Americans Don't Know What to Think
Consumer sentiment is in the toilet, Harrison Bergeron wins in San Francisco, Where have all the sapiosexuals gone?
Good morning! I had a wedding last night after a busy week so today’s newsletter will be a little shorter (and probably choppier) than usual. My deepest apologies. Enjoy!
→ American’s don’t know what to think. U.S. consumer sentiment fell to its since October 2011 this month. There’s more pessimism in the streets right now than there was at the height of the pandemic.
Inflation is the obvious culprit here. I really don’t think it matters too much whether you think real wages are rising or not either. People simply don’t like paying more for something than they’re used to, irrespective of their ability to afford it. It triggers a defense mechanism in our brain that says, “hey—that’s not right!”. The more those prices keep rising the more “not right” we feel about it and the further down and to the right sentiment goes.
Back in September, sentiment dipped below pandemic levels for the first time, and as I wrote then, household balance sheets were strong, the financial obligations to disposable income ratio was at its lowest in decades, and consumers had big spending plans despite growing inflation fears and a pessimistic overall outlook.
Since October, 3- and 5-year consumer inflation expectations have been declining, and short-term (1-year) expectations declined in January for the first time in 14 months.
Financial obligations to disposable income remain at record lows.
And households don’t look like they have any plans to slow down spending.
This week’s record U.S. retail sales report also tells me that despite the glass-half-empty outlook, consumers aren’t ready to push back on rising prices yet. Yet here we are, with sentiment at record lows. Interestingly, a Gallup poll this week showed that 85% of Americans are satisfied with their personal life. That doesn’t quite square with the consumer sentiment numbers above until we consider that only 17% of Americans are satisfied with the way the country is going, according to the same poll.
So we (the individual) are going great, but we (the country) are not.
I have good news, though. Well, not so much news as a prediction: inflation should start peaking in the next couple of months. While we’re at it, more good news: you live in the best country in the world in the best time in history to be a human. Cheer up!
→ Progressives have had enough of Very Progressives. Progressive voters in San Francisco turned out in a big way this week as they rallied to reign in Very Progressives who have been using the public school system as a vessel for their woke ideologies. Three San Francisco Board of Education members were recalled (by more voters than elected them) after 35% of registered voters showed up to collectively ask, “What the actual fuck is going on here?”. It wasn’t even close: the members were ousted with 72%, 75%, and 79% votes.
What was astonishing as you followed the story is what seemed the board members’ shock at parental pushback. They seemed so detached from the normal hopes of normal people. They seemed honestly unaware of them. It was as if they were operating in some abstract universe in which their decisions demonstrated their praiseworthy antiracist bona fides. But voters came to see their actions as a kind of woke progressive vandalism that cleverly avoided their central responsibility: to open the schools.
- Wall Street Journal (emphasis mine)
While parents fought for months to get schools reopened and their kids inside classrooms, here are some of the things that the SF Board of Education was focused on:
San Francisco school board decides (unanimously) to spend +$600k to destroy art
Denying a spot on the Board’s volunteer parent committee to the gay father of a bi-racial child because he does not bring enough diversity to the group (read: because he’s white)
Changing the names of schools (which were closed at the time…) named after figures like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Francis Scott Key, and Robert Louis Stevenson
Constantly pushing for remote learning despite falling grades and rising depression
Downplaying the negative consequences of said remote learning by agreeing not to call it “learning loss”, but rather, “learning change”
Dispanding elite public high schools where admissions are based on test scores and grades
The last one was particularly infuriating for Asian-Americans, who one (of the now recalled) board members accused of using “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead’”. Apparently, Very Progressives want a nation of immigrants, unless those immigrants are too talented in which case it’s best to put a governor on their abilities, lest the dumber kids feel, well, dumb.
Coincidentally, I read Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron for the first time this week. It’s a short story that takes place in 2081 when everybody is finally equal thanks to the work of the United States Handicapper General, an entity you wouldn’t be crazy to think was inspired by today’s San Francisco Board of Education, if not for the fact that the story was written in 1961 (which makes Vonnegut a goddamn precog). It’s a story about equality at all costs and I for one am thrilled that voters in San Francisco are doing their best to keep it from coming true.
→ I want a sugar momma. This week Bloomberg Opinion published an article titled, “If Your Wife Makes More Than You Do, Read This”. I don’t fall in this category (yet), but I aspire to, so I read the piece. It cited an experiment that found that a man is less likely to be interested in a woman he thinks is smarter than him. I cannot relate, but ok. It also claims that a woman is less likely to marry a man if she makes more money than he does. Again, I don’t get it, but I guess? Confused, I searched for and found a counter-opinion which posited:
Simply put, women admire men, men adore women. Women love upwardly, loving to admire their man, men love downward, adoring and cherishing women. Women do not want to feel like their man’s mother. They don’t want him to feel like their little brother. They don’t want to be financially responsible for him. They don’t want to tower over him. (Mothers do this compared to their young sons).
- Indian Bronson
Given my genetic makeup, I’ll focus only on the man’s side of the equation here and begin by saying that the quote above is an oversimplification. I admire and look up to my wife (she’s a badass!), in addition to adoring and cherishing her.
In my experience, a man’s greatest fear is inadequacy. Inadequacy is manifested in many ways: height, intelligence, wallet size, penis size, etc. Lacking in any of these areas will trigger defense mechanisms designed to overcompensate for any perceived shortcomings. You know what I’m talking about…
But most feelings of inadequacy aren’t real. They don’t actually exist. They only do inside our thoughts because we feed them and make them known. Nobody in the world would have known the guy in the picture above had a small dick if he hadn’t broadcast it with his vehicle choice. Not dating (or being intimidated by) smarter women is the equivalent of buying a monster truck to hide your perceived lack of intelligence or financial stability.
Maybe it’s just me, but intelligence and earning potential in women is sexy. Seriously, where have the sapiosexuals gone? This is something men should be running toward, not away from.
I’m also very receptive to the idea of being a Trophy Husband. Soon…