Bidenomics is a Losing Issue … So Why the Campaign Theme?
Political consultant James Carville memorialized a political reality when he said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Most politicians and pundits agree that the state of the American economy is a major if not THE deciding factor in elections. Biden and his political caretakers know that. It is the reason they have coined “Bidenomics” as the primary theme of his reelection bid.
The terms is to capture the “wonderful” economy that has been the result of Biden’s economic policies. He recently gave a major address on the first anniversary of the passage of the misnamed Inflation Reduction Act. It has done nothing to reduce inflation – and never will. Instead it is a massive spending Green New Deal bill with ironic side benefits to Senator Joe Manchin’s West Virginia fossil fuel industry.
There is a problem with Bidenomics. The namesake theme the President is peddling is political snake oil. If there is such a thing as Bidenomics, it is a noxious combination of economic incompetence and failure.
In terms of the economy, inflation is the number one issue with the American people – because it is the one thing every American can see and feel. At the start of the Biden presidency in 2021, the inflation rate was 1.5 percent. Today, it exceeds more than 3 percent – and that is piled on top of the earlier inflation increases running between 7 and 9 percent. Inflation continues to ravage the middle and lower economic classes. It continues to get worse, not better.
Inflation is like a dangerously high fever that we all feel. Saying it is not going up as fast as before is not unmitigated good news. The patient is still getting sicker.
That is not the only economic problem for the people. The growth rate under 2 percent remains too low for a healthy economy. The unemployment rate is better explained by the unprecedented number of job openings and the unprecedented number of able workers no longer seeking jobs.
The low level of unemployment is fueling inflation, sayeth the Federal Reserve. It is the reason that the Fed keeps increasing interest rates. They are trying to increase the unemployment number. That gives Biden an opportunity to brag when there are new jobs being created and the unemployment levels drop – and again if job creation is down and unemployment levels are up. And he does brag in both cases.
In addition to the general inflation numbers, people tend to focus on three cost areas – gas, mortgages, and credit card interest rates. Gasoline has increased approximately 10 percent in the past few weeks – and has not yet peaked, according to experts.
Mortgage rates that were at 2.96 percent at the end of the Trump presidency in 2021 are now at 7.26 – and expect to exceed 8 percent in the near future. That is the highest since George Bush was inaugurated President in 2000. Middle-class young couples are being driven out of homeownership.
Folks back home are relying more and more on credit to pay their bills. That has put millions in the so-called “credit trap” in which the monthly income can barely cover the interest payments. Inflation-driven increases in credit rates means more folks falling into the credit trap.
And the cost of credit will be heading up again due to more anticipated increases in interest rates by the Fed and the impact of America having its AAA credit rating lowered to AA+ by two rating agencies – one in the past and one recently.
While folks pay close attention to gas, mortgages and credit interest rates, they are not oblivious to the surging prices for all the basics. Food has increased more than the official inflation rate. The cost of running a household has risen more than $8500 per year over what it was in 2021, when Biden took office.
Even Biden’s frequently touted job creation numbers need an asterisk. They are still not high enough – and 4 to 5 million of the jobs for which Biden takes credit were the natural return of jobs shut down during the Covid Pandemic. Those had nothing to do with Biden policies. Set those aside and Biden’s job creation claims are a joke.
President Reagan created the existential political question that has become a quadrennial rhetoric inquiry to the American people. Are you better off today than you were four years ago? Most Americans are saying “no.” Only 35 percent of those polled say Biden is doing a good job with the economy. Most surveys put Biden below Trump on that issue.
It is true that the foundations of the American economy remain relatively strong. However, that is more the result of the nature of America’s free-market economy than any influence of Biden policies.
The Biden economy is not what he is trying to make it to be with clever public relations campaigns. Soooo … why would Biden promote a mediocre record on the economy as his leading campaign issue. Simple. What else could he possibly campaign on? Border security? Crime? Civil Rights? Wokeness? Education? And he desperately needs something to distract from the Hunter Biden issue – and his possible role.
The only clearly winning issue for Democrats at the moment is abortion. But that issue does not dominate like the economy. And running on a slogan “Elect Biden, Your Abortion President” is not a winning strategy. Is he supposed to brag and take credit for increasing the number of abortions? Nay! That will not work. That leaves the economy as the best of all the bad options to try to spin.
Biden’s Bidenomics campaign is dependent on the old bamboozle – and the economy is the only issue with which he can remotely bamboozle the voters. They see the throngs crossing the border and now overrunning the major cities. They see the unfathomable crime — and the Democrats’ non-enforcement. They see the folks trapped in the impoverished segregated communities with no relief from the oppressive conditions of de facto racism.
The Democrats’ embrace of wokeism, identity politics and political correctness is being seen not only contrary to American values and traditions, but … well … outright nutty. Thus, the economy is arguably the least losing of the losing issues that characterize Biden’s years in the Oval Office. That leaves the economy as the best chance of fooling the public with a big lie.
Instead of campaign buttons, Biden is handing out rose-colored glasses.
So, there ‘tis.