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May 22, 2024

Families’ Net Worth Takes a Hit Under Biden

One chart is arguably all you need to see to validate feeling like you’re not getting anywhere.

Why are Americans so sour on the economy when everything is just hunky-dory? That’s the oft-repeated Leftmedia question accompanying a gaslighting story.

A new chart from the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis (pictured above) illustrates the problem: Overall, Americans have made no financial progress since Joe Biden took office. Net worth today, adjusted for Bidenflation, is up just 0.7% since January 2021, and it dipped into the negative for several months. That’s a far cry from the 16% increase during Trump’s first three years. In nominal terms, the numbers are 19% and 23%, respectively, but inflation eats up virtually all of Biden’s gain.

Not to overstate things because presidents are not solely responsible for every economic lever in a free market, but Biden’s record is atrocious, which is why he routinely lies about it.

In a brief story on the situation, The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip repeats the misleading claim that “inflation is falling.” Yes, the annual rate is lower now than it was, but prices are still rising — far faster than the Federal Reserve target of 2%. Cumulative inflation under Biden is close to 20%. Media outlets routinely skew these numbers (rarely reporting that cumulative one) to help Biden.

The Journal points to the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s recent milestone of closing above 40,000 as a “bit of welcome news for President Biden.” That’s certainly true in nominal terms — the market has been one bright spot in an otherwise dismal economy.

Yet even that part of Biden’s record doesn’t match Trump’s. At the time of the Journal’s article, “The Dow is up 28% since he was inaugurated in January 2021.” It rose 57% during Trump’s full term, including fully recovering from the COVID crash.

The stock market is a barometer of consumer confidence, so it’s also a good indicator of American resilience. But given the net worth calculation, does the stock market’s nominal increase actually amount to greater wealth? And which Americans benefit?

Hint: Not Americans who live paycheck to paycheck and aren’t invested.

To illustrate the struggles of regular Americans, recent news indicates trouble in the restaurant industry, which is itself a barometer of spending habits. Red Lobster is closing 87 restaurants nationwide and filing bankruptcy. Cracker Barrel is also closing stores and reporting big losses. Those are just two of a slew of chains that are having trouble keeping customers and workers.

That’s because consumers used to be able to get a meal at such places for roughly the same as fast-food combos now cost. Collectively, fast-food prices have risen more than 77% since December 2019. At McDonald’s, the hike has been 141%. Some individual items are up more than 200%.

So, McDonald’s is trying to drum up business by offering a $5 combo meal. I’m old enough to remember when that was normal, but this one’s just a gimmick. It’s a small amount of food, and the promotion lasts for just one month. Wendy’s is doing the same thing with a $3 breakfast combo — for a limited time only — after running a temporary promotion for Dave’s Single and Dave’s Double hamburgers.

Besides, McDonald’s is busy removing self-serve fountain drink machines and is considering charging for refills. On the bright side, soda is bad for you, and maybe the Bidenflation diet will help a lot of us lose a few pounds.

It’s not just prepared food. The Daily Wire reports, “Groceries for the average cookout will cost Americans about 10% more than they did for Memorial Day last year.”

Here are two other numbers to show why net worth isn’t going anywhere.

Home prices are at a record high of 7.64 times the median household income. Car insurance is up 22.6% in just the past year. Whereas prospective homebuyers can stay put, anyone who drives a car is required by law to carry insurance. Neither buying car insurance nor foregoing the acquisition of a new home helps net worth.

In the upcoming debate with Biden, Trump needs only ask this question: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

Follow Nate Jackson on X/Twitter.

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