Last week, I was invited to testify before a House committee hearing titled: “How the Biden American Rescue Plan Saved the Economy and Lives.” I am not making this up. Can you imagine taking a victory lap, given our current conditions?
I told the Democrats on the committee that the idea that Congress would hold a hearing like this when the economy is coming unhinged only reinforces the suspicion held by most people that the Washington swamp is totally out of touch with the lives and hardships of everyday America.
The reality of our predicament is best summarized by JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who warned investors to “brace yourself” for what he called a fast-approaching economic “hurricane.”
To be clear, America is not yet in a recession. Still, it’s undeniable that starting around June, the economy and financial markets smashed into a brick wall. Here are the troubling indicators, all pointing in the wrong direction:
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta just estimated that second quarter economic growth through the middle of June is a big fat zero. This is on top of the 1.5% decline in the economy in the first quarter. This means for the first five and a half months of this year, our economy has shrunk in size relative to inflation. That result isn’t technically a recession, but it’s perilously close.
Second, the wealth losses in the greater financial market sell-off of 2022 have now exceeded $10 trillion since the start of the year. This has been one of the most significant and financially catastrophic vaporizations of wealth and savings in U.S. history. It is delusional that President Joe Biden says people have record savings. No, the reverse is true. Voters’ 401(k) plans and other retirement savings have been shredded.