Americans Haven’t Suffered Enough

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    by Blaine L. Pardoe, American Thinker:

    In this post-election haze, many conservatives are understandably confused. If the economy was such a high-priority issue, and the Democrats were mostly responsible for the runaway inflation — why didn’t the Republican’s win more seats?  Efforts to lay the blame at the doorstop of Donald Trump is pointless and a wasted exercise. Pointing to abortion as a key issue deflects from the real issue at hand.

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    The cause of the election loss is relatively simple — Americans have not suffered enough pain with this economy — yet.

    Inflation hits everyone — it is an indiscriminate irritant that impacts people regardless of class, race, or any other social divider.  It is bad, everyone knows the actual rate of inflation is higher than what the government has reported. Inflation is experienced every day, on every shopping trip. Over a third of the country saw their retirement funds take hits that will require years to recover from as the stock market attempted to react to the inflationary spending out of Washington, D.C.

    The problem is, that while inflation is frustrating, Americans haven’t felt the real pains of a down economy. Inflation is something that people manage.  They purchase less, or change what they spend money on.  Instead of purchasing an expensive six-pack of craft beer, people will buy a less expensive beer.  Rather than buy steak, they will purchase alternatives to ease the pain.  The number of nights eating out is reduced or the restaurants that are chosen are less expensive. The bottom line is that no one is starving as a result of the current inflation. Inflation is a force that can be mitigated — it can be coped with.

    People still have jobs. There are job openings out there still. Inflation, on its own, doesn’t devastate the job market.  That is reserved for the recession that usually shadows an inflationary period.  While people are complaining that their income doesn’t go as far as it did a year ago, they are still working, paying their bills, and surviving.

    From an election perspective, that meant they could still vote for Democrats, despite their guilt in causing this economic downturn. The electorate could vote on hope that the economy will somehow straighten itself out.  They could embrace the illusion that they would get their student loans paid off, that America would go green, and that it might all just work out. For many, the economy just wasn’t bad enough for them to change their voting patterns.

    American’s haven’t really suffered from an economy since the housing bubble burst in 2008.  That means that many young people have no memories of their parents losing their jobs, or their homes during a real economic crisis. They have not experienced hiring freezes or parents being forced to take jobs they hated, simply to pay their bills.  Young people can afford to be idealistic because they have no fresh memories of the suffering and anguish that a crippled economy can cause.

    Those who endured past economic downturns tend to believe it can’t happen again, that safeguards are in place to protect their jobs. Many entertain the irrational thought that the federal government will be there to take care of them. This misbegotten belief is further supported by stimulus checks during the pandemic.

    That illusion is already starting to shatter. Twitter, Ford, and Meta have laid off thousands — and Amazon has announced even more. The constriction of cash flow to fight inflation comes with the reality that many of the Big Tech companies have to focus on turning a profit.  This means more layoffs in that sector. The threat of a railroad strike looms in the near future as well, which could cripple our already fragile supply chain.  The shock of the potential energy crisis in Europe this winter will be another destabilizing factor with ripple effects that few fully comprehend. When more companies implement hiring freezes and layoffs and the economy constricts, the reality of the job market will be evident.  Yes, there are many jobs out there, but they are not the high-paying jobs that many will be seeking. People will be forced to take jobs that pay less, with money that doesn’t go as far as it did before the crisis.

    Realistically, 2022 wasn’t the year when the real economic pain existed. Sadly, that suffering and pain is looming for many Americans.  Once that happens, voters will respond with their votes in proportion to the losses in their wallets. While 2022 was the start of the change, the real impacts will emerge in the 2024 election cycle.

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