Psst! The economy is doing really well.

We all see and hear those complaints about inflation and economic woes. Here is a contrary analysis, from The Wall Street Journal, no less:

Growing investment income and household wealth have joined near-full employment and rising wages to keep millions of Americans… spending their way through price hikes. The economy’s charge through higher interest rates is putting unprecedented sums into consumers’ pockets, pushing U.S. asset values to records and helping many high earners avoid the withering effects of inflation…. Federal data suggest Americans’ wage and wealth growth in recent years spanned every income bracket. In sheer dollar terms, white people, the rich, the college-educated and baby boomers have bagged disproportionate wealth gain such as homes–often locked in with low-rate mortgages–and stocks.

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63 responses to “Psst! The economy is doing really well.”

  1. Virginia Gentleman Avatar
    Virginia Gentleman

    Come on Dick — you have to stop with all this truth telling. I think you are making some people uncomfortable …

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Now, now, it’s not all roses. New jobs dropped last month. Still at record levels by it dropped.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    These days, I'd not be surprised that Congress tries to impeach Biden over the economy and the debt!

  3. Turbocohen Avatar

    America does not have an affordable housing shortage, America has a Housing Affordability issue.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      and I'm sure Conservatives have a plan…. free market of course…

  4. Matt Adams Avatar
    Matt Adams

    Average Americans don't play the stock market outside of their retirement plan.

    To continue to dismiss the issue that are faced by a vast majority of Americans is disingenuous.

    1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      As the article points out, and has a graph to demonstrate, the incrdase in wealth has "spanned every income bracket."

      1. Matt Adams Avatar
        Matt Adams

        "Dick Hall-Sizemore a minute ago
        As the article points out, and has a graph to demonstrate, the incrdase in wealth has "spanned every income bracket.""

        As my article points out, it doesn't not.

        Instead of using a singular source for a conclusion, research and use a cumulative. Otherwise, you're just parroting party talking points.

        Also, don't use articles with paywalls.

        Need some more articles that disprove your claim?

        I can go on, and on and on.

      2. LarrytheG Avatar

        Did pretty well on the investments… this year…

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    It's TERRIBLE… TERRIBLE.. and it's Joe Biden's fault! That's what I'm hearing from the GOPers.. these days.

    "We have to replace Biden, he's KILLING the economy".

    "we're becoming a 3rd world country!"

    lawfare! crime! senility! immigration! inflation! Oh the HORROR!

    but I digress….. oh wait…

  6. walter smith Avatar
    walter smith

    Wow. That's "good" news?
    Let's read it closer…
    “Growing investment income and household wealth have joined near-full employment and rising wages to keep millions of Americans…spending their way through price hikes."

    So…"growing INVESTMENT income" and "houseHOLD wealth" – not regular income of ordinary Americans nor dollars in pocket as "household" would seem to include the skyrocketing costs of homes, also hurting the non-rich… (has) "joined" near full employment – the employment gains have been largely in health care and govt jobs and illegals have filled a huge number of jobs, suppressing wages for the poor…"to keep Millions of Americans" – yes, the already rich really, really benefit from inflation. Those not with assets get screwed over badly…

    "The economy’s charge through higher interest rates is putting unprecedented sums into consumers’ pockets, pushing U.S. asset values to records and helping many high earners avoid the withering effects of inflation"

    See what I said above. Under Obama's artificial zero interest rate policy, we goosed the economy FOR 15 years, with no consequence for the overspending, and great wealth re-distribution to the already wealthy. I really hated getting next to nothing in interest on substantial deposits, but I enjoyed the stock market increases and being part of the private equity arbitrage of buying things on easy money and making tons of money because of that access to easy money. But for the guy who worked 45 years and retired with a small pension and $500k of savings, his expected interest went from $25K to $250 annually.

    "….Federal data suggest Americans’ wage and wealth growth in recent years spanned every income bracket. "

    That's called inflation. How much wage growth relative to the effects of inflation? And how is it distributed? Are the lower classes getting that benefit? My college age daughter asked about prices at a meal. My guess was that prices have gone up 400% but wages at the bottom only 300%. She was complaining about how hard it was to eat cheaply, and she is trying!

    "In sheer dollar terms, white people, the rich, the college-educated and baby boomers have bagged disproportionate wealth gain such as homes–often locked in with low-rate mortgages–and stocks.”

    So is that systemic racism? "White people" – really? ALL white people? Been to West Virginia? Eastern Kentucky? Ohio valley?
    "the rich " – duh – inflation!
    "the college educated and baby boomers" – so why does SlowJoe need to ignore the Supreme Court (SAVE OUR DEMOCRACY!) and forgive college debt (illegally)? Aren't baby boomers at the age where household wealth has been accumulated? Isn't that "normal". "Disproportionate wealth gain" – of course – INFLATION!!!

    Seriously, that is the biggest lipstick on a pig thing I may have ever read…

    1. Lefty665 Avatar

      Bought to us by the WSJ. The rich get richer and everyone else (wage earners) gets to put groceries and gasoline on their credit cards when the cost exceeds income… until those max out. Credit card balances are a record highs too.

      1. walter smith Avatar
        walter smith

        Yes – it was definitely cherry-picked, and putting a whole tube of lipstick on the pig!
        I believe 401k withdrawals are also up…

  7. Nelson Fegley Avatar
    Nelson Fegley

    Walter Smith "nailed it"! Many have been helped by the positive economic factors, but most feel the results of Biden's ill-conceived programs that increased inflation. The major increases in grocery prices are a problem for the majority of potential voters.

  8. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Forbes says so too, and some…

    “Additional data from the Fed show that wealth gains have been especially pronounced among younger households and Millennials. For example, the average wealth of Millennial households grew by 107.3% from December 2019 to September 2023, the last quarter for which data are available. In comparison, the average wealth of Generation-X households increased by 15.4%, that of Baby Boomer households by 9.1% and that of members of the Silent Generation by 22.1% during that time. Households were, on average, better prepared for an eventual economic emergency, for upward economic mobility, and for a secure retirement now than four years ago.”

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Uh, Nancy, if you were like me, right out of college our net worth was zip and yes, five years later, it had gone up. Getting to 100% growth from zero is easy…. OTOH, the last five years have been spectacular for us but it has all been investments and the home value. Those with no assets and no house or a cheap one? Not so much…

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        What happened to the several years of "stimulus" money varied a lot between folks who were retired and financially secure and those who were otherwise.

        And yes, all funded by borrowing money from the Chinese…

        1. Stephen Haner Avatar
          Stephen Haner

          I had sufficient presence of mind that I did donate to charity all the direct stimulus checks the fools sent me.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            You did? geeze… why? I don't think most folks did that… I DO give to charity – and not chintzy about it either but did not tie it to the stimulus. I tip good too! I gave my perfectly good gas lawmower to Habitat .. so they can pollute.. ;-).

        2. Randy Huffman Avatar
          Randy Huffman

          Regarding "financially secure", nobody with income over around $80,000 (single) or $160,000 (married) were eligible to get stimulus payments.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            Not sure what the threshold was but thought they were reduced not all denied. When I say
            “secure” , I mean the payments were not needed and some banked them and some spent
            on big ticket items that went back into the economy (as designed).

            I didn’t know what to do with it so just banked it. I was not alone.

      2. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Google generation wage growth


        Millennials are in their 30s, not right out of school. Where were you at 35?

    2. DJRippert Avatar

      Quotes from the comments:

      "Inflation is up around 17% from when Biden took office to the end of 2023."

      " … the average wealth of Generation-X households increased by 15.4%, that of Baby Boomer households by 9.1% and that of members of the Silent Generation by 22.1% during that time [December 2019 to September 2023]".


      1) Why is December 2019 to September 2023 used as the benchmarked period for NN's comment? Biden took office in January 2021, not December, 2019. Smells like cherry picking.

      2) Unless the GenX and Baby Boomer wealth growth figures are adjusted for inflation, both groups have gone backwards.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Did the inflation start on the day that Biden took office. Not a lagging thing?

        what exactly did Biden do in 2021 to cause inflation?

        1. DJRippert Avatar

          If you listen to Biden's lies you might believe that inflation was raging on the day he took office. He has repeatedly, publicly lied about this. Even CNN agrees …

          The combination of supply chain issues caused by Covid (reduced supply) and crazy levels of government spending during Covid (increased money) all but guaranteed a rise in inflation.

          Given that, one would expect a president to put the brakes on yet more increases in government spending.

          But that's not what Biden did. He pushed through even more government spending unrelated to Covid.


          Because, despite his obvious dementia, Biden still has the reptilian mind of a Philadelphia politician. Government spending can be used as a way to reward loyalty to the Democratic Party, buy votes, etc. So Biden pushes through more spending programs, adds student debt cancellation to the deficit, etc.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            So stimulus and covid and supply chain… that Biden caused?

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            Biden’s “lies” … compared to conspiracy theories out the wazoo for you know who?

  9. Congratulations, USA. You're goosing the economy by running deficits of 6% of GDP and getting 3% economic growth out of it. That's a real sustainable economic model…. as long as you can keep borrowing forever.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      where did those tax cuts come from?

    2. Matt Adams Avatar
      Matt Adams

      Don't forget the soring prices at the grocery store, interest rates on houses so high you can't buy them.

  10. Randy Huffman Avatar
    Randy Huffman

    At what price?

    $1.6 Trillion in deficits 2023 and projected 2024. Revenues projected for 2024 are 17.5% of GDP (a little lower in 2023), same as 1974 to 2023 average. Outlays are 22.7% of GDP in 2023 and projected to be 23.1% in 2024, much higher than the 1974-2023 50 year average of 21% (which is still too high) spanning years with ultra high inflation, wars, pandemics, etc. Our National Debt is closing in at $35 Trillion.

    See page 8.

    Are we at war, do we have a pandemic? No, this administration upped the spending from already lofty levels in the Obama era to further their agenda. Trump did not help cut it as much as he should have his first few years before COVID.

    Republican's did enact a tax cuts in 2017 (more then they should have in my view), which Biden and the Dem's could have reversed when they had all the power in 2021-2022, but chose not to. Dem's have benefited from these cuts in spurring economic development during this entire period.

    Inflation is up around 17% from when Biden took office to the end of 2023.

    We are going to pay dearly for this in years to come.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Randy, do you know the current deficit? I agree with you but wonder how hard it is to fix – just the deficit – the debt is a longer term monster.

      Inflation came from the pandemic and last I hear it was much better.

      But fixing the debt will take taxes..right?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        We could work past blame.. and agree how to fix?


      2. Randy Huffman Avatar
        Randy Huffman

        The Democratic party line is inflation came from the pandemic, even though inflation did not kick in until a year after the pandemic hit. Calendar year 2020 CPI was 1.4% (Trump's last year in office), 2021 was 7%, 2022 was 6.5%. 2023 was 3.4%, yes much better, but I have no faith it will ever go back to 2% in the long run. Perhaps for a while, such as during an economic slowdown (which many believe we are in the early phases of). I attribute it to Democratic policies such as massive spending, more and more regulation (eg Green energy mandates which do raise prices, increases in minimum wages), etc.

        One result of massive annual deficits is inflation.

        Yes, I would agree with some more taxes to cut into the deficit, but this would only help with a small portion of it (lower tax rates do increase GDP, higher tax rates lowers it), so the only real solution is spending has to be cut. Democrats will not stand for it, they went from tax and spend liberals to spend first, tax later. Many Republicans want to cut taxes even from where they are now. So here we are.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Do you think all those stimulus payments had anything to do with it?

          I just want to point out that Democrats in Virginia has not only balanced the budget for decades but we have a AAA credit rating. I think Dems are capable of balancing the budget but you can’t have tax cuts then
          try to fix it with spending cuts. The vast, vast part of the budget is two things – Health Care and Defense – the classic guns and butter.

          I totally support increasing the price of Medicare (it’s ridiculous to charge $170 a month for it), and think we need to address the tax free aspect of employer health insurance, both income and FICA. We should revisit tax-advantaged retirement plans, essentially subsidies to benefit those who have good incomes that low income cannot use.

          I don’t think just blaming Dems is very productive myself, not when the GOP promotes tax cuts
          without paying for them with spending cuts.

          1. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            Of course. The first round passed by Trump and Democrats had some effect. But lets not forget the $1.9 Trillion, 100% Democratic bill passed in 2021, and guess what, inflation started rearing its ugly head right afterwards.


            So how do States balance their budget? A lot comes from Federal transfer payments, which both parties push through, but Democrats to much more extent, often with Federal mandates (inflationary).

            So Medicare is of course already funded by payroll taxes, which there is no upper limit for high earners. As to premiums, you do know that higher income earners already pay more than the standard premium through an adjustment called IRMAA? IRMAA can run as high as an additional $419 for Part B and $81 for Part D, per month, when income exceeds $750,000.

            Democrats like to scream that high earners are getting tax breaks all over the place, but when you delve into the numbers, it can frequently be the opposite. Many times deductions or credits are eliminated when income exceeds certain thresholds. Annual earnings too high? Sorry, no IRA contributions allowed. Want to jack up your 401k? Sorry there are upper limits. Got a COVID stimulus payment? Sorry not available for higher income earners. Want to talk about pretax benefits for employer medical? It means a heck alot more for a $75,000 annual earner then a $750,000 Silicone Valley executive.

            I agree with most of them, but nobody talks about it when bashing tax rates and credits.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            Only Medicare Part A is funded by FICA. Part B is not. It’s heavily subsidized in the budget. And the price of B is tiered for higher earners but not near what it should be. Tell me what insurance company would insure
            someone in their 70’s or 80’s much less for what Medicare charges.

            At any rate – that’s where a lot of spending is…. you won’t get major cuts – enough to affect the deficit and debt from other beyond health care and defense.

            The point is with the IRAs is that they are subsidies that do impact the budget and most low income
            folks do not benefit from them. Ditto with employer-provided health insurance which is, by far, the highest subsidized tax break. It, alone makes up most of the deficit.

            Education is another. $2000 per kid.. right off the bottom line… Another is cap gains… top tax rate is 20% and bottom is 0%.

            These are where the cuts are. You won’t get much at all from the other agencies … so if one is actually
            serious – you have to make choices. Can’t go on blaming…. advocate for something and do it or else just blame and make excuses for doing nothing.

            I just think some of this is a game from political folks who have no intention of actually doing something just after political gain from blame.

          3. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            Capital tax rates and qualified dividends are set lower because corporations already pay income taxes, it is a way to level the playing field between a C corp and entities which pay taxes at individual rates. Also, alot of capital gains are generated from inflationary assets held, so again, its to not tax inflation.

            You make a good point about Medicare A and B, but benefits under B are limited, major medical hospitalizations are covered through A.

            You say lower income folks do not benefit from IRA's, well neither do high income folks because of income caps. Education credits are also phased out for higher income earners. So you propose this to take away middle income earners benefits, thanks alot.

          4. LarrytheG Avatar

            The theory between what is taxable income and what is not – or should be is a debate, no especially
            since the economy has changed over time from the tax code. Cap gains are 0% 15% and 20%. Are those numbers based on anything in particular that is relevant to the current economy?

            Medicare A&B can be combined with Medicare Advantage and a good number , I think half or so
            are doing that. But if we THINK we are subsidizing too much, i.e. we have deficits and need to cut
            spending, it’s fair game and really one of the few places where major spending is.

            On IRA.. saying high income is “capped” is funny Randy… they STILL get to put thousands of dollars
            a year aside for their retirement that lower income don’t have the money to do.

            I’ not “proposing”, high or middle or low… I’m just saying these are where a lot of the spending is.

            You have to make choices or just play blame games and not be responsible about addressing it.

          5. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            Hopefully we both learned something from this exchange, but I do need to move on.

            My only last comment. Remember 401k contributions are capped, higher income earners cannot make any IRA contributions, its zero.

            Also, you can take a deduction for 401k (or taxable IRA), but then when you withdraw it later, that income is taxed (unless its a Roth, where there is no deduction, but then no taxes paid when withdrawn, again, higher income earners cannot make a Roth contribution).

            It is still a major benefit, but I maintain my position that for a very high income person, it is not significant.

          6. LarrytheG Avatar

            You’re right but you’re talking about really high income where those folks have a lot of options for investing better than IRA/401… and yes.. they are taxed but likely less at a lower income when retired.

            ” In 2024, individuals with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of less than $161,000 can contribute to a Roth IRA, and married couples filing jointly can contribute if their AGI is less than $240,000. If your income falls within a certain range, your contribution limit will be reduced. For example, in 2023, if your income was between $138,000 and $153,000 as an individual, or between $218,000 and $228,000 as a married couple filing jointly, your contribution limit would be reduced. The maximum contribution for 2024 is $6,500 per year, or $7,500 if you are 50 or older. If you contribute more than the limit, the IRS will consider it an excess contribution and you will owe a 6% penalty each year until you correct the error.
            Traditional IRA
            There is no income limit for contributing to a traditional IRA, but your income may affect whether you can deduct your contributions from your taxable income.

            Charles Schwab
            4 Paths to a Roth IRA for High-Income Earners
            But there’s a catch: For 2023, only savers with incomes at or below $153,000 ($228,000 for married couples filing jointly) can contribute to a Roth IRA. And even then, contributions are limited to $6,500 per year ($7,500 if age 50 or older), though that limit is reduced if your income falls between $138,000 and $153,000 (between $218,000 and $228,000 if married). The income limits on Roth contributions increased for 2024, which means savers with income at or below $161,000 ($240,000 for married couples filing jointly) can contribute to a Roth IRA.”

            The point is how to reduce spending in the Fed Budget. You can’t get there unless you cut
            some of these things that are essentially subsidized… tax expenditures…

            If we are serious , we have to walk the walk… if not.. then should not complain…

          7. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            Your outline looks accurate.

            My only comment (trying again to make it a final comment) is all this was designed to encourage people to save for their retirement. Why is there tax free medical benefits? To encourage employers to help employees provide for their medical insurance. Obama Care expanded it with both carrots and sticks.

            Fully unraveling it would be no different then saying we are going to balance the budget in two years, the country is addicted to spending and tax benefits, which help middle income earners as much or more than higher income earners, and lower income earners pay no taxes!

            You want to raise corporate income taxes, then get ready for higher prices (corporations pass the cost to consumers), and more firings as jobs move out of the US, and more inflation.

          8. LarrytheG Avatar

            All done with good intentions but can we afford all of it? When we talk about deficit and spending,
            this is where you end up. I agree about taxes on corps.. They pass it on to customers. But how do
            you want to “pay” to balance the budget? pick your poison. It don’t have to be one thing. It can be
            a little less benefit for a wide variety of benefits, so everyone gets nicked a little. I can see folks arguing
            against one or the other but to make endless excuses for each and every one – just demonstrates we
            are not serious about the issue IMO. We took away the itemized deduction for most people and we
            limited local taxes to 10K and we penalize those that violate the terms of the benefits – like taking out IRA money too early. This is not something that can never be done. It has been done before and can again and should.

          9. Lefty665 Avatar

            A big tax break for the affluent is the cap on Social Security taxes. That offsets many of the other restrictions/limits. SS would be solvent into the infinite future if higher wages were taxed too.

          10. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            Social security was designed to provide annual retirement benefits, it was capped because benefits are capped. What you are suggesting is nothing more than a tax grab.

          11. LarrytheG Avatar


            let's talk about what it is…

            But if you pay into it – you entitled to get money out.

            What happens is that what you get out, can be taxed if your other income is higher.

            I wasn't even talking about it in the prior discussions.

            SS is totally separate from the income tax .. It's totally self-funded from FICA taxes and it plays no role in the deficit.

          12. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            I was replying to Lefty665, not anything you said.

          13. LarrytheG Avatar


  11. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    ”Deficits don’t matter”. AKA “ya gotta spend money to make money”

    the only difference is Republicans won’t spend money to help the bottom 50%.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      I wish I could figure out where conservatives actually are on the deficit these days… With the Trump Tax cuts, the "balance the budget" thing went out the window… before that it was:

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        You see that top number? That’s given to 120,000 households. The bottom number is the average taken from the other 119,880,000 households.

          1. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Who are the beneficiaries of that debt? Hint 0.1%

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            totally true… took away itemized deductions from ordinary folk.

          3. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            For most people a $12K+ standard deduction will easily cover state and local taxes and the mortgage interest. Medical expenses have some issues, but for most working class their major medical deductions was for Medical Insurance premiums, which has been closed nicely with ACA. This pretty much leaves property losses, theft, etc, and those are “rare events”, AND charities.

            Yep, when someone donates to a charity that you find abhorrent, e.g., an evangelical church that pushes anti-abortion or prayer can make you straight, YOU subsidize that donation. Will be glad to see it gone for good.

            All in all, the standard deduction increase was a good thing. Yep, some got the shaft with the SALT limits, but localities and the states are creative.

          4. LarrytheG Avatar

            mostly agree on the std deduction but do see some on SS giving thousands to their church.

          5. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive


  12. Scott McPhail Avatar
    Scott McPhail

    "Growing investment income and household wealth"

    Growing 'Household wealth' i.e. house prices are sky high so you're wealthy . . .
    so ignore . . .

    fuel prices
    energy prices
    food prices

    You know, the stuff you need to live

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      new and used cars.. 1/3 of the Virginia transportation funding and going great guns!

      People eating out and ordering delivery – up and up

      entertainment – people paying outrageous prices for tickets… and blaming .. a "monopoly" and not supply/demand

      Traffic is horrendous… people lined up outside
      of CHAIN restaurants!

      I dunno… but perhaps the bigger question – might be what exactly is govt supposed to do about it now? Republicans know what to do?

      ;-)… yup.. blame the Dems!

  13. Chip Gibson Avatar
    Chip Gibson

    Pure BS.

  14. DJRippert Avatar

    It's always good to see Democratic Party cheerleaders quoting single-source articles written by liberal contributors to outlets like the Wall Street Journal.

    It shows panic.

    Panic with an election scheduled in 5 months.

    Panic can be helpful.

    Biden just dramatically decreased the number of asylum seekers he's going to allow into the US.

    That's another sign of panic.

    Maybe even the Biden Administration can be panic'd into near competence.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      If the other guy is elected, America deserves it…

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