The conclusion of 2022 marked The Quintessential Centrist’s fourth full year. At this time, we thank all our readers for playing an integral role in our growing platform, an online forum that incorporates ideas and values across the ideological spectrum.
Last year was challenging. But true to our directive, we did not “take the fifth” and instead tackled some extremely hot-button topics, many of which elicited passionate responses on both sides of the political divide.
We have certainly made mistakes and have done our best to remedy and learn from them. However, your constructive criticism helps us better accomplish our objective: to offer readers ideas that blend news, analysis, and viewpoints from the left, right, and center of the political and social gamut.
This year, we analyzed and opined on a broad array of topics related to politics, current events, culture, finance, technology, international affairs, and more. In total, we penned 23 articles. What did we get right? Where did we come up short? Which articles elicited the most positive, negative, and impassioned responses, etc.?
Whenever we received an approximately equal measure of critique from the left and right, we interpreted this to mean that we had fulfilled our objective of promoting the ideals and tenets of the center. To that end, we were extremely pleased with the responses to our work on: Lost In Transplantation, Lia Thomas, Make America Great Again, and Progressive Hypocrisy. For these posts, many staunch conservatives accused us of being closeted liberals. An overwhelming number of liberals accused us of being a mouthpiece for the right. This helped reassure us that we split the goalposts down the middle on those hotly debated issues.
We also received overwhelmingly positive feedback to Migrants In Martha’s Vineyard, Medicine Politics & Messaging, & Paternity Leave.
Conversely, our trivia on Baseball, Fruits & Veggies, and American Trash left too many of our readers bored. We must improve our trivia(s) in ‘23.
Two Prophetic Calls?
Since TQC’s launch in 2018, posts on business and economic issues have typically garnered the lowest rates of readership and engagement. So, we were taken aback when our two pieces on inflation catalyzed some of the most prolific user feedback since we started the platform.
In two posts, in late May / early June, we argued that “inflation has already peaked, is currently receding, and why it will continue to do so over the foreseeable future” and provided detailed explanations why.
In response, we received extremely hostile pushback from readers on both sides of the political spectrum who vehemently disagreed with us. This is rare; and ironic that it took two posts on inflation to get most of our readers on the left and right, to agree! We will take it; after all, a main objective of TQC is to bring people from both sides of the political divide together.
When we presented our out of consensus view on inflation, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “measures the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services” and is a preferred measure of overall inflation, was hovering @~9%. From there, the index has steadily dropped. See CPI readings Below:
• JUNE: 8.6%
• JULY: 9.1%
• AUGUST: 8.5%
• SEPTEMBER: 8.3%
• OCTOBER: 8.2%
• NOVEMBER: 7.7%
• DECEMBER: 7.1%
• JANUARY: 6.5% (2023)
The biggest contributor to the CPI is shelter (~33%) otherwise known as housing, which lags most of the other inputs in the basket. This and (many) other drivers - we encourage everybody to have a second look at our inflation posts - should provide powerful impetus to keep downward pressure on inflation over the duration of ’23 and beyond.
The CPI is a lagging economic indicator. It reports prices that were paid last month, not what they will be next month, or next year. However, financial instruments exist that represent investors’ expectations of the rate of inflation for various points in the future. The granularity of how these figures are compiled goes well beyond the scope of this post. What is noteworthy is this: as of the close of trading Friday, investors “expect” inflation 12 months from now to be ~2%. During the time of our writings in May/June this figure was ~5%! Added Lael Brainard, Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve in a speech last week, “measures of inflation expectations show they are in pre-pandemic range.”
While it is still too early to declare that our bold forecast was accurate, multiple indicators suggest this may indeed be the case.
Another call that we can definitively say we nailed involved politics.
In February of 2021, we wrote: “Before January 6th, TQC’s position was that Donald Trump was a depraved human who denigrated the office of the president and further polluted the very swamp he promised to clean up, but we credited him – and agreed with – some of his policies…After that, any goodwill we harbored towards him vaporized.”
Over the ensuing months, we implored the GOP to pivot away from Trump. We argued the roadmap for Republicans was simple: “repudiate and move on from Mr. Trump and proactively discuss substantive policies” that will resonate with voters.
The GOP did not heed our advice to “call out Trump’s lies, forcefully condemn them, and move on from him.” Too many rank-and-file Republicans cowered under pressure and failed to challenge Mr. Trump openly.
In large part as a result, the GOP performed horribly in the midterms, particularly candidates that aligned themselves with Mr. Trump. The “red wave” many had predicted and that the GOP hoped for, morphed into a red ripple.
We sincerely hope that at least a few of TQC’s articles will spur people to examine their own biases, reflect and perhaps consider, or at least understand and appreciate, a view that is not always aligned with their own. We think that in doing so, it will make America a more tolerant, civil place.
Finally, we encourage our loyal readers to continue corresponding with us. Any questions, comments, declarations, or explanations, please let us know. What can we do to improve our product? We want to hear from you!
We would like to wish everybody a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2023. Thank You.
The Quintessential Centrist