Biden is making an economic sales pitch as the campaign ramps up

The Biden administration sought to flip the script on the economy this week, touting big investments and key endorsements on the back of surprisingly strong economic data.

Although new polls show Americans' views of economic conditions are improving, they remain largely in negative territory and are causing serious frustration for an administration that wants people to believe a clear economic success story.

While visiting Wisconsin this week to tout his infrastructure legislation, President Biden laughed at economists who mistakenly believed the U.S. economy would fall into recession in 2023, which it didn't.

„Experts, since I was elected, have insisted that a recession is just around the corner. Every month, there's going to be a recession,” Biden said, as he read this week's Wispong headlines about 3.3-percent annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the fourth quarter. laughed.

That figure followed 4.9 percent growth in the third quarter, another big upside surprise at a time when the consensus among economists — and even the Federal Reserve — was that the U.S. would be in a contraction.

Biden rode a wave of pro-union sentiment this week dubbed the „Summer of Strikes,” a time when labor actions in many high-profile industries led to contract victories for workers amid high inflation.

„I'm very proud to stand on that picket line with you,” Biden told the United Auto Workers (UAW) at a union event in Washington on Wednesday. It developed new strike tactics during its most recent strike against automakers Ford, General Motors and Stellandis.

Biden is the first president in US history to join a sit-in AFL-CIO Federation of Trade Unions. Americans' approval ratings of labor unions hit their highest level in 60 years in 2022, according to the polling firm. call up.

Biden tried to capitalize on that trend, a A broadly positive Treasury Department report Last summer the economic consequences of unionization and their role in the formation of the American middle class were published. He has promised to be the „most pro-union president” in history and has won praise from labor unions for his efforts to promote the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also sang the praises of the economy this week, citing positive trends in overall growth, continued low unemployment, falling inflation and improving consumer sentiment, which has made big strides in recent months.

Yellen hammered out the administration's response to the pandemic marked by a significant amount of stimulus.

„Simply put, this is the best recovery on record,” he said in a speech Thursday. „We see this not only for middle-class Americans, but also across demographic groups, such as the rapid decline in unemployment rates for black and Hispanic Americans.”

Biden and Yellen's selling push comes days after former President Trump scored a runaway victory over New Hampshire Republican former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

While Haley has vowed to stay in the GOP nomination race, both Biden and Trump's camps are headed for their rematch in November..

How Americans feel about the economy will play a key role in whether Biden or Trump wins.

Earlier this month, Trump predicted that the economy would collapse within the next 12 months, and that he hoped that would happen under Biden, lest the former president wear the stigma of millions of job losses.

But other Republicans agree that, by standard economic measures, the economy is doing well.

Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House National Economic Council under former President Trump, said Thursday that if he were president, he would also brag about the state of the economy.

„[Biden] It recorded a GDP number of 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter, following 4.9 percent in the third quarter. Well, if I were him, I'd brag about it too. Inflation has come down,” Kudlow said on his Fox Business Network television show Thursday.

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Inflation has eased to 3.3 percent in December from a nearly 9-percent annualized rate in mid-2022. „Core” inflation — which excludes the volatile categories of energy and food — saw the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index fall to 2.9 percent in December, close to the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target range.

Despite the positive readings, polls on Biden's handling of the economy aren't looking good, though it's starting to show some signs of improvement.

Positive views of the U.S. economy among Democrats are up from 31 percent a year ago to 44 percent, and among Republicans from 12 percent to 13 percent, according to polls released this week. Pew Research Center.

The share of Americans who think economic conditions will be worse for another year has fallen from 46 percent in April of last year to 33 percent today, according to Pew.

However, impressions of the economy are far less positive than they were before the pandemic, with 57 percent of Americans thinking they are doing well or better.

In the face of more positive data, the Biden administration and others Market commentators They scratched their heads and expressed anger at why Americans didn't feel good about the economy.

Core inflation has fallen and wage growth has broadly kept pace with price growth, with prices in many key sectors of the economy still higher than before the pandemic.

From February 2020, Food prices An increase of about 25 percent, Gas price About 25 percent, and Rent An increase of about 21 percent. Food, rent, and gas represent the bulk of expenses for many American families. During the same period, Wages 20 percent increase.

Similarly, mortgage rates have gone through the roof since the pandemic, rising from about 3.3 percent to more than 6.7 percent.

There may be another reason for disconnection Profit Exceeded expectations are not evenly distributed across the economy.

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According to the Census Bureau, only about one-fifth of American households receive income in the form of dividends, interest and rent. According to the Federal Reserve, only 58 percent of American households own any stocks, and more than half of all corporate equities and mutual funds. The top 1 percent Rich families.

Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee Tim Scott (RS.C.), This year's unsuccessful GOP presidential nominee acknowledged last month that access to profits could be limited during a hearing on the Wall Street watchdog.

„If you really want to enjoy wealth in America, you have to enjoy the benefits of profit or equity. Equity comes from having capital — usually capital that you have because you're born with it or you have access to it because you have an idea or a vision that will improve your community or this nation,” he said. said.

Praising the administration's economic record this week, Yellen acknowledged that wages, which are the dominant source of income for many Americans over profits, have been a long-term trend in the economy.

„Real average wages have stagnated for decades,” he said Thursday. “They have grown only 8 percent between 1979 and 2019. By age 30, 90 percent of my generation earns more than their parents did at the same age. By contrast, only half of those born in the mid-1980s earned more.

„The president and I understand that many Americans have felt a deep pessimism about the economy for a long time, going back to before the pandemic,” he said. „Because of the long-term trends I've described, life is even harder for the middle class in this country.”

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