Bidenomics: $9 trillion in private wealth wiped out in stock plunge

While Joe Biden takes his 235th or so day of vacation to a Delaware beach as president, the stock market is tumbling, and Americans are staring in horror at their 401(k)s.

According to CNBC, the reason is here:

Falling stock markets have wiped out more than $9 trillion in wealth from U.S. households, putting more pressure on family balance sheets and spending.

Americans’ holdings of corporate equities and mutual fund shares fell to $33 trillion at the end of the second quarter, down from $42 trillion at the start of the year, according to data from the Federal Reserve. With major market indexes falling even further since early July, and the bond market adding further losses, market experts say the current wealth losses from financial markets could total $9.5 trillion to $10 trillion.

Economists say the drops could soon start rippling through the economy, adding pressure to Americans’ balance sheets and possibly hurting spending, borrowing and investing. Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said the losses could reduce real GDP growth by nearly 0.2 percentage points over the coming year.

That's a lot of vacations that won't be taken, a lot of real estate that won't be bought, a lot of cars that won't get replaced, a lot of computers that won't get upgraded, a lot of food that won't get purchased, and a lot of inheritances that won't go the heirs.

Wealth loss like this is basically a hit on Americans' years of savings. The loss is being felt in 401(K)s, Americans' private savings system for retirement, which has taken a huge hit from the stock market downturn.

That's on top of inflation eating away at the purchasing power of those same savings, soaring interest rates making home purchases to create more savings impossible, and the higher taxes Americans are now facing often on those exact same savings.

Where does this stock downturn and its accompanying wealth loss come from? It's brought on by Joe Biden's complete inability to resolve the energy crisis of his own making by removing his roadblocks to fossil fuel production, and his even worse ability to rein in government spending.

During his short, vacation-laden presidency, he's signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, and the Emergency Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, both of which could be worth more than a trillion dollars, plus a bill to raise the national debt limit by an extra $2.5 trillion so he could have lots of extra room for cash to spend. This year, he signed the badly misnamed "Inflation Reduction Act" of 2022, which tacked on another $732 billion. As if that were not enough, his 530-and-counting executive orders have cost American taxpayers another $532 billion, with that number set to rise to about $800 billion if his student loan forgiveness scheme goes through.

He spends like Hugo Chavez. He spends like a bus with no brakes. He yells about bringing down the price of someone's prescription drugs, or the price paid on other specialty interest through his subsidies and price controls, but everyone else ends up paying more -- all over the place -- as a result.

The first and most obvious consequence of this massive money floating through the system with too little to buy is inflation, now clocking in at 8% or so at last reading. Food, gas, medical bills -- everything that consumers have to pay is now costing more and people notice. That's consumers having to pay for Biden's spending spree right there through higher prices.

The second consequence is that, as the Federal Reserve tries to claw back some of that excess money to drain inflation from the system, it hikes interest rates. The interest rate on a home mortgage is now 8%, higher than during the 2008 housing bubble bust, which puts affordable homes out of reach for many Americans. Americans pay for Biden's spending spree through their home prices, too.

The third consequence is higher taxes, as Biden himself seeks to claw back even more of the excess money in the system through tax hikes and IRS audits targeting small businesses, the foremost engine of economic growth in our system. The businesses will pay and pay for that Biden spending, on top of the inflation they already have to pay.

Now we have the wealth loss, the stock markets tanking, and taking down the wealth levels of millions of Americans through their 401(k)s.

Economists like to say that there is no free lunch, that an expense made on one side is always made up for on some other side of the equation.

Well, this looks like a fourfold repayment scheme all so that Joe Biden can spend like there's no tomorrow. It's a heckuva expensive way to borrow and repay money. Had Biden just left well enough alone and allowed the private sector to grow its savings and allocate its money, no big bills would be forthcoming due that required repayment four times over. There wouldn't be any repayment at all.

The term "My401k" is still trending on Twitter for the last several days. Like inflation, it sits there on people's minds because it affects them so directly. That's a sign that people are noticing, and this is common talk in the gas stations, checkout lines, and coffee shops of America.

There's nothing more expensive than a Biden government spending package, which requires repayment four times over. There's nothing more expensive than a Biden-free lunch.

Photo illustration by Monica Showalter with use of images by Gage Skidmore, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0, Acaben, via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0, PxFuel public domain, and SKopp via Wikimedia Commons // public domain.

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