an exclusive member of a very small minority. Because for most of us, the answer is a resounding No.
Reports of “inflation easing” are intentionally misleading
The bottom line is this: Don’t let corporate media talk of core inflation “easing” to 4.7% fool you. As you can plainly see from the data examined above, virtually everything that matters to American household budgets is significantly more expensive than it was just three years ago.
Thanks to inflation. The silent killer of your financial future.
That’s why diversifying your savings with inflation-resistant investments is crucial to your long-term financial stability. While you’re at it, consider whether including physical precious metals like gold and silver is a good idea for you.
Physical precious metals are tangible physical investments, like real estate. They’re incredibly liquid, like cash. Better still, they’re a great hedge against inflation. Diversifying with physical precious metals could help to preserve what remains of your buying power through these uncertain times.
“Bidenomics” may be a success for “the economy,” but somehow it’s still a miserable failure for most American families.
If you want to learn more, you can get all the information you need about diversifying your savings with gold and silver for free right here.