’Bitenomics’ is good for the economy — and for the president’s campaign

President Joe Biden Speech He repeated many of the talking points he had previously used while discussing the economy at Chicago’s Old Post Office on June 28.

„Growing the economy from the middle and the bottom up will grow the economy from the top down. When that happens, everyone will do better,” Biden said, highlighting his vision.

He contrasted it with what had gone before: „This vision is a fundamental break from the economic theory that has failed America’s middle class for decades. It’s called trickle-down economics … the belief that taxes should be cut for the wealthy and big corporations. .”

The president developed his criticism of neoliberalism a bit: „It’s a belief that it should reduce public investment in infrastructure and public education — shrink it; allow good jobs to be sent overseas,” he said. „We actually have a tax policy that encourages them to go overseas to save money. We should allow big corporations to amass more power while making it harder to join a union.”

He sketches the social and moral consequences millions of Americans have paid for neoliberalism: „The trickle-down approach has failed the middle class. It’s failed America. It’s exploded the deficit. It’s increased inequality. And it’s weakened our infrastructure. Communities’ dignity, pride, and hope, one after the other, Especially the Midwest, western Pennsylvania and heading west.”

All of which we’ve heard from Biden in some fashion over the years and throughout his presidency.

However, he did something he hadn’t done before: he owned the current economy.

„I knew I couldn’t go back to the same failed policies when I ran, so I came into office determined to change the economic direction of this country, to shift from a trickle-down economy to what everyone at the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times started calling 'bitenomics,'” he told the audience. . „I didn’t come up with the name. I really didn’t. I’m saying it now, but they were the first to use it.”

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I’ve written before that it’s ridiculous to give presidents so much credit or blame for the state of the economy. Inflation, especially for volatile and essential commodities like gasoline, fluctuates due to events beyond the control of the person in the Oval Office. Bad weather can harm the aviation industry and destroy the agricultural sector. The Federal Reserve, not the president, controls monetary policy. So, I dread knowing that every time Biden takes credit for some good news about the economy, he’s also being blamed for the bad news.

It will take a long time for Americans to separate their assessment of their president from their assessment of the economy. Meanwhile, Biden’s decision to lean into the idea that he is in control may mean that „Bidenomics” is responsible for the current bleak economic situation. Why? Because he is blamed for the economic problems anyway.

If you watch Fox News, you wouldn’t know that unemployment is low in this country, but I can’t remember a night that every show doesn’t have a segment focused on inflation. Those segments are powerful, not only discussing macroeconomic statistics, but also interviewing people whose livelihoods have been affected by high prices or whose retirement accounts have been wiped out.

Biden is at his best when it comes to the moral dimension of economics. In his February State of the Union address in Chicago, he made some specific points, at one point saying, „My economic plan is to invest in forgotten places and people. For four decades in the midst of the last economic boom, many people have been left behind or treated as if they were invisible. You’re probably watching that at home.” ” The president is at his best when he connects with working-class Americans with a core economic message and policies that address the problems facing working-class Americans.

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What’s more, in his Chicago speech, his State of the Union, and when the spending bill finally passed the Senate last summer, Biden insisted he was trying to restore the Rooseveltian approach, whatever the ups and downs of the economy. To evaluate the economy. GDP and inflation and markets fluctuate, but the moral shape of the economy is changed as a result of public policy. Wages for low-income workers have risen 6% between 2020 and 2022. Biden could be forgiven for not wanting to mention that the wealth of most Americans has declined under his watch, but one group, The wealth of the poorest 20% of Americans increased. The overall economy may be shaky, but it is becoming more fair and reasonable.

Politically, Biden’s decision to own the economy makes sense because if he and his party don’t celebrate the good in the economy, average voters will only hear about the bad from the GOP. That’s a lesson Biden learned from the political fallout of the Affordable Care Act. Democratic congressional candidates, noting that the law was controversial and unpopular, did not defend it in the 2010 midterm elections, so Republicans were the only ones talking about the ACA. They won a historic landslide because no one defended the pieces of legislation that were popular, and most pieces were still unenforceable.

There’s one more reason to claim the epithet „bitenomics” as his own: it’s good rhetoric. Biography of great social justice pioneer Ms. John A. Ryan is called Right Reverend New Dealer. It also started out as an epithet, but Ryan adopted it. FDR’s „Fala” speech, about his dog Scotty, was a stroke of political genius, deflecting Republican attacks with humor and congeniality. Ronald Reagan quelled concerns about his age with a brilliant answer A second discussion with Walter Mondale. If Biden Sends Concerns About the Economy Back to the GOP, What Do They Have?

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There are days when I worry about the president’s ability to run an effective campaign. He is old. Sometimes he gets caught up in culture war issues. The world stage is full of chaos. But last week, in Chicago, we saw a president with a vision for the country who could win re-election in 2024. We should see more of that.

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