Reality Check

Morgan Housel wrote a fantastic post about Why Everyone Disagrees About the Economy.

The post contains a bunch of great stats. Here is the one that hits closest to home:

In the early 1990s recovery, 125 counties combined to generate half the total new business establishments in the country. In this recovery, just 20 counties have generated half the growth....

— Jim Tankerslay, Washington Post

We're familiar with the term "bubble" in the Bay Area. Usually, it's used in reference to the tech sector or the housing market. Housel's post reminds us that we live in a bubble of perception. When it comes to the economy, our reality is skewed. 

As a result, the deep, bitter anger that dominates the news can seem misguided. Don't they realize that unemployment is low and the economy has been growing for seven years?!

As Housel puts it, "people aren't actually debating the same topic; they're just trying to get the other side to see their own version of reality, and become frustrated and insulted when the other side can't or doesn't.

Housel's post is a great dose of perspective. National economic data represents the average, which does may not reflect many or most people's experiences. Who is really deluded: the folks angry in the face of robust economic data or those that cite data to dismiss others' anger? 

The post is an important reminder on the limits of data and one's own perspective.