It’s Not The Economy

Pete Brown shares his working theory about why people don’t perceive that the U.S. economy as being healthy, despite the many indicators that it is.

Instead of a pension plan that I don’t have to think about, I have a 401k that I have to constantly look after and fret about and which might be wiped out by a bad turn in the stock market right when I need it. I’ve got health coverage through my employer, but every year it gets more expensive, I have to go through an increasingly byzantine process to select among a bunch of inscrutable options, and then who knows if the grab-bag of plans I end up with will even be accepted by any providers in my area?

It all feels like a total crapshoot where I am left to fend entirely for myself. There are a bunch of enormous corporations on the other side of the bargaining table, and one wrong decision on my part or moment of bad luck could mean financial ruin.

I think he hits on something insightful here. Even when things are good, they still feel precarious. A number of things can go south quickly, depending solely on a slight downturn in those same indicators that are now positive. If the overall economy takes a hit, your company may lay you off, at which time you are watching your savings wither from a stock market selloff, wondering where you are going to get health insurance from if you or someone in your family gets sick. The interdependence of so many theoretically separate components can make some of the most fundamental conditions of living feel like a set of dominos.

Made with in North Carolina
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