Pundits say Joe Biden needs to bring back lower prices. That never happens. But he could show more that he cares about inflation.
You’re absolutely right. I think Biden is avoiding inflation because he knows he’s responsible for a good chunk of it, but you can’t run away from it when voters are screaming they’re unhappy about it. If current polling is indicative of what is to come, I worry that if Biden doesn’t start talking more about ways he’s trying to reduce costs and make living more affordable for the average American, then he still might lose even with the abortion issue at Democrats’ backs.
Right or wrong, voters will look back and compare Trump’s record to the current economic reality and conclude those were better times. Obviously, it’s not all Biden’s fault. Nevertheless, you combine that with negative perceptions about Biden’s age and perceptions of incompetence over things like the border, the division in the party over Israel, etc., and I think all the negative polling is quite accurate.
The one thing that might save him is Trump being so awful, and as he comes back to the headlines with all his trials and escapades, enough voters might hold their nose and vote for Biden. But then again, Trump voters are much more enthusiastic, which could also be a big problem.
All this is to say, the president is very vulnerable, but I’m hoping for the best.
This reminds me of 1992. A year earlier, George H. W. Bush's polls were sky high after a successful conclusion to the first Gulf War. But he got beaten in a three way race, because a recession came between the war and the election and Bush and his Treasury Secretary, Nicholas Brady, appeared to be privileged patricians who didn't register the angst that voters were feeling. The irony, of course, was that the recession was coming to a close just as people were filing in to the voting booths. The guy who got it politically? Carville: "It's the economy stupid"!
Biden is at least as tone deaf as Bush. He celebrates statistics that don't resonate with people's lived experience and -- particularly as concerns the border -- asks them to believe what his administration is saying instead of what they are seeing with their own eyes.
What Biden has going for him is that Trump is more easily beatable than Bush. Even his ostensible fans understand that "retribution" and "vindication" -- his major themes -- aren't going to put a scrap of food on their table and that now more than ever it's all about him, not them.
Re the policy response of the Biden admin, aren’t we in a stronger position relative to other major economies in part because of that response?
the only price that does vary considerably is the price of gas, which is emblazoned in big neon numbers all over the place. The president has almost no influence on the price, but is by far the best known price of anything. (Just compare it with the number of people who know the price of a jar of mayonnaise). In general, people's beliefs about inflation are shaped by the ups and downs of gasoline.
Josh, what are your thoughts on Moodys changing the United States credit outlook from stable to negative? Obviously Republicans will harp on it without offering serious policy considerations that would cut the deficit let alone debt. Is there any chance that this will actually get Democrats to start taking the issue seriously? Or will we just get “tax the rich, pay their fair share, blah blah blah” which even if set to sky high would remove maybe 1/6 of the deficit?
I know you know that by far the biggest factor in our government’s response to inflation is Fed policy. I think the problem is it’s just very unsatisfactory and nerve wracking as hell to say “well the future the republic may rest in Chairman Powell’s ability to land the plane known as the American economy in the equivalent of a hurricane”.
If there is one policy response that I really do think could help Biden with swing voters it’s heavy emphasis on anti-trust. I’m with you that the data for “greedflation” is spotty at best. If corporations can artificially Jack up prices to boost profits they’re going to do so well before Biden is in office. But I really do think corporate consolidation has come at underrated cost to the American consumer and average American over the past 40 years ever since the most influential legal scholar of the last half of the 20th century was able to convince enough lawyers and judges that only thing that matters is immediate effect on prices. Also, its a way of going after big corporations (which may I remind you is actually pretty popular with the voting public) that also can be defended on the merits.
Josh, to what extent do you think Biden's apparent diminishing support among traditionally Democratic Black and Hispanic voters is due to the higher prices really hurting these groups, who are lower income on average?