by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Faced with high inflation and a shaky stock market, half of Americans believe they are worse off now than they were a year ago. And starting Wednesday, President Joe Biden is planning to tell people that this is a good reason to vote for him, traveling to Chicago to tout “Bidenomics” in what his aides are calling a “cornerstone” address.
Senior White House advisers circulated a memo on Monday previewing what they characterized as Biden’s economic accomplishments: enormous domestic spending, higher taxes, and favorable treatment for unions. “Bidenomics,” the memo says, “is both a winning economic strategy that is delivering results, and an approach that is strongly supported by the vast majority of the American people.”
But not everyone shares the White House’s optimism. Some economists say recent economic gains have nothing to do with Biden’s policies, and have resulted from businesses returning to normal operations after a year of shutdowns. Meanwhile, these economists note, Americans still struggle with inflation levels not seen since the 1980s—a problem exacerbated by the same programs Biden heralds as a success.
“I think the legacy of Biden thus far is rapid inflation, stagnant real wages, and soaring debt,” said Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. “I just think we would have been better off without inflation in the first place.”
New spending under Biden totals roughly $6.5 trillion, the most since World War II. More than $4 trillion of that came during Biden’s first two years in office. It includes the nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan, the nearly $1 trillion infrastructure bill, and the nearly $1 trillion Inflation Reduction Act.
The White House calls these bills part of the president’s “Investing in America agenda,” and argues they are an integral part of turning “the page on the failed trickle-down policies of the past.”