The Bite of Inflation

The graph at the top of this post, sampled from the Wall Street Journal, illustrates how Americans in different income groups are responding rising prices by changing their spending using debit and credit cards. The poorest who can afford it least are spending more—they must just to obtain the necessities of life. Everyone else, including the most prosperous, are economizing where they can.

I suspect this behavior does not indicate a return to a cash economy but is more likely to indicate changes to all spending. That does not bode well for retail on which the overwhelming preponderance of the U. S. economy depends.

7 comments… add one
  • Drew Link

    A slightly different take on the same concept.

    CCR (basically credit cards and car loans) actually rose right through the unfolding of the financial crisis in fall of 2008. And then declined for about a year during the contraction before resuming long term trend.

    In covid, “2 weeks to flatten the curve” (or was that two years?) was the catalyst to make consumers fearful and reduce credit usage, and for retail to crash.

    The WSJ graph, because of its construction as % change and being so local doesn’t comport with FREDS rising credit usage. But the recent declines may portend full blown recession begining real time. (I believe the Atlanta Fed is already calling it).

    An inference you were, I believe, trying to make is that WSJ’s income stratified data shows the low income group has no choice but to run up their credit cards. They have to eat and buy gas to get to work.

    This is the real problem with inflation and stagflation. You post things from time to time dealing with evil vs ignorant policy, always coming down on the side of ignorance. But when Lunch Pale Joe pursues policy he and his administration must clearly know harms the less well off the most – just for political self interest in pleasing the far left – how does one ascribe ignorance instead of evil? At a minimum, with ignorance like this, who needs evil?

  • Jan Link

    Ignorance, evil or pure crazy? Isn’t the over-used definition of crazy doing the same thing over and over again, always expecting a different outcome? If Biden continues applying the same monetary, border, energy policies, with things only getting worse …. what is his real intent or purpose? Is he deliberately trying to crater the US? Is he just too feckless and unaware to recognize how his policies are negatively effecting the county’s well being? Or, is he simply crazy, lacking cognition in how to change course and turn things around?

  • I don’t believe the flawed policies are ignorant, evil, or crazy. I think they’re based on mistaken assumptions.

  • Drew Link

    I know you do, Dave. And I’m not here to change your view. I just think you are wrong.

    Let’s take immigration at the southern border. Absolutely no one can believe this is not intentional Biden Admin policy. But it results in unnecessary death in transport, human trafficking, drug trade/addition/death, resource drain and so on. Its in the paper every day. It is viewed as an ends justify means political gain issue.

    It also applies to the hardships foisted upon people through energy policy. You can say its mistaken assumptions, but in my moral dictionary I have certain minimal expectations of policy evaluation that move mistaken motivations to evil. Mistaken is very sanitized. Sort of like mostly peaceful riots.

    And as I say, given the harmful results, just an empirical fact, what’s the difference between evil and mistaken assumptions?

  • Biden is presently being lambasted by The Nation as being anti-immigrant. That practically makes my head explode. I don’t believe he is anti-immigrant or that his administration is anti-immigrant. I think they’re mistaken and/or misled.

    Progressives hold views about human behavior that are very difficult to counter because they’re non-falsifiable. That’s not evil and it’s not ignorant.

  • Jan Link

    It does not ameliorate the punishing policies Biden and Mayorkas are pushing at the southern border because a far left publication,” “The Nation” prescribes to even more extremist or myopic views of immigration. Biden doesn’t even bother to personally check out the out-of-control conditions at the border, let alone listen to the complaints of burnt-out border patrol and people most impacted living in border towns. In the meantime Mexican cartels are making tons of money off of trafficking both illegal people and drugs into this country. Last year drug overdoses rose to over a 100,000. How can such a flagrant abuse of border management be considered anything else but an evil disregard for the safety and well being of people living here, as well as those crossing over amidst high death rates in doing so.

    Somehow, if it was any administration, other than a democrat one, I think the political/ media pushback would be enormous and continuous.

  • Drew Link

    Don’t let your head explode. He’s not anti-immigrant. He has callous disregard for their wellbeing in pursuit of his own agenda. Those are different things.

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