I guess some of us, myself included, forget that the economy is strictly pertaining to financial economics of the system as a whole. I have a hard time thinking that way. I answered no because from a holistic approach, were not much better off than we were before. People are still being stupid with their expenditures, and are setting themselves up for failure.
The US economy HAS been doing very well since 2008 BUT the decline in crude prices obviously affects it and the big question still remains with regards to its debt. Other than that it is probably still outperforming every other developed country.
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I'm presently taking a Technical Charting course from a Master Chartist and trader. Part of our homework assignment was to plot out charts on the futures for ES, GC, ZB, Euro, Aussie and CL. We were to show trend lines, channels, double bottoms, tops, triangles, flags, wedges, etc. Look what happened after the 2012 election. There's a downward trend in the S&P500 ever since. That's a pretty good indicator to me of how the overall economy is doing.
Not too mention people out of the workforce or real jobs report. The misery indexes. The ever increasing debt. The political mess. Then many wonder why Trump, Carson are so popular? Most Americans know how their wallet feels. The 2016 election will be about "the economy stupid."
Due to commodity prices getting hit, things are slowing down here in Canada. Alberta is being hit hard. We may end up with a federal government that decides the way to growth is to invest in roads and taxing the top 1% a bit more. I would not be buying the Toronto Index at this point.
My view on the US is that it will struggle as the majority of the worlds economies continue to crawl forward or start to roll backward. Is deflation happening anywhere? I thought the UK experienced some recently.
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Do we as traders, see the economy like the average Joe?
I believe if we're successful traders, we make insane amounts of money compared to the average American. So we probably don't feel the pain of the true economy like most Americans do. Sure, many products we purchase have gone down in price. Primarily, because they're manufactured in countries that pay slave wages. Technology is one of the only areas in our economy where the product gets better in most cases prices have gone down. Before I decided to trade full-time again, I worked for a local county government that is ranked in the top 10 wealthiest in US. Prior to 2008, I always received incremental pay raises every six months for tenure. Since 2008, with what's now taken out for "The Affordable Care Act," I made thousands less in take home pay in 2014 than I did in 2008. My gross pay stayed the same. The same is true for my wife who works for a large private corporation.
Ask my wife this question: Why are you spending so much at the grocery store? In 2008 it was about $600.00 a month. Today, it's double that. Almost every product in the grocery stores have doubled, yet they contain less product. Ice cream is a good example. We used to buy 1/2 gallon containers. Pretty standard. Have you tried to purchase 1/2 gallon containers of ice cream lately? They don't exist anymore. They now use the metric system and use liters. But that 1/2 gallon of ice cream has been reduced by about 30-40 percent. Many of the products in the grocery store have reduced portions. In many cases, the packaging appears to be the same size, but there's less product inside. Even with less product, the prices have gone up.
Prices at the pump have gone down the past couple of years due to geopolitical reasons. They will go back up when those countries flooding the market with oil - - at a loss will no longer be able to sustain the losses. I grew up in oil country. Every time the US starts to produce oil sufficient to make the US energy independent, the OPEC nations or Saudi's flood the market to shut down the US wells. This is the third time since the late 1970s. This is not only bad for the US economy in the long run, it's hurting the Russians even more. Why are the Russians in the Middle East now? It's ultimately about controlling the flow of oil. If they end up controlling the flow of oil coming from the Middle East countries, prices will quickly escalate. High oil and natural gas prices help the Russians. Japan attacked the US in 1941 because of oil supply. We fought Gulf War One over the supply of oil. Wars have and will continue to be fought over oil supply.
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What I have seen in Europe many people splurge on nice cars and vacations because 2008 shown them they can loose all the money and don't get any experience of them, so Investment is being cut and money spent ti get some fun out of money they worked hard for.