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Apr 10Liked by Terry Cowgill

As for the issue of "America's reality distortion machine," it reminds me of a quote from a former Facebook engineer. It's included in a book I'm currently reading by former NY Times reporter Max Fisher ("The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World"):

"One reason I think it is particularly important for us to talk about [the impact of social media] now is that we may be the last generation that can remember life before."

Seems like people of a certain age (you know, like you and me, Terry!) can still provide essential perspective to the current information (and misinformation) deluge!

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Oh good!!!!

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I read that RFK (I like your assigned pen name!!) was being subsidized by big Trump money donors in the hopes of pulling votes away from Biden, appealing to Haley voters, etc. I wish he were not running.

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I've heard the same thing, Carolyn. But it looks like the Trump campaign is having second thoughts about that strategy.

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Interesting article, Terry, but I disagree with the premise that I think the economy is bad because I've: 1) heard about it on newscasts, 2) heard others complaining on social media, or 3) heard politicians complaining about the economy. Depending upon which politician you hear, the economy is lousy or great. I don't have a TikTok account and have stopped looking at X. I do hear people of all political stripes on newscasts, offering various opinions on the economy.

My personal feelings about the economy are founded in my shopping experiences. Just today my husband and I went to a store to purchase a large quantity of sugar for his bees. Two years ago, a 25 pound bag was $7.14. About a year ago, it jumped to $11.00. Today it was $19.84. Nothing fancy--just sugar. Quite frankly, that's nuts.

Our younger daughter would love to buy a house instead of paying rent, but even though she has a decent-paying job in education, with mortgage rates so high it's just a dream. She can't afford the down payment banks are demanding, let alone monthly payments. She's better off renting.

I don't believe the spin on Bidenomics, or talk that the economy is roaring. I don't know anyone who has benefitted from upwardly trending salaries. It's not that that kind of talk is a "lie", but I'd like to know who and where these jobs are.

Thank you for an always thought-provoking read.

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Apr 10·edited Apr 10Author

Hi Sharon. I did acknowledge that inflation (and the interest rate hikes necessary to combat it) have taken their toll on us and are real. We certainly felt it here at my house.

My observation that those who still take a dim view of economy must be gathering impressions from social media and politicians is really a reaction to what comes just above that last paragraph: that 74% of respondents in the WSJ survey said inflation has moved in the wrong direction in the past year.

This is objectively and factually wrong, but nearly three quarters of respondents insist it is true. If you can come up with a better explanation for why people still feel this way, then I am certainly open to suggestion.

Sometimes people get impressions that are simply wrong. Many voters think American energy production has been hobbled by enviromentalists and the radical left. Donald Trump has said one of his campaign mantras will be "Drill, baby, drill." In fact, US oil production is at record levels, so much so that we are now the top oil producer in the history of the industry. But tens of millions of Americans beleve otherwise. How can this be?

BTW the economic data I cite is definitely not "Biden spin." Most of it comes from nonpartisan sources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Congressional Budget Office.

To be clear, I'm not a fan of Joe Biden. I have followed his career over many decades. Intellectually, he is weak tea. In the words of former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served in the Obama administration, Biden "has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden bumbled and royally screwed up the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. His main talent was getting elected and reelected senator in a tiny state that is little more than a tax haven for yacht owners and credit card companies.

Thanks for reading. Our exchanges are always fun.

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Apr 10Liked by Terry Cowgill

Yes, our exchanges are fun--you challenge me, and I appreciate that.

You said that inflation is moving in the right direction, but today's release of inflation percentages might indicate otherwise. Even the NYT characterizes the numbers as "stubborn". I'll say. When I think about it, I realize that most people probably don't pay attention to inflation percentages going up or down. The reason they believe inflation is moving in the wrong direction is because of the prices they're seeing in the grocery store or at the gas pump. I know that food and fuel costs are removed from numbers that the economists crunch but let's face it--that's what consumers see and feel. If those necessities numbers are still elevated--and climbing--politicians can say whatever they want. No one will believe them.

Isn't this election depressing? I honest to God do not know what I'm going to do when I vote. I was honestly considering RFK Jr., but then I read your piece on him. I can't vote for Trump, and I won't vote for Biden. Your characterization of him is spot on. Of course I live in a blue state, so my vote doesn't matter much anyway.

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Apr 10·edited Apr 10Author

Right, and once again it looks like the center-left and center-right will be denied a serious third choice.

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