Inflation pain hits even the affluent environs of Marin County
Marin County, where I once lived, has long been somewhat recession- and inflation-proof. There's so much money there, real estate is so expensive, and so many people earn their money from white-collar jobs that continue to exist in Marin no matter the greater economy (e.g., lawyers, accountants, realtors, bankers, tech people), that Marin's been able to avoid most of the economic downturns since 2000. Biden's recession, though, is different. It's hitting people hard, and Marinites are taking notice.
Marin, like the rest of California, locked itself down for the past two years. However, in common with white-collar workers across America, the lockdown often meant working from home rather than commuting. There was a bit of social isolation (well, a lot of social isolation), but the bunny slipper commute more than offset that problem for money.
Although unemployment definitely increased in Marin because of the lockdowns, mostly in retail and restaurant work, it remained low compared to the rest of America. How low? This low:
Marin County recorded its lowest unemployment rate for March since the pandemic began two years ago, according to state data released on Friday.
The March rate of 2.4% was a drop from the 2.8% rate recorded in February and was the second-lowest rate in the state, according to the California Employment Development Department data. San Mateo County had the state's lowest unemployment rate of 2.3% while Santa Clara County had the third-lowest rate of 2.5%.
Image by Richard Terrell of TerrelAfterMath.
Given Marin's low employment rate, you might expect it to be relatively unaffected by "Bidenflation." However, if the Marin Independent Journal is anything to go by, that's not the case. While Marinites are used to crazily spiraling real estate prices, the soaring fuel, home energy, and food costs are affecting people in the middle and working classes who have managed to stay afloat in Marin (emphasis mine):
As inflation drives rising prices across Marin, the Bay Area and the nation, workers are struggling to make ends meet while recovering from the economic impacts of the pandemic.
In March, higher prices for food, gasoline and other basics took a bigger share from consumers' wallets as inflation rose in March 1.2%, the biggest month-to-month jump since 2005. Gasoline prices drove more than half that increase.
The U.S. Labor Department said the consumer price index jumped 8.5% in March from 12 months earlier, the sharpest year-over-year increase since 1981. Prices have been pushed up by bottlenecked supply chains, robust consumer demand and disruptions to global food and energy markets worsened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
With everything opening up now from COVID, I would like to get out more, out traveling," [Michelle] McLaughlin said. "But you can't now, because it's absolutely insane … between flights and hotels. And the longer you wait, the higher prices go."
Sausalito resident Sherry Bronson-Southern said when prices for food go up, she makes the drive to Grocery Outlet in San Rafael. She is at the grocery store several times a week to avoid running out of food.
"I have a whole family, a dog, a granddaughter," Bronson-Southern said. She has had to cut back on buying certain items such as pork ribs and beef, as she watches their PG&E bill increase "from $40 to $95 a month."
As you can see from the highlighted language (which may come either from the Marin IJ itself or from the AP, which contributed facts), the paper is exonerating Biden entirely from inflation. For them, it's Putin's fault. However, unless Marinites are committed to the Democrat party beyond all rational thought, some of them have probably noticed that rising costs predated Putin and, in fact, coincided with Biden entering the White House.
It's even possible that some of the more astute Marin residents will realize that there's a corollary between rising prices and (1) the lockdown that Democrats so fervently enforced, (2) Biden's putting the kybosh on domestic oil production, and (3) the Fed frantically printing money. Heck, it's even possible that the Democrat candidates in Marin will win by a smaller margin than usual this fall. Sadly, it's too much to hope that a region that was strongly Republican right up until Bill Clinton will regain its fiscal sanity and turn its back on Democrat madness.