What Middle Class?

Hat tip to Mike Shedlock, a registered investment advisor at SitkaPacific Capital Management for highlighting the following video for his blog readers.

This is the portion of the blog post where I typically add a snarky comment.

Nope. Not going to joke about this.

We Don’t Need No Education (with apologies to Pink Floyd)

Enrollment declines continued to worsen this spring. Total post-secondary enrollment fell to 16.2 million this spring, marking a one-year decline of 4.1 percent or 685,000 students. Enrollment declined this spring at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Following a 3.5 percent drop last spring, post-secondary institutions have lost nearly 1.3 million students since spring 2020. Undergraduate enrollment accounted for most of the decline, dropping 4.7 percent this spring or over 662,000 students from spring 2021. As a result, the undergraduate student body is now 9.4 percent or nearly 1.4 million students smaller than before the pandemic.

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center — https://nscresearchcenter.org/current-term-enrollment-estimates/

I wonder why so many kids are not going to college.

Make $250K and Live Paycheck to Paycheck?

Some 36% of households taking in nearly four times the median US salary devote nearly all of their income to household expenses, according to a survey by industry publication Pymnts.com and LendingClub Corp.

One-Third of Americans Making $250,000 Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck, Survey Finds — https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-01/a-third-of-americans-making-250-000-say-costs-eat-entire-salary

A billion dollars isn’t what it used to be. Nelson Bunker Hunt

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/nelson_bunker_hunt_176038

Scary Charts (the scariest chart of 2021)

https://wolfstreet.com/2021/12/23/oops-americans-big-pay-increases-got-run-over-by-even-bigger-price-increases/

This week I made a donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma https://www.regionalfoodbank.org/. If you live in Oklahoma please consider a year end gift. There is a $500,000 dollar for dollar match until year end. If you live elsewhere there will be a similar charity you can give to.

End of post.

New House Construction Supply Chain Mess

The inventory of new single-family houses that home builders put on the market for sale rose to 389,000 in October, the highest since September 2008, according to data from the Census Bureau.

Houses for Sale, Highest since 2008, as Construction Costs Spike Most in 42 Years, Projects Stall — https://wolfstreet.com/2021/11/27/whats-behind-the-huge-pile-up-of-new-houses-for-sale-highest-since-2008-as-construction-costs-spike-most-in-42-years-and-projects-stall
Does anyone else see a problem here?

Where Are The Starter Homes?

Pergens and his wife, Amanda, have a 6-year-old daughter and another child due this month. She stopped working as a pastry chef during the pandemic. They rent a small two-bedroom apartment. “We build all these fancy homes,” Pergens says. “Fancy, fancy houses … and low-income apartments. And there’s absolutely nothing in between.”

The Housing Shortage Is Significant. It’s Acute For Small, Entry-Level Homes — https://www.npr.org/2021/09/04/1033585422/the-housing-shortage-is-significant-its-acute-for-small-entry-level-homes?

Good article but the analysis is only partially correct. Affordable housing has been an issue for decades. It’s not merely an issue of current economic conditions. It’s a lack of political will and the continuing demise of the middle class. WAY BACK last century our starter home cost less than $100,000 and we had over 1600 square feet 3BR 2B.

It’s no wonder the newest hit show on HGTV is Cheap Old Houses. https://www.hgtv.com/shows/discovery-plus-home/articles/cheap-old-houses-hgtv-show

Every Day is an Emergency – Psychiatric Bed Shortages Nationwide

The pandemic and the parallel economic crisis have fueled new concern about access to mental health care. An estimated 40% of American adults are have a condition involving mental illness or substance abuse. In June, federal health officials reported nearly 11% percent of adults surveyed seriously considered suicide during the past 30 days.

‘Every day is an emergency’: The pandemic is worsening psychiatric bed shortages nationwide — https://www.statnews.com/2020/12/23/mental-health-covid19-psychiatric-beds/?utm_campaign=rss

We are just ten months into the Great Pandemic and I fear conditions will get worse before they get better.

Movie Theaters Got Annihilated in 2020

Through 2019, the way movie theaters tried to deal with this structural decline in moviegoers was by raising ticket prices, offering big comfortable chairs to justify those ticket prices, installing bars with overpriced beer and food, and cranking up prices for popcorn and sodas. Fewer people paying a lot more money was the trick to maintain revenue growth.

And because going to the movies got so expensive and because much cheaper options have increasingly been available on the big screen at home, the number of tickets sold continued to drop. Go figure.

After 17 Years of Falling Ticket Sales, Movie Theaters Got Annihilated in 2020 — https://wolfstreet.com/2021/01/10/movie-theater-ticket-sales-after-falling-for-years-got-annihilated-in-2020/

The local movie theater which closed in March 2020 has yet to reopen. I doubt they ever will.

“There are people close who are in need”

Several churches joined forces to distribute food on Friday as part of the “Simultaneous Free Food Giveaway.

“The Rev. Derrick Scobey, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, helped coordinate the event, partnering with World Vision and Joey Abbo, chief executive officer of the Needs Foundation. The humanitarian aid organization and the foundation supplied the food that was distributed on Friday.

Oklahoma churches, leaders join forces for ‘simultaneous’ food distribution — https://oklahoman.com/article/5678143/oklahoma-churches-leaders-join-forces-for-simultaneous-food-distribution

If you have the means to help please help others in need.