The United States of Imbalance

The United States of Imbalance

A familiar grocery store checker (members of a dying breed) recently mentioned to me,

“What do you think is going on? What’s going to happen?

We’re living through a lot of imbalance.

She replied, “We’re all imbalanced inside. Everything is imbalanced.”

What has been going on? Let’s go back to April 2020. What happened then? Yes, of course. THE Coronavirus of coronaviruses, COVID-19. Here in May 2022 widespread imbalances continue coursing throughout our society and economy. Imbalance borne of the pandemic stemming from excessive federal stimulus programs and preceding decades of cultural rot have led us to this moment in time. And what about the invasion at our Southern Border? How will this all shake out? Time will tell. The signs are everywhere as our society continues fraying at the seams.

Our divisions continue to deepen and widen. A leaked U.S. Supreme Court brief in early May 2022 detailing a potential overturning of the U.S. Abortion Law, Roe v. Wade, further illustrate the imbalances infecting our society. To think our countrymen would celebrate (primarily on one side, the left) a procedure which has snuffed out lives to the tune of nearly 65,000,000+ souls since the law’s enshrinement in 1973 is beyond depraved: Selfish. Sick. Narcissistic. Of the 6 women this writer has known who volunteered to me having had abortions (thankfully, mercifully not one of mine), they were all haunted and broken. Ruined, frankly. How could one not be? This polarizing issue should be left for the States to decide in this Life. Ultimately, God will render his final judgment.

Imbalance has also disordered and reordered our economy to an extreme degree, thanks to shortsighted federal policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s take the U.S. Housing Market. U.S. homes for sale (and for rent) have been in the throes of an artificially created supply shortage since 2020, primarily because of several Federal programs originally intended to help people, yet have instead likely inflated a massive housing bubble. The now expired rent eviction moratorium which began under the Trump Administration, and subsequently extended numerous times by the Biden Administration penalized landlords by giving tenants a free pass in not having to pay their rent. While originally well intended to keep people from being evicted during a global health crisis, this law was ruinous for many owners with mortgages who rely upon tenant cash flow to assist in servicing these mortgages and other associated property management expenses. Approximately 3,100,000 renters rode the moratoriums who would otherwise have been evicted under normal circumstances. This too has led to a shortage of rental properties and has contributed (in part) to substantial rent increases.

The Mortgage Forbearance Program (now expired) contributed to the shortage of homes for sale. The Federal Government enabled people to stay in their homes without having to make regular mortgage payments also in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. This was in addition to a decade of marked reduced home construction in the 2010’s. What we have now in May 2022 is the lowest number of existing homes for sale in nearly 40 years. Why would homeowners sell their rapidly appreciating asset (and growing equity) to pay more for less home with a diminished supply of houses for sale? A Free Ride. Demand for homes naturally skyrocketed during this time which enabled home prices to dramatically rise nearly 30% since 2020. Housing Affordability has become a real problem for many would be buyers who are priced out of the market nationwide. Rising interest rates (30 year mortgages as of this writing hover near 5.5%) further erode buyer’s purchasing power.

Further imbalances in our economy were stoked by the Federal Government through a multitude (Trillions worth) of stimulus which set up the ideal environment for inflation to take off; Too many dollars chasing fewer goods. Inflation (now over 8% – a 40 year high) is the economic virus that has infected nearly every aspect of our economic environment. Everything costs more. Now with soaring demand after 2 years of consumers being stuck at home flush with stimulus cash you have even more imbalance; labor shortages (1.9 million as of May 2022), supply shortages thanks to lockdowns (domestically & worldwide), food shortages, damn near everything shortages.

If the current performance of the U.S. Stock Market offers any indication, these imbalances are beginning to have a deleterious effect. He’s hoping these volatile forces can stabilize. There are a great many things out of our control but we can control how we conduct ourselves and vote with our dollars. Keep your powder dry.

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