Merriam-Webster’s word of the year is gaslighting. They define the term as “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage.” It’s easy to draw parallels between the use of gaslighting in our lexicon and how our economy has misled us over the past year. So here are the ways the economy has gaslighted us in 2022.
Perhaps no industry has gaslighted us more than the crypto frenzy. From the obscure QR code Superbowl ad to the Matt Damon commercials trying to convince us we were changing the world, we were perpetually misled by the crypto industry. The “too big to fail crypto” FTX crypto exchange is perhaps the largest gaslighter of the bunch, as its liquidity issues in November caused a massive downturn in the market.
Inflation hinders our ability to purchase necessities like a house, groceries, and a car. Their prices have all increased significantly, yet economists claim inflation only increased by 7.7 percent over the last 12 months. We’re being gaslighted into thinking inflation isn’t that bad when all of our necessities are getting hit the hardest.
Are we in a recession?
The definition of a recession is two consecutive financial quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP). Our second negative GDP quarter occurred this summer. But rather than acknowledge we are in a recession, economists and market professionals chose to engage in a politically fueled semantics duel on the true definition of a recession. As a result, all summer, the economy gaslighted us into thinking we’re not really in a recession rather than dealing with the fact that we are.
Student loan forgiveness
One of the cornerstones of President Joe Biden’s campaign was to lift the burden of student loan debt. Student loans have been on forbearance since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, which initially helped borrowers in a time of crisis. But now, Biden’s forgiveness plan is on hold after several lawsuits have prevented it from moving forward.