Despite Soaring Homelessness and Debt, America Is Somehow “Winning”?

|August 18, 2023
A homeless encampment

Get your DVRs ready…

We’re just five days out from the first Republican presidential debate.

Yes, the 2024 election cycle is about to get into full swing.

Though… did we ever really exit the last one? (If so, no one seems to have told the folks on cable news.)

It remains to be seen just how entertaining – sorry, informative – the debate will be without the presence of our 4X indicted former commander in chief. But you can bet plenty of jabs will be thrown at the current administration.

President Biden has been working overtime to get ahead of it all. In Milwaukee this week, he continued his efforts to sell the country on Bidenomics.

Referencing his frenemies across the aisle, he assured Wisconsinites that things in America aren’t as dire as Republicans have led them to believe.

“They tell us America is failing. But they’re wrong,” Biden said. “America isn’t failing. America is winning.”


Wait, what?

Gimme Shelter

Similar to when Washington decided we could forgo a recession by simply changing its definition, our leaders are now choosing to ignore key economic indicators that are flashing red.

Just one day before Biden’s remarks, The Wall Street Journal published a report on rising homelessness in the U.S.

More Americans Are Ending Up Homeless

According to the Journal, the recent jump represents “the biggest recorded increase since the government started tracking comparable numbers in 2007.”

Those poor souls trying to buy houses right now understand where the pain is coming from.

The 30-year mortgage rate just hit 7.16%, its highest level since 2001.

Contract Rate on 30-Year Fixed Mortgage

Opting to rent won’t save you.

In 2022, rental costs shot up by double digits year over year.

The average rent-to-income ratio for Americans has settled above 30%.

That’s an important metric. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development uses it to determine whether households are “rent-burdened.”

Per the department, if you and your family spend more than 30% of your income on rent, it suggests that you “may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.”

Yikes. That doesn’t sound like winning, does it?

To make matters worse, Moody’s Analytics tells us that new housing construction – which could relieve some of the pressure – is moving slowly due to labor shortages, policy barriers and, oh yeah, rising interest rates.

Because of this, Moody’s says some of the projects will have to be pushed off into the early part of 2024.

Better luck next year, renters.

Sympathy for the Debtor

At the risk of beating a dead horse, we must also point out that consumer debt is soaring.

According to the latest numbers from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Americans are now sitting on more than a trillion dollars’ worth of credit card debt.

Between April and June alone, we added $45 billion to the pile.

Some of that can be chalked up to consumers spending recklessly, egged on by a yearslong pause in student loan repayment. But it’s also due to the fact that the average American household spends $709 more per month now than it did two years ago.

Those inflated expenses add up to $8,508 per year.

With student loan repayments about to start back up and gas prices on the rise, we may be forced to add to our already growing debt pile.

If individual citizens were treated like banks, we might all be under threat of a rating downgrade…

Possible bank downgrade on the horizon

It’s telling that rather than go after the root of our nation’s debt mess, legislators are instead taking aim at credit card fees. Bipartisan bills like the proposed Credit Card Competition Act would put Uncle Sam right where he likes to be… between you and your money.

“When it comes to Main Street versus Wall Street, I’ll choose Main Street every time,” says Sen. Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas and the bill’s co-author.

Sure you will, Rog.

But enough negativity…

The good news is that America is winning.

You just have to ignore the 1 in 3 adults who say they are worse off today than they were a year ago.

Forget that a fast-rising number of workers are tapping into their 401(k)s early just to pay the bills.

And pay no mind to that growing homeless encampment beneath the freeway.

There… isn’t that better?

The view is always rosier when votes are on the line.