Biden Touts ‘Strong’ Economy as Americans Struggle to Make Ends Meet

Published April 30, 2024

President Joe Biden, after learning that the U.S. economy grew by a dismal 1.6 percent in the first quarter of 2024, declared, “the American economy remains strong, with continued steady and stable growth.”

To be fair, Biden did admit that “we have more work to do. Costs are too high for working families.” However, instead of taking at least some of the responsibility for the steep rise in prices that is making life very difficult for the vast majority of Americans, Biden blamed Republicans for the spike in inflation that has been a constant problem during his three years in the White House.

According to Biden, “Congressional Republicans have no plan to lower costs. They are fighting to give the wealthy and big corporations more tax cuts while cutting programs like Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. They think the best way to grow the economy is from the top down.”

Statements like this, which are basically outright lies, are not befitting of the president of the United States.

First of all, Republicans in Congress have proposed several bills, including the Rein In Inflation Act, which have been specifically designed to combat the steep rise in inflation since 2021.

Moreover, for the first two years of his presidency, Biden had Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress. During this period, Democrats passed bills that Biden signed into law totaling a staggering $3.4 trillion. To be clear, Republicans did not support most of those bills, including the $1.8 trillion American Rescue Plan.

Second, it simply is not true that Republicans seek to give the wealthy and corporations more tax cuts. The last major tax cut passed by Republicans, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in 2017, overwhelmingly benefitted lower- and middle-income Americans than it did the wealthy.

As my colleague Justin Haskins notes, “According to data from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service comparing outcomes from 2017 to 2018—the first year the tax reform law went into effect—the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced average effective income tax rates for filers in every one of the IRS’s income brackets, with the largest benefits going to lower- and middle-income households.”

What’s more, Haskins’ report shows, “The IRS data also revealed that higher-income earners paid an even larger share of the total tax burden in 2018 than they did in 2017, indicating that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may have made the tax code slightly more progressive. This finding contradicts the countless statements made by Democrats over the past four years criticizing TCJA as legislation that favored wealthier filers.”

Third, not a single Republican, as far as I can tell, has even toyed with the idea of cutting Social Security or Medicare. In fact, former President Trump has repeatedly vowed that he would “never do anything that will jeopardize or hurt Social Security or Medicare” should he win re-election in 2024.

Fourth and finally, Biden’s assertion that the GOP and Trump only want to grow the economy from the top down is downright laughable given the fact that Trump’s economic policies were a boon to the lower- and middle-classes whereas President Biden’s economic policies have been particularly destructive for those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

As Bloomberg reports, income inequality reached an all-time record after Biden’s first year in office. Truth be told, during Biden’s first year in the White House, the share of income among the bottom 80 percent declined precipitously while the share of income among the top 20 percent rose steadily.

Keep in mind, the exact opposite trend occurred during Trump’s term.

The overriding reason that those in the working class actually got ahead during the Trump years is simple: inflation remained low and incomes rose, resulting in households having more disposable income and a decrease in poverty rates. Under Biden, the utter reverse has taken place.

Across the board, polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans are not satisfied with Biden’s record on the economy. But this should come as no surprise, considering that nearly 80 percent of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Perhaps this is why former President Trump has substantial leads in almost every swing state at the moment.

With less than 200 days before the 2024 presidential election, things aren’t looking good for Biden, at least when it comes to the economy. Simply put, in spite of the gaslighting and rhetoric coming from the White House, Americans know the economy is far from “strong.”

Photo by Phil Murphy. Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic.