Last week, Americans were treated to a bit of financial wisdom from someone named Teresa Ghilarducci, a Schwartz professor of economics at the New School for Social Research (a private university in New York). She wrote a piece entitled “Inflation Stings Most If You Earn Less Than $300K. Here’s How to Deal,” which appeared in Bloomberg.
As someone who lives in a deeply rural area on a modest income, I’m fascinated by frugality, so I read the piece with attention. Seldom have I seen such clueless advice from an “expert.” The column was widely mocked across the blogosphere, as well it should be.
As the title implies, Dr. Ghilarducci addresses the 96% of Americans who earn less than $300,000 per year. After crunching through various iterations of how rising food and gas prices are harming people in different socio-economic levels, Ghilarducci gets right down to business – and her business, apparently, is to shove the progressive agenda upon us. After all, isn’t the goal to own nothing and be happy?
First, she recommends ditching the car – maybe even selling it – and taking the bus. That’s a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that? Of course, the nearest bus service to our current location is approximately 90 miles away. Apparently, Dr. Ghilarducci is unaware that bus service is not a universal option across the breadth and width of this fair land.
Next pearl of wisdom: “When it comes to food, don’t be afraid to explore.” What she recommends “exploring” is a vegan diet. “Plan to cut out the middle creature and consume plants directly,” she suggests. “It’s a more efficient, healthier and cheaper way to get calories.”
Her next piece of advice caused jaws to hit the floor for frugal people like me: “And stay away from buying in bulk – you usually don’t save any money by buying more. Sure, there may be great deals, but most consumers wind up falling for the tricks that entice them to spend more – things like offering free samples, which often leads to impulse buying, or placing discounted big-ticket items near the entrance. If you absolutely must buy in bulk, try to do it with a friend, so you can split some of the costs and ensure everything gets eaten or used.”
Does this woman have a family? Has she ever shopped for more than herself? Sweetheart, if I’m going to drive 90 miles to the nearest city big enough to have bus service, I sure as heck am going to stock up while I’m there. It’s a whole lot cheaper in the long run to buy in bulk and preserve the extra than it is to run to the store (on the bus, of course) for daily necessities. How can an “economist” possibly conclude staying away from buying in bulk is wise?
Next, sacrifice your pets: “If you’re one of the many Americans who became a new pet owner during the pandemic, you might want to rethink those costly pet medical needs. It may sound harsh, but researchers actually don’t recommend pet chemotherapy – which can cost up to $10,000 – for ethical reasons.”
Of all the potential advice for handling inflation, why did she pick this bizarre example? Does Dr. Ghilarducci honestly think the rubes have $10,000 to devote to chemotherapy for our dogs? Right now there are too many people choosing between paying rent or buying food. Trust me, pet chemo isn’t on anyone’s radar.
(Wait, don’t many progressives object to pet ownership on the grounds that it is fundamentally unethical? Asking for a friend.)
And that’s the sum total of her financial advice. What she doesn’t acknowledge is how the Biden administration’s policies have brought inflation roaring over the land, decimating the middle class and devastating the poor in its wake. And no, we can’t blame Putin for it. Biden’s benevolent influence far preceded the invasion of Ukraine.
While Bloomberg gave its obligatory cover-fanny disclaimer for Dr. Ghilarducci’s op-ed (“This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners”), it’s worth noting its editors summed up the piece with a tweet of stunning insensitivity:
“Inflation stings most if you earn less than $300K. Here’s how to deal:
• Take the bus
• Don’t buy in bulk
• Try lentils instead of meat
• Nobody said this would be fun”
Really, when you think about it, doesn’t this “financial” advice hit all the marks of a progressive agenda? Go carless, meatless, petless, and suck it up (be happy about it). After all, the Biden administration is blithely suggesting that purchasing a $60,000 electric vehicle is an acceptable solution to rising gas prices. Let that sink in, you peasants.
What most people seemed to find objectionable about Ghilarducci’s financial advice (and Bloomburg’s follow-up tweet) is the layer of sneering condescension underneath it. “Bloomberg can *** it,” snarled Twitchy, “for many reasons, but especially for this garbage piece basically lecturing the poors about how they can deal with crazy-a** Biden inflation by eating lentils and skipping that second car and of course, letting your dog with cancer die.”
(By the way, I stumbled across another one of Dr. Ghilarducci’s articles from late January entitled “How Not To Worry About 7% Inflation.” She says, “Vegetarians can cope with inflation better than steak-eating Ford F-150 owners. Democrats are three times more likely to be vegetarian so Republicans likely eat more pricey meat. … Republican states generally have bigger cars and trucks. … [T]here are things you can do to survive inflation by switching from expensive things to cheaper things and liking it..” [Emphasis added.] (Same advice, different wrapping.)
The vast, vast majority of Americans are experiencing financial insecurity under the current administration. As usual, the elites who create hardship for the peasants (while they continue their comfortable lives) have all the best ideas for financial frugality. And that’s how we end up getting offered condescending advice from a wealthy twit who has never had to choose between paying a bill and buying food.
What we are experiencing, dear readers, is life under Democrats. The economic environment we’re experiencing is one they had a large hand in creating. Do you like being told how to economize by someone who makes six times your salary? Remember their advice to the peasants: Let them eat
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