President Biden launched a concerted campaign on Wednesday to take credit for an economic revival in the United States, spurred by policies he says represent a fundamental break with the Republican approach “that has failed America’s middle class for years.” decades”.
Flanked by blue signs reading “Bidenomics,” Biden delivered to a Chicago crowd what aides called a pivotal speech of his presidency. In it, he praised the impact of his economic agenda as the 2024 campaign cycle heats up.
“The trickle-down approach failed on the middle class,” he told an audience of about 200 supporters, referring to the tax-cutting economic policies for the rich that were popularized by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. America, blew up the deficit, increased inequality, and weakened our infrastructure. He stripped the dignity, pride and hope of communities, one after another.”
By contrast, Biden said his willingness to plunge the US government more squarely into supporting key industries like silicon chips has reinvigorated manufacturing. He said that investments in rebuilding dilapidated infrastructure have begun to pave the way for growth. And he insisted that spending billions of dollars on programs like student debt relief will allow more people to find their way to a comfortable middle-class life.
“When I ran, I came into office determined to change the economic direction of this country,” Biden said, going on to urge union leaders, and perhaps a reminder to himself, that “you have to brag a little more about what you do.”
Biden’s speech echoed his efforts for more than a year to persuade voters that the economy is working because of his policies, but in stronger terms and with little reference to the rapid price increases that have frustrated consumers under their supervision. Progressive groups and Democratic lawmakers have urged Biden to flaunt more about his economic record, and Biden’s advisers are increasingly confident that economic conditions are favorable for voters to start giving the president credit. what they say they deserve
With his speech, Mr. Biden is shaking off some of his caution by balancing attempts to celebrate the economy with the reality that millions of Americans are still struggling to recover from the disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic, including job losses and More importantly, the fastest price increase in 40 years.
For now, Biden and his aides are trying to focus on what the administration has done, hoping to counter polls that show three-quarters of those polled believe the country under Biden is on the wrong track. . Only about a third say they approve of his handling of the economy.
But Biden also hinted that as he seeks a second term, he will need to convince voters that he has a plan to do even more.
“I’m not here to declare victory on the economy,” he said. “I’m here to say that we have a plan that is turning things around incredibly fast.” He added that “we have more work to do.”
Republicans have criticized Biden for high inflation and the cost of daily necessities like health care, childcare, groceries and gas.
In a statement following the president’s speech, Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, referred to Biden’s comments in Chicago as part of a “Bankrupt America Tour.”
“Americans are worse off with Biden,” he said. “Savings, real wages and economic confidence have fallen, while prices continue to soar and American workers pay the price for the failed ‘Bidenomy’.”
Biden administration officials acknowledge that there is more work to be done to bring inflation down, but note that it has fallen for 11 straight months. The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that inflation is now lower in the United States than in any other wealthy G7 nation.
Mr. Biden has signed trillions of dollars in economic legislation since he took office. That includes a $1.9 trillion package to speed recovery from the pandemic recession, which economists say contributed at least to some degree to rising inflation, and bipartisan bills to invest in infrastructure and advanced manufacturing. Along party lines, Democrats also passed an energy, climate and tax bill that has already led to announcements of new factories for electric vehicles, batteries and more.
Administration officials released new analysis this week to underscore how those laws are beginning to boost the economy. The Treasury Department estimated that the historic pace of investment in manufacturing construction — led by the semiconductor factories targeted by one of the bipartisan bills — has nearly doubled this year after adjusting for inflation. The Department of Energy said low-emissions energy jobs, such as in offshore wind, increased 4 percent last year.
Yet in other areas, administration officials continue to make claims about Biden’s record that are not supported by evidence. A White House statement this week said Mr. Biden “presided over a $1.7 trillion deficit reduction, a reduction greater than any other president in American history.” That claim ignores the fact that much of that deficit reduction was the result of pandemic spending relief programs expiring and not being renewed.
He also doesn’t mention that the deficit is rising again this year, even though Biden signed a deal this month with Republicans in Congress to cut some federal spending. The deficit reached $1.16 trillion for the 2023 fiscal year in May, according to the Treasury Department, which is more than double its size at the same point in 2022.
The Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that the deal between Biden and the Republicans would slightly reduce the growth of the national debt for decades to come, but that debt was still poised to skyrocket as part of the economy.
Still, the president’s advisers say they believe Americans will begin to shake off the economic hangover from the pandemic and begin to feel the benefits of Biden’s policies in action.
Administration officials estimate that Mr. Biden’s spending bills and tax incentives have led to nearly $500 billion in new spending already on the production of semiconductors, batteries, solar panel plants and more.
“These investments have critical implications for the private sector,” Jared Bernstein, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. “They attract capital from the private sector that needs a boost.”
White House officials have spent the past week promoting “Bidenomics,” with a spokeswoman telling reporters that it is “the word of the day, the word of the week, the word of the month, the word of the year here at the White House”.
On Wednesday, the president did not seem so eager to adopt the term, reminding reporters that he was not the one who coined it. In his speech, however, the president clarified his sentiments: “I’m happy to call it Bidenomics.”