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Letter to the Editor: Checking for Facts

As informed voters, we need to carefully select our sources to stay informed. The economy is a top concern for many voters, so it deserves our scrutiny. To determine facts, I’ve been inspired to look a little deeper after a recent post by historian Heather Cox Richardson and an article by Washington Post journalist Catherine Rampell.

A study from NBC News a month ago showed that those who follow national newspapers and media swing heavily to Biden, while those who either don’t follow politics or get their news from YouTube and social media favor Trump or Robert Kennedy Jr.

In a recent Harris/Guardian poll, 56% of Americans believe, incorrectly, that the U.S. is in a recession; 49% think unemployment is at a 50-year high; 72% percent think inflation is increasing; 49% think the S&P market index is down for the year; 58% percent blame Biden for mismanaging the economy.

Here are the facts: the trickle-down economy from 1981 to 2021 transferred $50 trillion from the bottom 90% of the U.S. to the top 1%, hollowing out the middle class. US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was 5.8% in 2021, 1.9% in 2022, and 2.5% in 2023. Our growth outpaced other large economies in its recovery from the pandemic and the GDP of the U.S economy is now over 5% above its 2019 level.

The unemployment rate has been at record lows – under 4% for more than two years – the strongest run since the 1960s. Inflation is now at 3.4%, higher than the Fed goal of 2%, but down significantly from 9.1% after the pandemic, and lower than seven of eight major advanced

economies. 

Regarding wage growth: after examining several sources, the jury seems to be out as to the extent to which wages have or are approaching pre-pandemic buying power. Wage growth at 4.5% has surpassed inflation for the past 12 months. The S&P stock market index increased by about 24% in 2023 and is up more than 12% this year.

Facts matter. Righting the ship takes time. Calm and competent leadership matters.

Vote!

Bob Lindahl

Ellison Bay, Wisconsin