Discover more from Hopium Chronicles By Simon Rosenberg
Biden's Address, Winning Virginia, Wealth of Americans Jumps/We Are Better Off
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Happy Friday all. Another challenging week, but let’s get to it:
Winning Virginia - The response to my pitch for 6 top tier VA races yesterday has been amazing - thank you all!!!!. For those who haven’t given yet, or want to promote these great candidates, I’ve added a ActBlue page which allows a single contribution to be split six ways. Check it out here. I know many of you are already working in Virginia - thank you. We need to keep our heads down, doing the work - canvassing, calling, texting, postcarding and donating - it all matters in the home stretch. In yesterday’s post there are lots of ways to volunteer too.
Biden’s Primetime Address - A very important speech last night from President Biden. A few excerpts:
Good evening, my fellow Americans. We’re facing an inflection point in history — one of those moments where the decisions we make today are going to determine the future for decades to come. That’s what I’d like to talk with you about tonight….
We mourn every innocent life lost. We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace and have an opportunity.
You know, the assault on Israel echoes nearly 20 months of war, tragedy, and brutality inflicted on the people of Ukraine — people that were very badly hurt since Putin launched his all-out invasion.
We’ve have not forgotten the mass graves, the bodies found bearing signs of torture, rape used as a weapon by the Russians, and thousands and thousands of Ukrainian children forcibly taken into Russia, stolen from their parents. It’s sick.
Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy — completely annihilate it…..
So let me share with you why making sure Israel and Ukraine succeed is vital for America’s national security. You know, history has taught us that when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction. They keep going, and the cost and the threats to America and to the world keep rising…
The United States and our partners across the region are working to build a better future for the Middle East, one where the Middle East is more stable, better connected to its neighbors, and — through innovative projects like the India-Middle East-Europe rail corridor that I announced this year at the summit of the world’s biggest economies. More predictable markets, more employment, less rage, less grievances, less war when connected. It benefits the people — it would benefit the people of the Middle East, and it would benefit us.
American leadership is what holds the world together. American alliances are what keep us, America, safe. American values are what make us a partner that other nations want to work with. To put all that at risk if we walk away from Ukraine, if we turn our backs on Israel, it’s just not worth it……
This is in a moment where there’s — you know, in moments like these, when fear and suspicion, anger and rage run hard, that we have to work harder than ever to hold on to the values that make us who we are.
We’re a nation of religious freedom, freedom of expression. We all have a right to debate and disagree without fear of being targeted at schools or workplaces or in our communities.
And we must renounce violence and vitriol, see each other not as enemies but as — but as fellow Americans.
When I was in Israel yesterday, I said that when America experienced the hell of 9/11, we felt enraged as well. While we sought and got justice, we made mistakes. So, I cautioned the government of Israel not to be blinded by rage.
And here in America, let us not forget who we are. We reject all forms — all forms of hate, whether against Muslims, Jews, or anyone. That’s what great nations do, and we are great nation….
Let me close with this. Earlier this year, I boarded Air Force One for a secret flight to Poland. There, I boarded a train with blacked-out windows for a 10-hour ride each way to Kyiv to stand with the people of Ukraine ahead of the one-year anniversary of their brave fight against Putin.
I’m told I was the first American [president] to enter a warzone not controlled by the United States military since President Lincoln.
With me was just a small group of security personnel and a few advisors.
But when I exited that train and met Zelenskyy — President Zelenskyy, I didn’t feel alone. I was bringing with me the idea of America, the promise of America to the people who are today fighting for the same things we fought for 250 years ago: freedom, independence, self-determination.
And as I walked through Kyiv with President Zelenskyy, with air raid sirens sounding in the distance, I felt something I’ve always believed more strongly than ever before: America is a beacon to the world still. Still.
We are, as my friend Madeleine Albright said, “the indispensable nation.”
Tonight, there are innocent people all over the world who hope because of us, who believe in a better life because of us, who are desperate not be forgotten be- — by us, and who are waiting for us…….
Powerful, important words from our President. A new Navigator poll out this morning finds American support for Ukraine funding at a healthy 55%, and Putin at 6% favorable!
The Wealth of Americans Rises Substantially - In a recent post I discussed how new data showed steep drops in murder rates and violent crime last year. Yesterday we got a new very encouraging new Fed report on the wealth of Americans:
American families saw the largest jump in their wealth on record between 2019 and 2022, according to Federal Reserve data released on Wednesday, as rising stock indexes, climbing home prices and repeated rounds of government stimulus left people’s finances healthier.
Median net worth climbed 37 percent over those three years after adjusting for inflation, the Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances showed — the biggest jump in records stretching back to 1989. At the same time, median family income increased 3 percent between 2018 and 2021 after subtracting out price increases.
While income gains were most pronounced for the affluent, the data showed clearly that Americans made nearly across-the-board financial progress in the three years that include the pandemic. Savings rose. Credit card balances fell. Retirement accounts swelled…..
The Fed’s newly released figures show that significant gaps in income and wealth persist across racial groups, although Black and Hispanic families saw the largest percentage gains in net worth during the pandemic period.
Black families’ median net worth climbed 60 percent, to $44,900. That was a bigger jump than the 31 percent increase for white families, which lifted their household wealth to $285,000. Hispanic families saw a 47 percent increase in net worth.
All of these figures are inflation-adjusted, meaning these gains are on top of inflation during this period. Remarkable stuff.
Look at this new data too - huge growth in Black and Hispanic business ownership in recent years. So encouraging.
Yes, hard to reconcile all this encouraging data with the persistent doom and gloom about what continues to be one of the strongest economies in American history. In a recent post I wrote about the urgent need to rethink how we poll and talk about the economy. Check out this data I pulled from a recent YouGov/Economist poll (all results are from registered voters):
Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the way things are going in your life today? Satisfied 64%, Dissatisfied 35%
How happy would you say you are with your current job? Great deal/somewhat 80%, A little/not at all 19%.
Do you think your family income will increase or decrease in 2024? Increase 45%, stay the same 41%, decrease 15%.
Do you consider yourself paid fairly or underpaid in your job? Paid fairly 56%, Underpaid 38%.
So, not big angry, or dissatisfaction with life, work, income, and not an expectation that things will get worse next year. It’s consistent with this data I’ve been sharing in recent months showing that last year despite it all we had the highest job satisfaction ever recorded in one influential survey:
But look at what happens when you ask questions about the overall economy:
Do you think the economy is shrinking or growing? Growing 22%, staying the same 25%, shrinking 37%. The economy has grown at 3% on average under Biden, the highest for any President since Clinton.
How would you describe the current state of the American economy? Excellent/good 30%, fair/poor 64%. Strongest recovery in G7, fastest job growth perhaps ever, very strong GDP growth, inflation is way down, wage growth is very strong, deficit is way down from Trump…..
Are the number of jobs in the United States…. Increasing 42%, staying the same 36%, decreasing 22%. Under Biden 14m new jobs have been created, and we’ve had the fastest job growth rate of any President since WWII.
So only 22% know the economy is growing, 58% don’t know jobs are increasing, and 64% think the economy is fair/poor. Ugh.
So how do we reconcile this data with both reality, and the far happier data above? It’s not easy to reconcile it, which is why I think we need a big rethink in how understand the economy and our lives together. Things are better here in America than we understand, and we have to have the courage to say it, loudly, again and again. Together, we need to keep drowning out the voices of pessimism, the voices that keep talking down America. We need to be loud and proud, aggressive info warriors for our democracy, proud patriots and keep talking up America, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. It’s how we win.
Keep working hard all, and heads down in Virginia! Simon