Subscribe

Joe Biden, New Jersey
President Joe Biden. Photo credit: Phil Murphy / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

President Joe Biden has to convince regular Americans that the hardships they are currently facing, such as paying more for the same things they have been buying forever, are not his fault but rather the result of an economy that is designed to favor those at the top to the detriment of everybody else.

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

“It’s the economy, stupid” has been a mantra in presidential politics forever. Therefore, it is no surprise that President Joe Biden has set out to make “Bidenomics” a centerpiece of his reelection campaign. There is just one problem: The economy he is trying to sell to Americans is a lemon.

Essentially, the challenge Biden faces is that he has to make the case that the economy is stupid.

He has to convince regular Americans that the hardships they are currently facing, such as paying more for the same things they have been buying forever, are not his fault but rather the result of an economy that is designed to favor those at the top to the detriment of everybody else.

To do so, he will need an assist from the media, which has to put the current situation in perspective for the vast majority of voters who are not overly educated when it comes to the economy (to put it mildly).

If you put it that way, it’s pretty clear that Biden seems doomed to fail.

But the president appears to be determined to make sure that it won’t be for a lack of trying on his part, which brings us to the major address on the economy that he delivered in Chicago on Wednesday.

In it, Biden said many of the right things.

Most importantly, he pointed out that trickle-down economics, i.e., the system favored by Republicans, in which the rich get all the money and then a little something dribbles down on everybody else (hint: it ain’t money), doesn’t work.

“The trickle-down approach failed the middle class. It failed America. It blew up the deficit. It increased inequity,” Biden said. “People working as hard as ever couldn’t get ahead because it’s harder to buy a home, pay for a college education, start a business, retire with dignity.”

The president also pointed out that 13.4 million jobs have been created in the past two years and that the US is doing better than its peer nations when it comes to economic growth and curbing rampant inflation.

Obviously, it must be noted that any economic indicator can be fudged, and that the influence of presidents — both good and bad — on short-term economic developments is limited.

For example, it is easier to create a ton of jobs in a country that is emerging from a multi-year pandemic during which a bunch of people got laid off, and doing better than other countries in terms of inflation doesn’t mean that inflation is under control.

Still, Biden said the things Americans should hear. It’s just doubtful that many of them listened.

For a media that has to sell the news to an audience with an attention span that lasts one TikTok, it’s just easier to say that milk is now more expensive than it was a year ago, rather than having to explain the macroeconomic failures of the past.

Therefore, even if news outlets wanted to educate the public about these things, it would be an uphill battle.

And, of course, half of the media has no interest in explaining anything to their viewers and readers. Right-wing news outlets just want to spread doom and gloom because it is one of the few things that could help Donald Trump in a rematch with Biden.

All that being said, if inflation remains high in a year or so, “the economy” will be a problem for the president, so he might as well try to tackle it head-on.

The craziest thing about it is that the people who are least likely to listen, and who have the lowest opinion of Biden, would benefit the most from an end to the failed trickle-down approach.

It’s one of the great paradoxes of American politics, and it must drive Democratic strategists mad to know that the people who are most suffering from Republican economic policies are some of the GOP’s biggest supporters.

When you put it that way, that’s pretty stupid.

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

    View all posts

Comments are closed.