My wife has always been extremely enthusiastic about Christmas, to a point where I have complained on the radio about it for years. She often starts the Christmas decorating very early, but this year, our plans were disrupted because we had our floors redone and most of our furniture was in the garage, blocking access to the boxes of decorations she keeps. The holiday season is a time when many people are feeling pressure to buy Christmas gifts, but a CNBC survey found that 74% of Americans are feeling stressed about their finances. A report by LendingClub revealed that 4 in 10 consumers consider themselves worse off financially than in 2022, with 60% of adults living “paycheck to paycheck.”
Valley economist Jim Rounds mentioned on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News that inflation in metro Phoenix is at 2.9%, compared to nearly 12% at this time last year. He also mentioned that housing costs are decreasing, and he predicts a mild recession in Arizona next year. However, things were so bad not that long ago, at least in terms of inflation, that it is difficult to imagine what needs to happen for things to improve.
Former President Donald Trump’s signing off on two COVID stimulus/government funding packages in 2020 is thought to have contributed to the inflation. The saying goes that “perception is reality,” which has never been truer to me than when I worked in politics. It is unclear whether all of this can be blamed on Joe Biden, but if things do not improve significantly and quickly, the 2024 holiday present he is hoping for the most (his reelection to the White House) may be something even Santa can’t deliver.