Last night, President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union.
He started with a call for unity, touted the tax cuts and accomplishments we’ve seen from his administration, and spoke about both freedom and responsibility.
But we paused when he said this, early in his speech…
America is again winning each and every day… The state of our union is strong. That sounds so good. Our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before.
We’re not so sure…
It’s true that the stock market is back to booming. The economy is growing. And unemployment is near record lows.
Yet most Americans still don’t have the savings on hand to pay for a $500 emergency.
For example, when the government shut down earlier this year and federal workers missed a single paycheck, they lined up in droves for staples like diapers, canned food, potatoes, and carrots.
According to the Capital Area Food Bank, demand was overwhelming. “We were just deluged. Food ran out in the first hour,” its president said to the Washington Post.
That same reporter also talked to two married federal employees, both in senior management, one at the Commerce Department and the other at the National Park Service, who were waiting in the food line.
A senior manager position in government is likely categorized in the GS-13 or GS-14 pay band according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Those salaries in the DC area are between $100,000 and $150,000.
That means the household income of these two folks, who have worked for the federal government for 30 years, is probably between $200,000-$300,000 annually. These folks are likely in the “top 5%” of American earners.
And yet one missed paycheck and they were waiting in line to eat.
We don’t write this to poke fun at these two individuals. We don’t know their circumstances. Yes, they failed to plan for adversity. Yes, it was very likely a failure in personal responsibility.
But it is also a national failure. We cannot be a resilient nation when most of our citizens rely on “things not going wrong” simply to survive.
Because things will always go wrong.
Underneath the positive headlines, the fragility in our nation today bares the lie of prosperity. We are a country that is one major disaster away from poverty.
When will that crisis come? And what form will it take?
We don’t know.
But we do ask… Be prepared. Don’t be like these poor saps who trusted the government would be there for them. It won’t.
Now here’s more of what we’re reading…Bull market or bear market to come in 2019? We don’t know that, either… but we do suggest you RSVP for the Bull vs. Bear Summit next Wednesday to prepare, no matter what happens in the market.
U.S. stocks and bonds are rallying together, an atypical pattern that some investors worry suggests the January rebound in equities is fated to run up against a painful reversal.
Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, and Corey Booker are all focused on Iowa. Does Iowa want them?
Thank Jimmy Carter, or curse him if you prefer, for the steady stream of presidential candidates visiting Iowa every quadrennium.
We’ve been warning about the promises to come in 2020… guess how these folks are going to pay for them?
The last Democrat to win a presidential election, Barack Obama, ran in 2012 on a platform of raising taxes for top earners to nearly 40 percent. Now a new crop of Democratic presidential hopefuls is signaling that they want to go even further.
And what’s $7 trillion between friends? Remember… two leading Democratic 2020 presidential candidates have endorsed this crazy plan.
Several analysts have cautioned that the liberal firebrand is in over her head, even though the as-yet vague and uncertain details about the Green New Deal render a precise calculation impossible.
Finally, a moment of sanity from Bloomberg columnist Tyler Cowen…
Anyone promoting a wealth tax is in essence saying that there aren’t many ways of improving society within current resource constraints. That is a brand of pessimism which American voters have not often rewarded.
What could possibly go wrong with 2 million needles on sidewalks, in coffee shop restrooms, and on playgrounds… paid for by taxpayer money?
The city also handed out a record 5.8 million free syringes last year… 2 million more syringes than it got back.
We detailed in our “America’s New Energy Boom” issue last year that this was coming…
Natural gas is in many ways a bigger U.S. success story than crude oil. Its abundance ensures continues low prices, supporting both exports as well as cheaper domestic electricity than most OECD nations.
And let us know what you’re reading at [email protected].
Publisher, American Consequences
With P.J. O’Rourke and the Editorial Staff
February 6, 2019