Over the past year or more, there’s been a consistent narrative that the U.S. economy is doing well and on the uptick. While most recognize that Trump’s descriptions of a “perfect economy” or “the best economy in history” are absurd, the liberal, mainstream media consistently talks about the “strong economy” in the U.S and cites it as a campaign asset for Trump. But in its own pages, adjunct to its declarations of economic strength, are countless stories and examples of the opposite–that the U.S. economy is not doing that well, and more importantly that mega-millions of people are living in precarity, are vulnerable, are suffering.
The “strong economy” narrative generally pivots on two points–stock market levels and unemployment data. The stock market is at record highs, over 29K, so if one is invested or has a 401 (k), then things are probably looking up. But, as one of the charts below shows, that’s a small percentage of Americans. As for unemployment, it is significantly low, but where that would usually lead to a significant increase in wages, it has not. Wages are static.
For some time I’ve been meaning to write a piece on this topic–claims of economic strength amid countless stories of economic struggle–but that would require work, and as Homer Simpson said, trying is the first step toward failure. So I’ve collected a sampling of articles I’ve saved in a folder I have labeled “U.S. Economy 2019” and I’m posting the links below as a resource to anyone who wants to know more on the issue. I’ve tried to group the articles by topic, but it’s not the best-organized thing you’ll ever see. Still, the news and the data is there. While there’s a fair number of articles and studies below, it’s a tiny share of what I’ve seen and what’s out there on the topic. It’s not hard to rebut the idea that the economy is strong….
The overall theme of all this information is that Capitalism is deficient and not getting better. The vast majority live in precarity at best. Media narratives of a “strong economy” are the real fake news.
Note: Many of the cites below are articles, but mostly based on fed data. If possible (meaning, if easy) I’ve used establishment sources to show the various economic problems facing the U.S. Among the sources to check are the Federal Reserve Board and its constituent banks, the International Monetary Fund, Wall Street bank reports, the Wall Street Journal, trade associations, and of course the Grey Lady and WaPo. Plenty of lefty publications have great economic work, usually better actually, but I’ve avoided them below for the most part just because it’s easier to quote internal ruling-class stories about the economy. I would strongly rec, however, Michael Roberts Blog. It’s a must-read.