Between 2007 and 2009, the U.S. went through what is now known as the Great Recession. This infamous financial crisis stemmed from several major factors which include but aren't limited to banks not being able to provide loans for businesses and homeowners refusing to borrow and spend. These issues and more led to a drastic downturn in economic activity that impacted the global economy. The crisis was considered the worst economic failure in U.S. history.
Until today, that is. At least, according to Smashley on TikTok (@smashleyglitters). On her platform, she shares educational tidbits meant for people to learn from or use as a jumping-off point to conduct their own research. But she makes a rather compelling argument for folks trying to find a financial foothold.
Many have wondered if we're in for another recession in 2023. Smashley posits that that's the least of our concerns. She suggests we're in the middle of a full-on economic depression.
This woman argues that the U.S. is in a depression, not a recession.
OP breaks down her thoughts in a short but informative TikTok. More accurately, she draws comparisons between the Great Depression of the 1930s and how Americans today are even worse off than folks from back then.
In case you need to brush up on your U.S. history, the Great Depression took place from 1929 to 1939. After a major fall in U.S. stock prices led to a Wall Street stock market crash, the U.S. entered a devastating period of falling prices, severely low income, and a sharp decrease in global trade.
OP provides a few more important bits of data in her TikTok. She cited the situation of 1933, which she refers to as the worst year of the Great Depression.
"25 percent of Americans were unemployed and those that were able to retain their jobs had to take a pay deduction of nearly half," she explained.
Now here's where things get horrifyingly relatable. OP further explains that at the time, Americans who were able to keep their jobs made an average of $4,200 a year during the low point of the worst U.S. economic disaster. Adjusted for inflation, that amounts to $95,000 as of 2023.
She lays out the ugly truth, plain and simple, stating, "If you are not currently making six figures, you are doing worse than someone in the Great Depression."
The average American today only makes about $50,000 a year, often while working multiple jobs. As if that weren't bad enough, even the housing market is worse than the Great Depression was at the time. Whereas a house in 1933 cost an average of $3,900 (which is already more than 90 percent of the average American's salary at the time), today's houses cost an average of $436,800. A yearly average salary of $50,000 would barely cover 11 percent of that cost with an entire yearly income.
Statistics like this are troubling, to say the least. When it comes to my own generation of millennials, many of us already felt immense pressure to be financially stable, have a family, and buy a house right out of college. Even growing up, those expectations were unreasonable. The expectations were forced onto an entire generation by boomers who were able to do all of that themselves while using up all the resources to allow us to fulfill that same life path based on their experience.
But of course, we were thrown into a system that was practically designed to have us fall remarkably short of those expectations. In fact, OP explains in responses to her TikTok that corporations have been keeping wages down on purpose while protecting their own bottom lines. We were already being deprived of the money needed to find our own stability.
"Their cost of maintaining a workforce has been way below projected," OP posits in another video.
While it's always been easy to side with the efforts of the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes wherein writers and actors are urging Hollywood executives to offer them fairer pay, many Americans can easily sympathize with their struggles. After all, an economic depression affects all aspects of business, employment, and especially salaries.
For all intents and purposes, we have the precedence of the Great Depression to inform us living in the 2020s that the one we're in now is even worse.