Via Robert Gehl:It’s true that under Barack Obama, our economy is stuck in neutral – but it could be worse.
As far as genuine misery goes, we could be Socialist Venezuela (actually, we might be on the way if Hillary or Bernie wins).
That South American country tops Bloomberg’s “Misery List” this year, surpassing the second-comer by a magnitude of four.
Inflation is at a mind-boggling 98.3 percent – giving it a “point” ranking of 159.7, nearly four times higher than Argentina.
The global drop in oil prices – where Venezuela gets 95 percent of its revenue – is partially to blame, but Nicholas Maduro’s socialist command economy is making the situation unfathomably worse.
Rounding the top five are three countries with skyrocketing unemployment; South Africa, Greece and the Ukraine. Greece is also in the midst of a refugee crisis and the Ukraine is in a quasi-civil war with Russia taking sides.
The United States, on the other hand, is actually listed as one of the least miserable countries, but there are better.
The “least miserable” economy, according to Bloomberg, is Thailand, followed by Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and Taiwan. They each have “misery index” numbers below 5.0. The United States stands at 6.4, wedged in between Iceland and Malaysia.
The economic misery index doesn’t take into account the actual freedom that people enjoy. Communist China, for example, is listed at 5.8, better than the United States.
Elsewhere in the world, the picture isn’t quite as bleak. There were success stories last year, with Poland ranking No. 42 on the scale, versus a No. 19 spot initially projected at the start of 2015, in part due to lower-than-expected joblessness. But 2016 might see Poland climb the misery index amid an increasingly uncertain fiscal and economic outlook (including a possible debt downgrade) caused by the new ruling party’s costly campaign promises.
Misery index calculations were compiled using the median estimates in Bloomberg economic surveys from the past three months. Figures for 2015 inflation and unemployment data reflect the average over the year and use the most current data available for each country.