Survey Shows ‘Bidenomics’ Means Americans Can’t Pay Their Bills

Justin Haskins Heartland Institute
Published August 21, 2023
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In Biden’s America, more than 1 in 3 households are struggling to pay their bills.

The success of Joe Biden’s 2024 reelection campaign could depend on whether he can effectively convince voters that his economic agenda has improved the lives of working-class and middle-income Americans. Unfortunately for the president, the best available data suggests that hasn’t been the case.

Despite having committed trillions in new government spending programs, and running massive deficits in the process, government surveys reveal millions of working Americans believe they are worse off than they were in January 2021, when Biden first entered the White House.

The U.S. Census Bureau regularly conducts Household Pulse Surveys (HPS). Among other things, the Household Pulse Surveys ask respondents about spending and debt, loss of employment, anxiety, and the effects of natural disasters.

One of the most important questions included in the HPS asks Americans about their “difficulty paying for usual household expenses.” In a truly healthy, growing economy, fewer, not more, working Americans should say that they are having less trouble paying their “usual” bills. But the exact opposite has occurred.

In January 2021, the first month of Biden’s presidency, an estimated 80.53 million Americans found it “somewhat” or “very” difficult to pay their household expenses. According to the most recent HPS survey, conducted in July 2023, that number soared to 86.92 million, an increase of more than 6 million.

That means in Biden’s America, more than 1 in 3 households are struggling to pay their bills.

The income brackets most affected are those earning $50,000 to $150,000, many of whom would be considered part of America’s “middle class.” For example, the number of households earning $50,000 to $75,000 that are having trouble paying their usual household expenses increased from 10.01 million in January 2021 to 13.34 million in July 2023.

The HPS survey data further suggests that Americans having trouble covering their costs are turning to credit cards, personal loans, and other forms of debt for relief. In July 2023, 85.46 million Americans relied on “credit cards or loans” to “meet spending needs in the last 7 days.” In July 2022, the number was just 74.89 million.