Excellent chart from Catherine Rampbell aggregated National Federation of Independent Business survey data going back to 1986 on what small business owners say is their number one problem:
Earlier today, Eli Lake wrote “Dear U.S. electorate, Your elites are not really as bad as your recent voting suggests. Give us a break. I mean some of this your fault too.” That’s clever, but I think it’s mistaken. The elite really is responsible, but non-elites are responding in a non-elite kind of way that doesn’t put its finger on the precise problem.
But the main problem here is that the elites who control monetary policy in the United States believe that they could combat this problem, but choose not to do so, preferring to merely say that if things get much worse then they’ll step up. Meanwhile, the elites whose job it is to confirm new nominees to the monetary elite are too lazy to do so and the elites in the political press are largely ignoring the issue. It’s a huge problem. People are upset because things are going poorly. Things are going poorly because businesses don’t have customers.
But the Fed can affect inflation and forward-looking inflation expectations and could, by doing so, increase spending among those who have money and increase the rate at which the indebted repair their balance sheets. These moves would, in turn, boost incomes which would reinforce those trends. And nobody’s noticing the fact that even the Fed’s biggest hawks don’t actually deny that monetary stimulus could put millions of people back to work.