Sadly, President Joe Biden’s performance as president reminds me of that dance called the limbo – “how low can you go?” Joe Biden’s job approval and the public’s confidence in him and his policies have already sunken to record levels, and they will likely continue to sink lower and lower. Like the limbo the question is “how low can they go?” I don’t know, but I would not be surprised if they bottomed out in the low 30’s. See below for my reasons for this prediction.
According to Five Thirty Eight’s latest poll Biden’s job approval rating is 39%, which it reports is the worst of any elected president at this point in his tenure since the end of WWII. (Probably, the only person happy about this is former president Jimmy Carter.) The latest Real Clear Politics poll disclosed that only 18% believe the country is “heading in the right direction.” 18%! Actually, I’m surprised it is even that high. I would like to ask that 18% why they feel that way.
It’s easy to see the reasons for the poll numbers. I have published various blogs describing Biden’s far left (some would say, socialist) policies and predicting that, inevitably, they would ruin the economy (as well as the rest of the country). Anyone with even a basic understanding of economics would have to agree. There is no need to rehash them, in detail, now but below pIease find a few statistics for illustrative purposes. These are not my statistics. I obtained them from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and various media sources (not Fox News).
1. The current rate of inflation is 9/1%, which is the highest level in over 40 years. Some of you may remember that last November, when the rate was 6.8%, Biden said inflation was “transitory” and had already reached its peak. Well, to no one’s surprise, he was wrong. It is higher and will likely go still higher. Inflation is very tenacious and insidious. It impacts every facet of our lives, and once it takes hold it is extremely hard to root out. If you doubt me, just research the inflation hell we went through in the 1970s. Everybody loses, regardless of color, gender or religion. Hourly workers’ paychecks buy less and less each month even if they get a raise. Retirees on a fixed income watch helplessly as their life savings melt away like a summer snow. Middle age workers seeking to build a nest egg for their future retirement or their kids’ education are thwarted at every turn. Young people just getting started are unable to start a family or buy that first house. In the face of all this, Biden and his supporters have not shown any remorse for having caused this calamity, nor offered any concrete plans to fix it, nor even exhibited any empathy for those who are suffering.
2. Gas at the pump is has hit record highs. Prices have come down slightly in the last few weeks to around $4.50/gallon for regular, but that reprieve may prove to be “transitory,” pun intended. Moreover, let’s remember that when Biden took office on January 20, 2021 it was around $2.40/gallon, and according to AAA one year ago it was an average of $3.15. This is particularly damaging to Biden as it is “spin-proof.” People are reminded of it every time they “gas up.” Moreover, most people are not being fooled by the Administration’s lame repeated attempts to blame the high prices on Putin, COVID, Trump, or anyone else. It’s all about the Keystone Pipeline shut-down. Remember the first law of prices is supply vs. demand.
3. For the month of June prices of all goods and services are up substantially from May – for example, groceries, 12%, electricity, 14%, airplane flights, 34%, and lodging, 11%, to name a few examples. We are reminded of it every time we shop. Furthermore, we have been forced to endure periodic and arbitrary shortages due to chronic supply chain issues (e.g. baby formula). Not only are prices up, but package quantities are smaller.
4. The producer price index increased 11.3% from May to June. This is particularly alarming as the PPI is a portent of future retail prices.
5. In certain areas of the country, for example, Manhattan, one has difficulty finding affordable places to live The average rental in Manhattan now exceeds $5,000 per month, that is, if one can find a vacancy at all in a decent neighborhood.
6. According to another BLS release “real” hourly wages (wages adjusted for inflation) declined 1% in June. In other words, the average worker fell even further behind.
Due to all of the foregoing as well as all the Biden Administration’s non-economic failures, which I have also detailed in past blogs, it is no wonder his approval ratings are so low. In addition, many Dem politicians, such as Sheila Jackson Lee and Joaquin Castro, as well as political analysts on left-leaning CNN and MSNBC, and left-leaning media outlets, such as the NY Times and Washington Post, are beginning to criticize him. Finally, some Dem politicians, for instance, Senator Tim Ryan, have declined to have Biden campaign with him even though he is embroiled in a tough re-election battle. These are not good signs. In view of all of the above, I wonder why Biden poll numbers aren’t even lower.
There is more bad economic news on the horizon. One of the best ways to cool inflation is for the Fed to raise interest rates. We are long overdue for a rate increase. Comerica Bank’s chief economist, Bill Adams, is predicting the Fed will raise its rate at least 3/4% of in July. Some economists are predicting 1/%. That would be an abnormally high increase at one time, but it may be what is needed to tame inflation before it becomes “runaway” inflation. Such an action would surely plunge us into a recession, although many economists believe we are already in one. It would increase the cost of borrowing, another expense increase for both consumers and businesses, and likely devastate the housing market.
A few days ago, Biden issued a statement acknowledging that the “economic pain” being felt by Americans was “unsustainable.” On that Biden and I are in rare agreement, however, he failed to put forth any plan to resolve it. That leads one to conclude that his statement of “sympathy” was just empty words, or as he might say, “a bunch of malarkey.” In a similar vein he stated his intention to “urge Congress to act this month on legislation to reduce the cost of everyday expenses.” Again, he failed to put forth any plan to do so. More malarkey.
Furthermore, it is worth noting, that most of those in Biden’s inner circle were chosen for their diversity; few have had any prior practical, business, economic, or financial experience. Not exactly optimal for dealing with the current state of affairs.
As I and many others have been saying, historically, the number 1 issue for voters, absent a war, is the economy. It will almost certainly be so in 2022 and 2024. Yet, Dems have steadfastly avoided the issue. Their focus has been on abortion and the January 6 hearings, which, though important to the far left “wokers” and “tweeters,” are far down on most voters’ lists of issues. Part of that is because Dems have nothing else to run on, no accomplishments, but whose fault is that?
As I said, Biden’s performance is becoming a significant drag on the Dem Party’s prospects in November. Many Dems up for re-election are starting to panic. Some would like to have him removed pursuant to Article 25 of the Constitution. Certainly, there is ample justification for that as anyone can see every night on the news. However, the best thing Biden has going for him is that his replacement would be Kamala Harris, who, based on her performance to date, would be even more incompetent. Yes, the Dems have put themselves firmly between the proverbial “rock and a hard place.” Well earned, and well deserved.