Archive for May 23rd, 2022

How much stress can Americans endure before cracking?

May 23, 2022

Or, aggregating the question: How much stress can America endure?
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Recently, I’ve noticed a couple of trends.

Practically everybody I know has gotten sick in the past couple of months … some Covid, but mostly prolonged colds and intestinal “issues”.

And, everybody seems stressed out.

Think those 2 “indications” are related?

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Stress factors

Inflation is gnawing at everybody and forcing hard choices.

Every trip to the grocery store is what a friend euphemistically calls “an unfulfilling experience” … with noticeably higher prices (every week), smaller packages and empty shelves.

The gas price spike may be the straw that will break the economic camel’s back … with neon signs every couple of miles reminding people that prices are are out of control

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Housing costs

Next up will be housing costs.

Last week, I chatted up the Amazon Prime driver who was handing me a package.

He said he loves his job, loves living in the area …  but just had his rent bumped up to $3,800 a month.

That’s almost $50 grand a year, sports fans.

My bet: He’s not making much more than that driving the truck … if he’s even making that.

The driver frowned when I opined that the sky-rocketing real estate prices of the past few years still haven’t fully made their way thru the system … and higher interest rates will eventually be passed through to rental rates.

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Retirement nest eggs

For awhile, our retirement nest egg sheltered us a bit .. making all of the above inflation effects annoying, but not sleep shattering.

But, a 20% drop in the stock market has quickly deflated financial cushions and pushed a lot of retirees into the inflationary pool (cesspool?) with everybody else.

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Social pressures

Then there are the “social issues”.

Many people have residual Covid fears — still being stoked by Fauci & Friends — and have anxieties when going to sporting events, restaurants or even weddings & funerals.

Understandably, nobody seems eager to head into crime ridden urban centers for a night of entertainment.

The lockdowns took a toll.

Many (most? all?) companies are having a hard time coaxing employees back to the office (and getting productivity back on track).

Parents are legitimately concerned about their kids’ education.

As one soccer mom put it recently: “My daughter is dumber now than she was 2 years ago.”

Charge that to virtual schooling … and changed curricular emphases in the schools … less reading, writing and arithmetic … more “social awareness”.

A case on point…

From a trusted source: Girls at one local middle school try to avoid using the school’s (“girls”) restroom ever since a gender-fluid, biological male started using their facilities.

If they can’t “hold it”, they make restroom stops a group activity.

And on … and on … and on.
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My point: Escalating stress levels are evident … and spreading like wildfire across geographies, demographics, and age groups.

Where’s the breaking point — individually and collectively?

What will “the great break” look like?

Geez, it’s hard to be optimistic…


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