President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign has tried to build enthusiasm across the country on his economic record and the success of “Bidenomics,” but voters on both sides of the aisle are confounded, saying they haven’t experienced any financial relief.
“I voted for Biden but I don’t know what he’s talking about when he says ‘Bidenomics,’ or whatever it is, is working,” Sabrina Jones of Denver, Colorado, told The Epoch Times. “Prices aren’t going down for me or anybody I know.”
Ms. Jones isn’t the only American with a pessimistic view of the economy.
A survey recently released by Bankrate shows that 50 percent of U.S. adults say their overall financial situation is worse than it was prior to November 2020, and 69 percent say their cost of living has increased in the past three years.
“I feel like things have gotten worse since Trump, and I don't think they’re going to get better,” Ms. Jones said.
The reason many Americans have a dour outlook on the economy shouldn’t take anyone by surprise, senior economic analyst for Bankrate Mark Hamrick told The Epoch Times. “In a word: Inflation.”
“Even as inflation has peaked and the year-over-year and month-over-month numbers are coming down, prices have yet to really come down, particularly when looking at pre-pandemic levels.”
Mr. Hamrick added that while the unemployment rate remains low, “historically high and sustained inflation” does a lot more damage to the economy.
“It does appear that 2024 will be a better year for consumers from an inflation standpoint, but a big question mark is associated with just how much the job market will further moderate. Hiring is slowing, the unemployment rate is rising and the numbers of people filing for and receiving unemployment assistance are surging,” he said.
President: Bidenomics 'The American Dream'Despite the mounting evidence that President Biden’s economic policies have not resulted in immediate relief for many American voters, he has still made it a central message in his re-election campaign.
"Folks, Bidenomics is just another way of saying 'the American Dream,'" President Biden said at a rally in Minnesota earlier this month. “It’s rooted in—it’s rooted in what’s always worked best for the country: Investing in America … I can honestly say I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future than I am today.”
There is indeed record low unemployment and data that indicates the United States has made the strongest recovery from the pandemic than any other country, but there remains a disconnect between what President Biden says he has accomplished and what everyday Americans are experiencing.
“If you want to know if I’m better off, take a look under my Christmas tree, if I can afford one this year,” Matt Price, a Republican from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, told The Epoch Times. “I think Biden’s out of touch with reality.”
However, Mr. Hamrick says it’s more complicated than that.
“There’s the old phrase, ‘Your results may vary,’” he said. “I don’t actually think there’s a disconnect. It is more the fact that the macro data cannot and doesn’t perfectly correlate with every individual’s or household’s personal finances. As Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has said, the economy doesn’t work well for anybody when inflation is high. That’s why the Fed is so focused on the part of its dual mandate of stable prices, with the other being maximum employment.”
Federal Reserve Governor Lisa Cook, who was promoted to the job by President Biden, recently pointed out that while inflation is dropping, that’s not the same as deflation, where prices are going down. Instead, it's disinflation, where prices are slowly increasing.
“If the economy is doing better, if this disinflationary process that we keep talking about is actually in process, then why are people so upset?” Ms. Cook recently said during a speech at Duke University. “And I asked myself, ‘Why am I so upset?’ Well, I know why I'm upset. Because I have GasBuddy on my phone and I'm looking around and I'm like, ‘So um, when are prices gonna get back to where they were before?’ Right?”
Ms. Cook said that most Americans “are not just looking for disinflation” but for prices to return to where they were before the pandemic began.
Biden Blames Media For Poor Grade On EconomyPresident Biden is at a critical moment in his re-election bid with Election Day less than a year away and poll after poll shows the majority of Americans disapprove of how he has handled the economy. As the bad news presents itself the president has recently chosen a new target for his sagging approval numbers: the media.
“You all are not the happiest people in the world—what you report. And I mean it sincerely,” President Biden told reporters in September as he celebrated a strong jobs report. “You get more legs when you're reporting something that's negative. I don't mean you're picking on me. Just the nature of things.”
But economists like Mr. Hamrick say if the president wants to take credit when Americans are doing well he should also take the blame when they aren't.
“The problem I have with the branding concept of ‘Bidenomics’ is that the economy is more complicated with so many more inputs than what a given administration can do or actually does,” he said. “Even the authoritarian government of China is not able to do all that it wants or needs to do to lift its economy out of the doldrums. The risk for the president is that if he seeks to take credit, then it is only fair that he should also accept some blame. This is similar to the problem with President Trump seeming to take credit for stock market gains.”
Bankrate's recent survey has revealed that about 9 out of 10 Americans say the economy will play a pivotal role in who they vote for in the 2024 presidential election.
“Ultimately, it will be up to voters to decide about the relationship between the performance of the economy, the relationship of their personal finances, and who the best candidate is to align with their priorities,” Mr. Hamrick said.