"It’s the economy, stupid,” has been regarded as political truth since James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign manager, posted it in 1992.
That’s why dozens of political bloggers and columnists are questioning why President Joe Biden’s popularity isn’t higher. Bidenomics is working. The U.S. is recovering from the inflation–caused by the covid-caused duo of loss of shipping capacity and stored-up demand plus the wartime boycott of Russian oil–faster than any other large economy. And, in spite of the high interest rates imposed by the independent Federal Reserve Board, the economy is growing.
Non-farm employment increased by 5.2 million workers in President Trump’s first 30 months, then fell by 7 million workers during the pandemic. In Biden’s first 30 months the economy recovered those 7 million jobs and added another 5.4 million. And it could have grown more if more workers were available. Even with inflation figured in, workers got their first real wage gains in 50 years.
In the two years that Democrats controlled both Congressional houses, President Biden managed to get three economic bills passed. We’re beginning to benefit from programs that will fund projects and boost America’s economy for years to come. The Freedom Caucus’s demands that this funding be cut is keeping current budgets from passing, but many other Republicans figure that voters are smart enough to see a Republican roadblock.
So far, 252 Idaho projects have been approved under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which Idaho’s senators did support. Projects range from electric school buses to reductions in wildfire risk to rural internet expansion.
Benefits available under the Chips and Science Act, aimed at bringing semiconductor manufacturing back to the U.S., inspired Micron to plan a $15 billion expansion in Idaho. In addition, BSU recently reported receiving millions of dollars for projects ranging from semiconductors to food security to basic scientific research in related areas.
And benefits from the Inflation Reduction Act are beginning. The government plans to invest $266 million to assist Idaho rural business owners, farmers and ranchers in fighting the climate crisis. Plus Idaho Power is getting assistance in installing massive batteries which will store power for peak demand hours, allowing an increase in service without constructing new facilities.
Even those who don’t benefit directly from these acts will benefit from the boost in services and in local economies they’re making possible.
So why isn’t President Biden more popular?
Last month Robert Reich, political blogger and former Secretary Labor, suggested three possible answers.
“One theory is that Trump and Fox News have poisoned their minds.” I think we’ve all met people who believe Obama was a Muslim and Biden wasn’t legally elected. Yet, Reich finds people are more apt to be uninformed than misinformed.
Why are people uninformed? Theory two is that “Biden is terrible at messaging.” Yet, Reich doesn’t see Biden’s speeches as being at fault. “His speeches aren’t electrifying, to be sure. But he says what needs to be said.”
Reich supports a third theory, “Biden doesn’t communicate in ways that today’s media and much of the public are able to hear.” Media no longer regards news as a public service in return for the right to use airways. Today, news reporting needs “to pack a wallop” that will attract viewers/listeners/readers who will draw advertisers.
The “anger, ridicule, and vindictiveness” of Trump’s messages draws an audience more emotionally involved than Biden’s rational statements do. Trump’s emotional rants are interpreted as strength even while Biden’s mature, responsible push toward consensus and compromise gets the results we need.
Other pundits see other reasons. I will feature some soon.