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Monday, December 09, 2019

Despite Dismal Polls, Biden Economic Program Is 'A Smashing Success,

@alexvhenderson

Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

According to Gallup, President Joe Biden's approval rating among independents went from 61 percent earlier this year to only 37 percent in September — and late October polls aren't very encouraging either, with the president's overall approval at 42 percent (Rasmussen), 43 percent (YouGov) or 46 percent (Morning Consult).

But Biden is hardly the only U.S. president who saw his approval ratings tumble after the "honeymoon phase," as pundits call it. And New York Magazine's Eric Levitz, in an article published this week, stresses that "Bidenomics" is working regardless of Biden's disappointing poll numbers.

"Consumer prices are high and rising, and so is disapproval of Joe Biden," Levitz writes. "In recent days, the president's net-favorability rating has hit new lows in FiveThirtyEight's aggregation of polls. Meanwhile, America's headlines are full of testaments to economic discontent. By all appearances, Biden is suffering blowback from grave failures of economic management. But those appearances are deceiving."

Levitz continues, "The U.S. economy has real problems, and inflation is certainly one of them. At the same time, America is enjoying an exceptionally swift economic recovery, rising household wealth, falling income inequality, a resurgence in labor's economic power, and soaring capital investment. In these respects, Bidenomics has proved to be a smashing success."

Biden's economic "achievements," according to Levitz, "should not be obscured by an inflation problem that derives largely from forces beyond the president's control."

Over the years, Biden has had a reputation for being a centrist. The Scranton, Pennsylvania-born Democrat, during his decades representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate, famously bragged about his ability to get things done with Republicans and his productive relationship with the late conservative Sen. John McCain (a self-described "Goldwater Republican"). Biden, now 78, has long had a liberal streak and a conservative streak, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, his liberal streak has come to the forefront — and Levitz explains what he means by "Bidenomics."

According to Levitz, "Biden's macroeconomic vision inverts the logic of Reaganomics. In the president's conception, America's working class deserves a higher share of income and economic power…. Biden insists that a more equitable economy will also be a larger one since 'trickle-down economics has never worked' and the economy actually grows 'from the bottom and the middle out.'"

The fact that Biden's poll numbers have been weak doesn't necessarily mean that they will stay that way. President Barack Obama, President Ronald Reagan and President Bill Clinton all watched their parties suffer major losses during the midterms only to win a second term two years later. And "Bidenomics," according to Levitz, is a work in progress.

"Bidenomics has yet to deliver the economy it promised," Levitz writes. "And with the president's Build Back Better agenda still tied up in Congress, one might argue that real Bidenomics has never been tried. Nevertheless, if Biden's economic vision hasn't been fully realized, its core theoretical premises have been roundly confirmed."

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