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Today’s post is a bit of a counterpoint to yesterday’s Trumpian triumphalism—not a repudiation of my own points, but a mild qualifier. Yesterday’s post discussed the hard numbers behind the Trump economy, and the enormous gains in the S&P 500.
I argued that, unlike the “sugar high” years of the Obama Fed—when stock prices soared, but wages remained low and unemployment high—the growth we’re currently enjoying more accurately reflects the reality on the ground. Americans are benefiting in their 401(k)s and their IRAs, to be sure, but they’re also enjoying higher wages, and more of us are working than at any point in our history since 1969.
All of that is true, and good. But as I wrote yesterday’s post, I couldn’t escape the nagging feeling that something is still off. There remains a real disconnect between the prosperity we see both in reality and on paper, and the sense that there is a lack of prosperity.
Since popular politics is a matter of emotions and feeling far more than it is about reasoned discourse, addressing that enduring sense of economic disparity and privation is critical. My foolish but troubled generation, which came of age and fought for jobs during the Great Recession, perceives that gap profoundly—with potentially major consequences for the future of the United States and the West.