As the Economy Recedes, Credit Cards Explode
Credit card debt soars, as proven by recent troubling data, elevating the already dire risks of this intense inflationary recession.
Prices surge for consumers at the highest clip in 40 years. The overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) vaults higher at an annualized 9.1% pace, bringing back awful memories of the malaise and stagflation of the 1970s under Jimmy Carter. But actual realized inflation for most citizens stings far worse, especially for those of modest means. The combined inflation ascent for the “have to” non-discretionary items of Gasoline, Groceries, and Utilities rose in June at an astounding 37% rate as a basket.
How have consumers dealt with these skyrocketing prices? The simple answer, unfortunately: via credit cards, particularly for working-class households. Just last week, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York issued a damning report on this credit binge for consumers, into a pronounced economic slowdown.
Total consumer debt rose a staggering $40 billion in June, far surpassing Wall Street expectations of a $25 billion increase.
This torrent of borrowing continues the sharp trend of increased consumer indebtedness under Biden, see this chart with figures from the Fed since he took office:
A huge portion of this new debt flows from costly, risky credit card use. In fact, for the April-June second quarter of 2022, total credit card debt rose a staggering $46 billion, the biggest jump in 20 years. Americans pile into new accounts to accomplish this borrowing, opening up a whopping 233 million new cards during that second quarter, the most new cards since 2008. Such comparisons to the Great Recession should worry everyone.
So, stressed and strapped Americans reach for a mountain of credit to pay for the inflation mess created by Biden, Pelosi and collaborator Republicans like Mitch McConnell. The prior savings that had been practically forced by the lockdowns have vanished. In fact, the personal savings rate just plunged to the lowest levels since 2009, another tragic comparison to the economic carnage of the Great Recession.
So, when corporate media charlatans grandstand and pretend that last week’s positive Jobs report signals some “all clear” for the economy, consider the bigger picture. First, recognize that the report – which was thankfully a solid one – represents a return of the masses of jobs lost to the lockdowns and the CCP Virus, not real net new job creation.
But even more importantly, note that every key forward looking indicator signals not just recession, but a very deep one.
Specifically, consider these three key metrics:
1. Jobless Claims – after descending for many months since the Spring 2020 lockdowns, this summer the jobless trend turns alarmingly skyward again. Here’s the chart since May:
2. Manufacturing New Orders – this key forward-looking gauge of industrial activity just hit the lowest levels since 2020, and the one-year trend is foreboding, see this chart:
3. Consumer Confidence – Americans have never been this pessimistic about the economy. In a survey that extends back to the 1950’s, the gold-standard University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey sits at record all-time lows.
Biden’s inflationary recession harms all Americans, but the damage afflicts the economically vulnerable most acutely. For example, regarding this leap in card debt, credit bureau giant TransUnion reports that “the subprime segment’s total balances grew 51.7% YoY which is the highest growth rate ever achieved.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most economically stressed have piled on the credit card debt at the fastest clip to try to manage in the Biden inflation era. How long can this scenario last? The early signs should trouble anyone not fooled by ruling class propaganda. For example, NY Fed economists concede that monitoring debt delinquency rates “by neighborhood income using borrower zip code, we observe that the delinquency transition rates for credit cards and auto loans are creeping up, particularly in lower-income areas.”
Instead of addressing this worsening crisis head on, Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer spent the weekend ramming through a massive tax increase with exorbitant spending as part of a mini Green New Deal that will only exacerbate the existing inflation nightmare for anxious, indebted consumers. The clock is ticking, the hour is late – America needs sweeping economic change brought about by electing true patriotic populists and economic nationalists to take power on Capitol Hill and right this financial ship.
Calling their latest nutso spending bill "The Inflation Reduction Act" is the best "tell" yet as to the degree of contempt the dems feel toward voters. The First thing the new congress needs to do is pass the "Termination of Biden Grifting Act" halting the spending of all dollars not spent pursuant to this POS bill by January 20th 2023.
There is nothing so fucked up that it can't be unfucked up if the new leadership has the guts.
We will be lucky if we get out of this with just a recession rather than a depression. Thanks as always Steve for using facts and data to make your assertions.