The return of the angry white voter

This morning I scanned the latest headlines.  One came from Christianity Today, often referred to as the "magazine for pastors," titled “Our Nostalgia is Spiritually Dangerous.” That premise is provocative and prompted me to reflect whether I should be fundamentally concerned with the state of local, national, and global affairs, or whether I’m simply longing for the good old days.  The author asserts “Giving into fantasies of the past cheats us of the opportunity to cultivate hope that overcomes despair.”  In evaluating whether I am “nostalgic,” I considered the following data and issues.

As of Q1 2020, and over the last decade, Federal Public Debt doubled to $23.2 Trillion,  and that number is expected to grow significantly, with more stimulus packages on the horizon -- consumers, small and large businesses, State and Local governments, and perhaps some lending institutions are all expected to hold their hands out for more financial aid in Q3.  For the first time since WWII, US Federal Debt exceeds GDP.  A bad trend.

The CDC shows that COVID-related visits to Emergency Departments were <4% of total emergency visits, down nearly by half from early April (see chart below).  Yet, governors are introducing more draconian measures to restrict our freedoms (good trend on the health front, another bad trend, relative to the actions of power-hungry politicians).

Many pastors, by accepting lockdown of their churches, have tacitly agreed that physical church is not essential.  Worse, keeping churches closed is the latest form of virtue signaling.  Andy Stanley, the lead pastor of megachurch, North Point Community Church, in Atlanta, GA, recently said: “We love you too much to open the doors on Sunday morning. Let's focus on doing stuff for the community.”  As someone who cherishes 1st Amendment freedom to worship as a church body, this is another bad trend.

As of June 27, at least 17 major cities across the U.S. were either evaluating or voting on proposals to defund police departments.  I submit that it is impossible to maintain law and order when disinvesting in Law Enforcement -- another bad trend.

There is substantial debate whether to physically reopen schools this fall, notwithstanding a recent study that revealed a total of 13 COVID-related deaths, across a population of nearly 51 million children aged 0-14 in the U.S., between January 1 to May 20.  Many school boards are not conducting a balanced assessment of the risk of physically reopening schools, relative to the other risks of proceeding with only virtual education.  Either way, teachers expect to be paid a full salary.  As someone who asserts that courses spanning Calculus, Languages, Choir, Shop class, Band, Physics, extracurricular sport and events like Homecoming are better experienced in person, I deem this another bad trend.

Over the past two weeks, 100,000 restaurants closed, due to new government mandates, and 1/3 of U.S. restaurants are not taking reservations.  Eight million people in the food service industry were laid off or furloughed from March through May.  American restaurants are projected to lose $240 billion in revenue this year, due to the government’s response to COVID.  Bad trend.

As of June 26, the University of Michigan’s Consumer Consent Index remains at its lowest level since December of 2011.  Bad trend.

The CARES act was funded almost exclusively through money printed by the Federal Reserve.  Goldman Sachs analysts estimate the Fed bought $2.4 trillion in Treasury securities as part of its recently reintroduced bond-buying programs. Economists at Morgan Stanley put the number at around $2.5 trillion in 2020 alone, rising to as much as $3 trillion for the entirety of the bond-buying program.  The Fed is effectively subsidizing and nationalizing the bond market through artificially low rates, and crowding out other lenders, who would demand a higher return.  Bad Trend, as the Fed will struggle to extricate itself from Quantitative Easing -- we are now a nation, and world, addicted to low rates from the Central Banks.

My self-assessment:  the guy in the mirror is not nostalgic.  Rather, he is a much angrier version of 2016’s “Angry White Voter”.  Look for him to make his presence felt on November 3.

This morning I scanned the latest headlines.  One came from Christianity Today, often referred to as the "magazine for pastors," titled “Our Nostalgia is Spiritually Dangerous.” That premise is provocative and prompted me to reflect whether I should be fundamentally concerned with the state of local, national, and global affairs, or whether I’m simply longing for the good old days.  The author asserts “Giving into fantasies of the past cheats us of the opportunity to cultivate hope that overcomes despair.”  In evaluating whether I am “nostalgic,” I considered the following data and issues.

As of Q1 2020, and over the last decade, Federal Public Debt doubled to $23.2 Trillion,  and that number is expected to grow significantly, with more stimulus packages on the horizon -- consumers, small and large businesses, State and Local governments, and perhaps some lending institutions are all expected to hold their hands out for more financial aid in Q3.  For the first time since WWII, US Federal Debt exceeds GDP.  A bad trend.

The CDC shows that COVID-related visits to Emergency Departments were <4% of total emergency visits, down nearly by half from early April (see chart below).  Yet, governors are introducing more draconian measures to restrict our freedoms (good trend on the health front, another bad trend, relative to the actions of power-hungry politicians).

Many pastors, by accepting lockdown of their churches, have tacitly agreed that physical church is not essential.  Worse, keeping churches closed is the latest form of virtue signaling.  Andy Stanley, the lead pastor of megachurch, North Point Community Church, in Atlanta, GA, recently said: “We love you too much to open the doors on Sunday morning. Let's focus on doing stuff for the community.”  As someone who cherishes 1st Amendment freedom to worship as a church body, this is another bad trend.

As of June 27, at least 17 major cities across the U.S. were either evaluating or voting on proposals to defund police departments.  I submit that it is impossible to maintain law and order when disinvesting in Law Enforcement -- another bad trend.

There is substantial debate whether to physically reopen schools this fall, notwithstanding a recent study that revealed a total of 13 COVID-related deaths, across a population of nearly 51 million children aged 0-14 in the U.S., between January 1 to May 20.  Many school boards are not conducting a balanced assessment of the risk of physically reopening schools, relative to the other risks of proceeding with only virtual education.  Either way, teachers expect to be paid a full salary.  As someone who asserts that courses spanning Calculus, Languages, Choir, Shop class, Band, Physics, extracurricular sport and events like Homecoming are better experienced in person, I deem this another bad trend.

Over the past two weeks, 100,000 restaurants closed, due to new government mandates, and 1/3 of U.S. restaurants are not taking reservations.  Eight million people in the food service industry were laid off or furloughed from March through May.  American restaurants are projected to lose $240 billion in revenue this year, due to the government’s response to COVID.  Bad trend.

As of June 26, the University of Michigan’s Consumer Consent Index remains at its lowest level since December of 2011.  Bad trend.

The CARES act was funded almost exclusively through money printed by the Federal Reserve.  Goldman Sachs analysts estimate the Fed bought $2.4 trillion in Treasury securities as part of its recently reintroduced bond-buying programs. Economists at Morgan Stanley put the number at around $2.5 trillion in 2020 alone, rising to as much as $3 trillion for the entirety of the bond-buying program.  The Fed is effectively subsidizing and nationalizing the bond market through artificially low rates, and crowding out other lenders, who would demand a higher return.  Bad Trend, as the Fed will struggle to extricate itself from Quantitative Easing -- we are now a nation, and world, addicted to low rates from the Central Banks.

My self-assessment:  the guy in the mirror is not nostalgic.  Rather, he is a much angrier version of 2016’s “Angry White Voter”.  Look for him to make his presence felt on November 3.