It doesn't matter how many jobs he is able to temporarily buy with the $8 trillion-plus covid stimulus package. It doesn't matter how many times the mainstream media claims we are "in a recovery." The fact is, the majority of Americans are being priced out of integral markets and the longer this goes on the deeper the hole is dug and the harder it will be for people to climb out.
That's how most economic disasters work; the populace is not dropped into the pit automatically, the pit grows up around them over time. We have seen worse conditions in the US in the past, including the Great Depression and the stagflation crisis of the 1970s. The people who think conditions are bad now haven't seen anything yet (interest rates eventually climbed to 20% in the early 1980s, crushing borrowers). That said, there is a growing potential for today's crisis to BECOME the biggest financial crisis in our nation's history given a little more time.
Part of this ongoing problem is the heavy inflation in housing prices, and make no mistake, this IS one of the biggest threats facing middle-class America right now, which in turn affects people under the poverty line. Rental prices on the average American home have climbed to $2047 per month – The average in 2019 was $1465. That's a 30% increase in housing costs in the span of four years.
For apartments, the average cost today is $1372 per month, compared to $1078 per month in 2019. The rent-to-income ratio in the US is now estimated to be 40%; meaning, most Americans are paying up to 40% of their income just for housing. Anything over 30% is considered overburdened.
The average cost of a home was $313,000 in 2019. In 2023 that average rose to $431,000, far outside the annual income of the majority of Americans and pricing out over 67% of the population. As mortgage rates skyrocket and middle-class Americans are pushed out of home ownership, they then have to move into the rental market where the supply steadily declines and prices rise due to demand.
The problem is not just higher prices, this is merely a symptom. There's also falling availability across the nation.