How are you feeling?
It's time we talked about the economy, with the emphasis on the word, 'we.' Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
We touch on current events in this daily newsletter, but I often try not to write about the same daily current events that everyone else is writing about.
Partly, I do this out of necessity. There’s just one guy behind the scenes here (with help from Tom and a few others now and then), and it would be impossible for me to be smart enough, organized enough, and prolific enough to tackle everything in real time.
However, I can think of a couple of times that current events seemed so big that I felt I had no choice. Examples:
The early days of the pandemic (here's my newsletter from March 10, 2020, Ciao for now, which began with my amazement that the entire country of Italy was on lockdown), and
January 7, 2021, which was obviously the morning after January 6. Here's my newsletter from the day after, which was quite raw, Life comes at you fast, and then another from a few days later that I'm proud of, Don't you just love America?, after I'd had some time to reflect.
With that intro, I feel as if we are approaching a similar crescendo regarding current economic conditions: inflation, the odds of a recession, and how it will all affect people’s lives.
Consumer sentiment is dropping—the Forbes Advisor-Ipsos Consumer Confidence measurement dipped below 50 percent - which I suppose is basically a fancy way of measuring and saying that Americans just kind of think we're in for a bad time.
The Fed is stuck in this place where it can either rein in inflation or work to soften a recession, but probably not both (hence the .75 percent interest rate hike, with more to come).
Oh, what else can we add here: Redfin says it's seen that the highest share of sellers on record dropped their list price during the four weeks ending June 12 as mortgage rates shot up to levels not seen since 2008, dwindling the pool of home shoppers.
Anyway, you don’t really need me to list the entire litany. But, I think it's time we use a Friday comment thread just to spark a discussion:
How concerned are you about the looming economy? What are you doing to prepare?
Also, since we've got a bit of wisdom and experience among us, I'm curious to know what lessons you've learned in earlier lean economic times?
Bonus points of a sort, if you remember WIN: Whip Inflation Now from the 1970s.
I’ll keep this brief as quite a few readers have written to me asking me to listen to their economic views and advice, so I’m sure many of you will have something to say. I think we’re better off just opening the floor to comments, and working it through together. (The “Leave a comment” link is below.)
7 other things worth knowing today
The Watergate burglary was 50 years ago today. Here's a timeline about the entire scandal, along with a link to the very first Washington Post story that ran about it: “GOP Security Aide Among Five Arrested in Bugging Affair," by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. (History.com, WashPost — free gift link)
Speaking of big things going on in real time that I'm probably not going to follow every day, but that I do think are important and I'll find some way to address more appropriately later: The January 6 hearings continue. Here's a pretty good tick-tock of what went down Thursday, plus a reconstruction from what happened to Vice President Pence that day. (ABC News, NYT)
The U.S. government unveiled a $10 billion plan (at least) to upgrade Washington's Union Station railroad station, that won't even be expected to be complete until the year 2040. Actually, the price tag is steep but somewhat understandable; the idea of an 18-year construction project is not. IMHO, of course. (DCist)
Why good journalism matters. A Texas Tribune writer says she and her colleagues have submitted 70 Freedom of Information Requests regarding the Uvalde school murders, and officials are fighting all of them. Among the things they asked for: ballistic reports, body and car camera footage, call logs, emails, texts, and voicemails, etc. Authorities seem to be relying on something called the "dead suspect loophole," which says police can withhold information in Texas if there is no conviction; here the suspect was killed during the incident.
It's whatever time it is, do you know where your kids are? A hero 17-year-old dove into the bay on Long Island and saved another teenager who was trapped in her car after she accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake and rolled off a dock. Afterward, Anthony Zhongor, who graduated from high school in May and will head to U.S. Marine Corps boot camp this September, went to McDonald's with friends; he didn't think to tell his parents what had happened until they saw a report on the local news. (People)
Every few years or so we hear about an over-achieving student who manages to get admitted to all of the Ivy League colleges—an incredible feat, given that they all have admissions rates in the single digits. This year, meet Ashley Adirika of Florida, daughter of a single mom who immigrated from Nigeria. In the end, she chose Harvard, where she'll join the class of 2026 this fall. (Seventeen)
Self-driving? Ovviamente, no, says CEO of Ferrari. There will never be a self-driving Ferrari. (Bloomberg)
as per inflation, if it costs too much, don't buy it
As I recently turned 50, I realize there's not much use worrying about stuff, including the economy.
We do have an amazing ability to adjust in uncertain economic times.
There is, indeed, less disposable income as everything costs more, but our pay in no way keeps up with this.
During these times, we must learn to appreciate things that don't cost a fortune, attending local events, for example.
Anyway, the more you make, the more you spend so you're not much further ahead if you make more. You just have more expensive hobbies, or you may buy more expensive toys, but you may not even have the time to use them.