Biden's grinding millstone: Half of Americans worry about paying their credit card bills

Joe Biden had a grand old time hailing his presidential performance, telling Congress what a great job he was doing for the economy at his State of the Union address this past week, knowing the media would lap it up.

Two years ago, our economy was reeling. As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years.

...said Joe, driving his point further with:

As my Dad used to say, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, “Honey — it’s going to be OK,” and mean it.

So, let’s look at the results. Unemployment rate at 3.4%, a 50-year low. Near record low unemployment for Black and Hispanic workers. We’ve already created 800,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs, the fastest growth in 40 years. Where is it written that America can’t lead the world in manufacturing again? For too many decades, we imported products and exported jobs. Now, thanks to all we’ve done, we’re exporting American products and creating American jobs.

Inflation has been a global problem because of the pandemic that disrupted supply chains and Putin’s war that disrupted energy and food supplies. But we’re better positioned than any country on Earth. We have more to do, but here at home, inflation is coming down. Here at home, gas prices are down $1.50 a gallon since their peak. Food inflation is coming down. Inflation has fallen every month for the last six months while take home pay has gone up.

Additionally, over the last two years, a record 10 million Americans applied to start a new small business. Every time somebody starts a small business, it’s an act of hope. And the Vice President will continue her work to ensure more small businesses can access capital and the historic laws we enacted.

This is vomit-inducing, given the lies emitted against the consumer sense of unease about the economy now, with 63% of Americans believing we are in a recession right now, according to a TIPP poll.

But naturally, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan found a lot to like about it, even hailing the speech as 'Trumpian':

It was the most effective of his presidency and for interesting reasons. Its first purpose was to demonstrate to his party that he’s in charge and formidable. He did that. The second, in my read, was to present himself in a new way to voters, especially those in the middle, and especially old Democratic constituencies. I think he did himself some good there.

Some are saying they heard a lot of Bernie Sanders in the speech. I don’t think that’s the headline. The first hour, which contained the parts Mr. Biden’s people wanted the audience to pay attention to, was Trumpian. There was little in it Donald Trump wouldn’t have been happy to say.

Which is unintentionally ironic. After all, doesn't she hate Trump?

There were also the flipper-beating seals at CBS News, a whole table of them, finding one way after another to praise Biden and his speech right after it was done. I cannot find the YouTube of it, perhaps because it was so repellent the network decided not to put it up, but I certainly saw it on television after Biden left the stage. CBS's website has this sort of coverage now to give you the flavor:

Washington — President Biden took a victory lap Tuesday to celebrate Democrats' legislative accomplishments while pledging to find common ground with Republicans in his second State of the Union address, speaking before a divided Congress for the first time since the GOP took control of the House.

They just can't stop praising him, can they?

Now the hard facts are in about Joe and his economic performance, and it's not a pretty picture.

According to a brand new IBD/TIPP poll:

Nearly one in two Americans is concerned about making on-time credit card payments, an IBD/TIPP Poll of 1,358 Americans nationwide completed early this month showed. 49% expressed concern about making timely credit card payments.

The online survey was conducted from February 1 to 3.

The survey’s credibility interval (CI) is +/- 2.8 percentage points, meaning the study is accurate to within ± 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Americans been surveyed.

The survey asked respondents, “As a result of the current economic conditions, how concerned are you about the following? Making on-time credit card payments?” The results read as follows:

  • 25% were very concerned,
  • 24% were somewhat concerned,
  • 17% were not very concerned,
  • 17% were not at all concerned, and
  • 2% were not sure,
  • 15% not applicable

This is ugly stuff, a sign of an economy in distress, with huge numbers of consumers worried about going under. 

It also follows from other economic bad news, this one from the Wall Street Journal four days ago:

Squeezed by higher prices and short on cash, more Americans are tapping their 401(k)s for financial emergencies.

A record 2.8% of the five million people in 401(k) plans run by Vanguard Group tapped their retirement savings in 2022 to cope with hardships such as medical bills, eviction or foreclosure, the company said. That is up from 2.1% in 2021 and a prepandemic average of about 2%.

This one's from Fox Business three days ago:

Amid high inflation and rising interest rates, credit card balances increased to $931 billion in the final quarter of 2022, according to the latest Credit Industry Insights report by TransUnion

Additionally, credit card originations hit a new record. The number of new credit cards opened spiked by 21.6 million in the third quarter, representing a 7.4% year-over-year increase. Now, more than 202 million consumers have access to credit cards. 

"Bankcard balances and originations continue to climb as consumers seek ways to cope with inflation, and this is particularly the case among Gen Z consumers, who have seen growth of 19% in originations YoY and 64% in balances over the same period," Paul Siegfried, the senior vice president and credit card business leader at TransUnion, said in a statement.

This one from Motley Fool just now:

If you have a 401(k) plan through your job, your goal should be to max out your contributions or get as close to maxing out as possible. 


Unfortunately, recent data from Bank of America shows that 401(k) contribution rates shrunk in 2022. As of this past December, the average contribution rate across all participants was 6.4%, down from 6.6% in December 2021.

I wasn't able to locate good figures on how payday lenders, or "market cash advance" financial companies are doing, but based on this data above, you can take a guess.

It doesn't take a genius to see that inflation -- and taxes -- are behind this sudden delving into savings and credit lines, loading up the middle class with debt, and grinding it down, ultimately hearkening to an era of reduced consumer spending, a flagship indicator of recession.

I just paid nearly eight bucks for 18 eggs at Walmart; got the receipt, left the sticker.

Image: Monica Showalter

Biden has not only inflicted fresh and unsustainable inflation on the American people based on his grotesque expansion of public spending, he's also raised taxes on Americans making less than $20,000 a year, putting many into a bottomless pit on their finances. The Federal Reserve's hike in interest rates which is done to squeeze the inflation out of the system is nowhere near done, given the excess money still rolling around in the system, driving prices higher.

Biden can blame Putin all he likes for inflation, but the Fed's rate hikes tell the story.

Even as those rate hikes act to kill inflation, they harm consumers, too, with higher credit card interest rates and mortage rate hikes so high many first-time homebuyers are now shut out of the market.

All of this, piling up, piling up is bound to wear voters down -- with delayed car repairs, skipped vacations, skipped dental care, a putting off of getting the kids' braces, delayed medical and veterinary appointments, house repairs going undone, an end to meals out, and a sense that it's never going to get better.

Inflation and taxes have become a grinding millstone for the middle class, courtesy of Joe Biden.

And where have we heard that before?

Sure enough, from Biden's spiritual mentor, V.I Lenin, who reputedly declared:

“The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”

Are you better off than you were two years ago? Only the Bidenite political class and its allies can answer that with a hearty 'yes.' Biden's SOTU speech was an insulting mess of lies, done to cover up his record and preserve his political hide.

Image: Monica Showalter

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