This is the key takeaway:

"Disproportionate doom seems to be a new American affliction."

When we consider that most (polled)* Americans mistakenly believe that inflation is still rising (it’s falling), that inflation is higher than wage growth (under Biden wages are outpacing prices), and that household wealth has fallen (again, Biden has increased family holdings).

This is the media narrative that we ALL have to spend our time countering, because it is in very large part (like the false "red wave" narrative), the reason too many Americans hold these mistaken beliefs.


*On polling: I for one, think/believe/know our economy is stronger now than under DJT. But, I've never been polled. How many of the readers of your Substack have been polled...ever?

Polling, unlike actual black and white economic data, is based on the opinion of the pollsters, and the questions themselves are pre-determinative of certain outcomes and results (i.e., what questions are asked/not asked, how those questions are framed, what—if any—follow-ups there are, etc.).

We are starting to understand that before election day (especially MONTHS before), horserace polling can’t tell us anything we don’t already know about who will win the electoral college.

And now this—as I call it—"vibes" polling is not much better in value.

But the media will nonetheless hype the heck out of it—because the amount work it takes to report on a poll's results is so much less than having to do actual research on economic data to report on the world, as it actually is rather than to perpetuate binary, conflict-driven narratives that force false equivalences and substitute a misguided both sides-ism, for objectivity.

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Dec 4, 2023·edited Dec 4, 2023

Thanks as always for your incredibly smart, clearheaded wisdom! Part of why I so appreciate your leadership is that you call out the BS rather than succumbing to it. I hope our Democratic members of Congress follow suit in spreading the word. If President Biden's poll numbers are low, that's on all of us to help raise them each day by giving him and the Democratic caucus credit for the amazing progress we've collectively made since taking office. Loud and proud!

Relatedly, Senator Gillibrand posted on Threads today about the Bipartisan Safer Communites Act, and her passive text failed to credit President Biden's leadership. She wrote, "Today I released a report tracking the progress we've made since the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was signed into law last year." I replied, "Wish you'd written in active voice: "...tracking the progress we've made since President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law last year." Aside from using passive voice, she also missed a perfect opportunity to praise just one of President Biden's many extraordinary achievements.

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Thank you for your data. I think people are just burned out. I am in my 70's and have never seen so much political news....from all branches. It is all too much. Everyone I know is cynical. I keep plugging along and wish for a quieter, kinder time. BTW I also agree with the polling comment.

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Terrific post, Simon. Very important to get a better understanding of the "disconnect" in sentiment. "Expressive responding" and what MAGA has done to undermine ALL of our institutions, beliefs etc -- especially the economy -- is what we're up against. Its far bigger than just the economy but as always, we/Hopium can find ways to counter. And we will!

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Great data, Simon. Let's not also forget that we get stories on a regular basis (vis a vis Nancy's comment below) about how children's poverty rates are climbing with the termination of child tax credit expansion, or x numbers of gen (xyz) can't afford homes, or we're running out of people to provide eldercare. Those all add up to make people cranky or worse.

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Love the visual power of these Politano charts.

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A-Fucking-Men my brother....preach on! 🇺🇸🙏🎹🎶😎

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I am reading “deep diversity a compassionate, scientific approach to achieving racial justice” by Shakil Choudhury. An eye opener and uses brain science to understand us/them. Highly recommend.

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Things may get even better in 2024— so long as the Fed cuts interest rates

This year was very good for US stock investors. But an MLIV Pulse survey found 63% of respondents expect their personal investments to deliver an even stronger performance next year.

But that optimism hinges on the assumption that the Fed will lower interest rates, fueling rallies in stocks and bonds.

Investors also see AI as a long-term source of profits, outpacing the gains in stock of weight-loss drug producers or cybersecurity providers.

The key threat? Sticky inflation, which may prevent the Fed from acting.

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Thanks for sharing those great charts with the economic data. I will be sharing with my friends to spread the word.

One thing that is going up in price after the first of the year is the cost of 1st class and postcard stamps. I wanted to share this as PSA for the Hopium readers whose activism involves writing GOTV letters and postcards or Register to Vote postcards with Field Team 6.


Letter stamps will be bumped up from $0.66 to $0.68 and postcard stamps are going from $0.51 to $0.53 each. New prices take effect Jan 21, 2024.

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I think Americans need to be reminded how bad things were at the beginning of the pandemic. Maybe then they will understand how much better things are now. During the first week of the shutdown in March 2020, twenty million Americans suddenly lost their jobs TWENTY MILLION! Today, jobs are plentiful. Unemployment is low.

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Would you

Please provide us a 5-8 point list of domestic economic positive changes like: price of drugs, price of electric cars, etc. which we and all democrats could save and reference over and over again , suggesting the economy is good. The Republicans just keep repeating that the economy is bad . We need to quickly use items people understand to counteract those comments . Thanks for your work.

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My industry is not doing well. The biotech business depends on venture capital and it is now more expensive for investors to fund new start ups due to the Fed Reserve interest hikes. In one quarter, I recall their investments were down by half! My mom is a realtor and that market is also heavily hurt by the raising interest rates. It’s now much more expensive to get a mortgage and people feel stuck. It’s a big factor in market sentiment.

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EXACTLY THIS. Add in how lower-middle-class and poor people were hit hardest with skyrocketing rent while still trying to dig themselves out of the financial hole from the pandemic (spending their savings, racking up debt, and still being behind on bills), to them it doesn't feel at all like the economy is good. It can be demonstrably better, but when people don't feel it, there's no way to convince them.

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Simon, Greg O'Connor here...New subscriber! DJT talked up the economy, that low inflation, 200k+ jobs a month, low gas prices economy he inherited from Obama, every day. Through pure repetition, it's now, in my opinion, "in the blood" of many swing voters that the economy was strong during his first three years and Republicans are "better on the economy"

We need a national set of Democratic Economic Talking Points ASAP that every elected official repeats constantly. We also need to find a way to reach those outside of the progressive ecosphere.

Joe, to your point that you "hope" Dems in Congress will suddenly become forceful, articulate, and consistent in economic messaging...I am afraid that is not in the cards at this time. It can be, but it's not! GOC

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As Simon reminds us, Hopium means “hope with a plan.” We don’t just “hope,” we collectively work to make it happen. I’d urge all of us to call/email our Democratic representatives to step up their game. Be loud and proud in praising President Biden’s and Democratic extraordinary achievements against all odds.

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The fact that it's mostly Republicans who deny that the economy is better definitely demonstrates that it's mostly a matter of brainwashing from Fox "News" and their ilk. BUT there are a lot of my friends (lower-middle-class and poor) who are still digging themselves out of the financial hole they are in from the past few years and can't feel the economic upturn - not "don't want to", but CAN'T.

Imagine that you were barely making it in the first place, then comes a pandemic and you're out of work, so if you had any reserves you spent them, then racked up debt borrowing wherever you could, and THEN inflation hit. Now imagine that you're one of the not-insignificant number who couldn't get unemployment benefits during all that time. What would you feel when people told you, "But the economy is doing so well!" You'd be angry at how tone-deaf they are.

Yes, we need to scream from the rooftops about how well Biden et al have shepherded us through this. He's really done an incredible job, and it's because of his experience and because he's just that good.

But we also need to develop some compassionate answers for those people who aren't feeling it NOT because of right-wing brainwashing, but because their financial situation is NOT GOOD. If we don't do that and instead insist on how good the economy is doing, they will just get angrier and angrier and justifiably tune us out. You wonder why so many Obama voters voted for Trump? That's why. That's EXACTLY why. Dems ignoring the pain of so many due to income inequality turning their American dream into an American nightmare.

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