Just 1% of Americans rank the economy under President Biden as “excellent,” a new ABC News/Ipsos Poll, conducted on January 28th found. A mere 24% of Americans rank the economy as “good or excellent.”
Only 42% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the economic recovery coming out of the pandemic—down from 60% in March. Sixty-nine percent disapprove of Biden’s handling of inflation.
‘Stressors in the Economy’
The Biden Administration is grappling with the highest inflation the United States has seen in 40 years, wages being outstripped by this increasing inflation, continuous supply chain disruption, rising rents in urban areas, and record levels of Americans in debt.
Bankrate.com Washington Bureau Chief Mark Hamrick views inflation as Biden’s biggest handicap, telling Newsmax Finance, “It is easy to identify the stressors in the economy right now, the top being inflation. When we have historically high wage growth that is being undermined by inflation, that tends to cause frustration. In the survey, President Biden scores poorly in inflation. In fact, when Bankrate released its own survey around two weeks ago, 49% of Americans said inflation was causing them to save less.”
For Hamrick, it is important to contextualize inflation along with other economic and political issues, saying, “Obviously we have the pandemic causing economic problems. Rents spiking in cities is inflation linked, and that will have an outside impact on the CPI [Consumer Price Index].
“The CPI will be lifted in a way that will be quite surprising to people,” he continues, “but remember, these surveys have to be viewed in political polarization, and institutions broadly are not held in high esteem. The view of the presidency is polarized and right now, is not viewed in high esteem, so all those issues contribute to the outcome of [just] 1% saying the economy is excellent. Inflation is real and can do some of the most damage to the people who often support and voted for President Biden.”
‘Shocked By Inflation’
Inflation is the primary driver of the economic discontent across the country, Hamrick continues. “People are shocked by inflation. Some have never seen anything like this in their lifetime, given we are seeing the highest inflation in 40 years. Even if people have seen inflation in their lifetime, it feels like a lifetime ago when we last saw it. Inflation today has its own unique set of causes this time. This is a political problem for the president because the buck does stop at the Oval Office.”
As recently as this past November, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki retorted to a reporter’s question: “Inflation will ease over time, whatever you want to call it,” and accused Republicans of “screaming from the bullhorn,” despite Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warning of the peril of “more persistent” inflation the very same day. In October, Psaki belittled the supply chain disruptions, calling them “the tragedy of the treadmill delayed.”
During that same month, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain dismissed inflation, as well, agreeing with a tweet from Harvard economist Jason Furman, that read, “Most of the economic problems we’re facing [inflation, supply chains] are high-class problems,” a comment that generated significant outrage.
Is Inflation Temporary?
President Biden insisted as far back as July: “Our experts believe, and the data shows, that most of the price increases we've seen … were expected, and expected to be temporary,” despite inflation continuing apace into the fall and into 2022, and a Goldman Sachs report warning “inflation will get worse before it gets better,” particularly this winter.
More recently, on January 12th, President Biden himself has seemingly downplayed inflation, calling a CPI increase of 0.5%, compared to a 0.8% increase in November 2021, as proof that inflation is actually on the way down.
The New York Times Editorial Board has noted the Biden Administration’s repeated downplaying of inflation, writing on January 22nd, “Mr. Biden has contributed to his own political woes. Through much of the fall, the president and other administration officials seemed to be downplaying the dangers of inflation. Mr. Biden’s insistence on this implausible narrative may be contributing to a sense that he is not taking inflation seriously."
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