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Joe Biden on the Economy: I Don't Feel Your Pain

A Commentary By Stephen Moore

   In 1992, Democratic presidential nominee Bill Clinton famously answered a voter question about how the national debt affected him personally. Clinton's response was often paraphrased as, "I feel your pain."
   Whether Bill was for once being sincere or not, his words resonated.

   Now President Joe Biden is running for reelection with the opposite message: Stop complaining. Everything is going great. Some of his sycophants in Congress and his stooges in the media are now complaining that the problem isn't Biden's failed policies, it's that Americans are just too stupid to understand how good things are today.

   Gail Collins of The New York Times recently groused, "I know politicians aren't supposed to lecture people about how great their lives are, but it's weird that the nation doesn't seem more conscious of how well things are going. ... Prices have generally stabilized or begun to drop.

   She might as well have taken out a bullhorn and screamed: Listen up, all you little people, Bidenomics is as good as it gets. You're just going to have to learn to live with 20% higher prices, trillion-dollar deficits, declining purchasing power, schools that don't teach, crime on the streets, a porous border and $4-per-gallon gas.

   Most people boasting about the gleaming economy are inside the Washington bubble or nested inside college faculty lounges.

   This Grand Canyon divide between the ruling class and real Americans in tough, blue-collar jobs or starting a career has seldom been more pronounced. Even former President Barack Obama's senior adviser David Axelrod warned Biden to stop hyping an economy that has left more than half of America behind. "It drives me crazy when he does that," Axelrod said.

   It also makes Biden seem hopelessly out of touch with Main Street America. When nearly two of three Americans say things aren't going well for their personal financial situation, the "don't worry, be happy" bromide isn't the response most voters are looking for.

   The vast majority of Americans have seen wages and salaries lag behind inflation now for more than three years. Real wages are down almost 4% under Biden. The inflation rate appeared late last year to be falling to 3% but now is trending back to closer to 5% on an annual basis. There are lots of ways of measuring the decline in real take-home pay for middle-class families, but the best measure is about a $2,500 decline in purchasing power since Biden took over.

   Even the job market, which has been strong under Biden -- with more job openings than people looking for work -- is showing cracks. Part-time employment is surging, and full-time jobs have been negative in the last two months. So hourly wages are rising even as weekly pay is falling.

   Biden's strategy is to blame Trump, "my predecessor," for the weakling economy -- a big stretch given that Trump was already pulling the economy out of the COVID-19 recession six months BEFORE Biden occupied the Oval Office. Inflation was 1.7% when Biden's predecessor left office, then 18 months and $4 trillion of debt later, the consumer price index had soared to 9.1%.

   If this is "morning in America," something tells me voters are worried what the afternoon is going to look like. To paraphrase James Carville, "it's still the economy, stupid." If Biden wants to run for reelection on this economy, it's all his.

   Stephen Moore is a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a senior economic advisor to Donald Trump. His latest book is: "Govzilla: How the Relentless Growth of Government Is Devouring Our Economy."


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See Other Commentaries by Stephen Moore.

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