Inflation under President Joe Biden and a Democrat-controlled Congress has been eating away at Americans’ paychecks for more than a year, and now the worsening economic conditions in the country are starting to ravage their retirement accounts as well.
Just the News reported Friday that the Dow Jones fell below 30,000, erasing all of the index’s gains since Biden took office and “signaling what looks to be an ongoing downward economic slide.”
Friday afternoon trading saw the Dow tumble to around 29,400, way below the level of roughly 31,000 when Biden took his oath of office in January 2021.
And since mid-August, the index has been mostly on a downward trajectory, falling from a peak of near 34,000. Year-to-date, the index has fallen 7,000 points as the economy is expected to continue slowing amid ongoing Federal Reserve rate increases designed to curb inflation.
The lengthy slide has put the Dow into what economists described as a “bear market,” which is when futures and stock prices decline while investors signal pessimism and there are other negative economic signs. And as the markets collapse, so, too, do Americans’ 401(k) retirement accounts.
“Economic difficulties have been compounded by ongoing high inflation rates and supply chain issues,” Just the News reported. “The Federal Reserve’s aggressive efforts to tamp down inflation via higher interest rates, meanwhile, have similarly choked economic activity, particularly in the housing and mortgage sectors.”
“Inflation and rising rates are not a U.S. phenomena. That’s been a challenge for global markets as well,” Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors, told CNBC. “It’s clear the economy is slowing yet inflation is ramping and the central bank is compelled to address it. Pivot to Europe, the ECB [European Central Bank] is raising rates from negative to something positive at a time when they have an energy crisis and a war in their backyard.”
Julian Emanuel, head of equity, derivatives and quantitative strategy at Evercore ISI, added: “By basically endorsing the idea of a recession, Powell set off the emotional phase of the bear market.”
“The bad news is you are seeing and you will continue to see it in the near term in indiscriminate selling of virtually every asset. The good news is that tends to be that the end game of virtually every bear market we’ve ever witnessed, and it’s coming in September and October, where that has historically been the normal state of affairs,” he added.
“The market has been transitioning clearly and quickly from worries over inflation to concerns over the aggressive Federal Reserve campaign,” noted Quincy Krosby of LPL Financial in remarks to the outlet. “You see bond yields rising to levels we haven’t seen in years — it’s changing the mindset to how does the Fed get to price stability without something breaking.”
By far, the number one issue of concern for a majority of Americans heading into the November midterms is inflation and the state of the economy, neither of which bode well for Biden and Democrats.