Posts Tagged ‘inflation’

The Economy? None of Your Business

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

My “smart” TV

My “smart” TV. RJ Photography

   So the very smart TV made an unscheduled stop the other night on one of those “business” news shows with a bunch of well-dressed, middle-aged men and younger women talking to each other about money. I think. 

    They were talking about the day on Wall Street and they all sounded very smart, like the TV, but, I don’t know, maybe something got lost in the translation for me.

     What I can recall of their stream of consciousness conversation that day went something like this: “Nvidia … AI … Magnificent Seven … Tesla … Earnings … Inflation … Nvidia … Kathy Wood … Tesla … Fed … Rates … AI … Microsoft … Shorts … Inflation … Techs… Bubble… AI … Nvidia … Fed … Tesla … Apple … Trillion … Inflation … Fed … Nvidia … Over-Priced … Tesla … AI … China … Apple … Nvidia … Price Target… Shorts … Rates … Inflation … Amazon … Fed … Techs… Index… AI … Dow … Tesla … Kathy Wood … Nvidia … Google … Shorts … Inflation … Earnings… Recession … Fed … AI … META … Index … Fed … Nvidia.”

     That’s pretty accurate, I think. So it sounds like something to do with money, right? But not the economy because that word was never mentioned. Well, maybe someone said “consumer” one time in a passing remark on inflation.

     The thing is, they all seemed to understand each other and mostly agreed with each other, especially about Nvidia and Tesla and AI and Kathy Wood. But after listening, I wasn’t sure how the economy was doing or even what stock I should buy or sell, if I were in the market to do so and maybe couldn’t afford Nvidia. Or maybe I couldn’t afford not to afford Nvidia.

      Confused, I looked around and heard pretty much the same conversation on every TV business show, so I figured they got paid to talk to each other about Nvidia and inflation, but weren’t interested in telling me anything useful. Certainly not about business.

       Luckily, I finally found the “I-know-every-stock-out -there” savant, Jim Cramer, whose message, as usual, was clear: “Buy! Buy! Buy!” or “Sell! Sell! Sell!” But don’t trade Apple. Still. Oh, and the economy’s doing fine.

       There’s something quietly reassuring about being talked to directly, rather than eavesdropping on some private conversation. Especially about money.

      Smart TV take note.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

      

Did the Press Scare America Straight?

Sunday, November 13th, 2022

By Bob Gaydos

    5C086408-528A-4128-99B1-CF8FBCE4BB82 Exhale, America, you survived another election in the era of Trumpism. Apparently, some of you did learn history’s lesson on complacency enabling the spread of fascism. Not that the purported defenders of democracy — a free press — did much to help the cause.

       The “surprising” results of the 2022 midterm elections, as characterized by the mainstream media, once again demonstrated the dubious reliability of political polling and the very real risks of news agencies relying heavily on them to “predict” what is likely to occur when people give their actual opinions at the ballot box.

        The “red wave” of Republican victories predicted to occur across America failed to materialize this year, even though in midterm elections the party out of power is “supposed to” make gains because people are fed up with the current president and his policies. That’s what the political “wisdom” is and that’s the bias that goes into much of the polling and the reporting on the campaigns.

         But this year it didn’t happen. Democrats maintained control of the Senate and may have an even stronger hold depending on a runoff election in Georgia. And Republicans are likely to have only a slim margin of control in the House. And, there was no avalanche of Republican election deniers being swept into office in state elections on the strength of a Trump endorsement.

        What happened? Apparently, abortion did matter. Democracy did matter. Ukraine did matter. Inflation? Yes, it hurts. But voters obviously felt they would survive it again and, just maybe, President Joe Biden wasn’t to blame. 

        But you’d have had a hard time knowing that pre-election if you listened to the loudly opinionated “newscasts” on television and the carbon copy reporting in most newspapers, much of it based on information provided by pollsters, many of them funded by Republicans. Did anyone reporting on the polls consider that a basic Republican strategy the past several years has simply been to lie?

      Of course, by constantly repeating the polls’ supposed prediction of what was likely to happen on Election Day, the media did create a lot of anxiety among a lot of people. And maybe that got more people (especially young people) to vote who might otherwise have sat this one out. But that would only mean that the basic assumption of most polls and much reporting was incorrect to start with: that Americans were fed up with inflation and Democratic spending and eager to embrace Republican policies.

    Republican “policy” under Trump has been to divide and conquer, lie and cheat, make voting harder, restrict freedoms of non-white, non-straight, non-Christian, non-male Americans, provide tax cuts for the wealthy, dumb down the public education system, promote violence against political opponents … and blame Democrats for everything. 

      That’s a lot of alienation. It’s a lot of restriction. It’s budding fascism, in fact.

       A lot of Americans apparently noticed. Not nearly enough, but enough to prevent total chaos in Washington and to provide time to take stock of what direction this purported beacon of democracy wants to pursue.

       In its unflagging pursuit of win-or-lose, horse-race reporting based on increasingly unreliable polls (do you know anyone who actually answered a poll?), the only thing positive to say about the job of the American press on this story is that it might’ve scared enough previously unconcerned people into voting and proving the predictions of the “experts” to be wrong.

      That would mean a lot of Americans deserve credit for recognizing, for many of them perhaps the first time, the real threat to democracy represented by the Republican Party’s capitulation to Trumpism. It also means that reporters ought to be talking to more real Americans, real voters, before writing about what those Americans supposedly think. It’s important, because the threat, while weakened, has not disappeared.

       There’s a lot of arguing among Republicans today about who’s to blame for their party’s disappointing (to them) election results. (I’d say they all are.) A lot of them blame Trump himself, which is a change, and Trump himself faces several serious legal actions. But the threat is still alive and well in some elements of the Republican Party. Start talking with voters in Florida and Texas, reporters. Trumpism may or may not be fading, but fascism is always looking for another face. 

rjgaydos@gmail.com