The prices have slowed down and the unemployment rate has declined. However, the increasing cost of living has become the dominant concern affecting the president’s popularity.
Few things would affect the mood of public opinion more than the soaring price that gasoline hit on Tuesday in the United States, which is helping create a bad atmosphere for Joe Biden.
With inflation at 8.3%, an increasingly jittery market, 1.4% gross domestic product shrinkage in the first quarter and the threat of recession looming, Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf says, “A soft landing in the U.S. is possible but unlikely.” Biden does what he can, but he is not exactly doing well. On the contrary, Biden appears to be trying to blame the opposition — which might be seen as a joke — and promises that he will ask companies not to raise prices.
An editorial of the conservative journal Washington Observer says, “Everyone who reads knows that Biden’s inflation problem began with one of the first bad decisions he made in office. Ignoring friendly Democratic advisers from the Obama era, Biden insisted on making himself Santa Claus after his election, handing out yet another $2 trillion dose of COVID cash. He did this even though the economy was already well on its way to recovery. The inflationary results of Biden’s actions were not only predictable but predicted — and widely. Consult any economics textbook: When you put too much new money into circulation at a time of decreased production, that causes inflation.”
An ideological grudge against the Democratic president is undoubtedly present in this analysis, but it is fundamentally correct.
The pandemic, emergency aids, logistical problems, the war in Ukraine and other external factors are fueling inflation in the same way as in developed European countries. However, the impact is greater in the United States because of the size of its economy and its influence on the rest of the world.
Even occasional issues, such as the shortage of powdered milk, a result of supply chain problems and a recall made by one major brand, create a feeling that everything is going wrong when it is not. The unemployment rate, for example, has dropped noticeably — which, ironically, fuels inflation by increasing competition for labor.
But the tension in the air is palpable: The Biden administration has negative approval ratings in 46 of the 50 U.S. states. In California, with a huge majority of Democratic voters, 41% approve of the government and 47% disapprove. In swing states or states that lean toward Republicans, the numbers are also not good. Some 56% of voters in Florida and Pennsylvania, 61% in Texas, 69% in Oklahoma and 75% in West Virginia disapprove of Biden’s job performance.
Issues of great social repercussion, such as the leak of a Supreme Court opinion against the constitutional right to abortion at the federal level, have extraordinarily poisoned the political environment. The Biden administration felt that this would be in its favor, as the Republican opposition would come out as radical. However, crazed protests, occurring even within churches, are labeling the government with extremist and even abusive positions.
Those moderate citizens who defend the right to abortion up to a specific gestational age cannot approve threats to “burn the Eucharist” made against Catholics or the cries to “abort the Court” uttered in front of the home of Samuel Alito, the judge who wrote the opinion.
And no mother can easily face the prospect of paying $120 for a can of powdered milk for her baby. With six months until the midterm elections in November, food and fuel prices continue to rise (gasoline, 44%; eggs, 23%; chicken, 15%). There are also factors like the war in Ukraine, which carries the constant risk of out-of-control escalation, and the possibility of Elon Musk buying Twitter and the menace of Donald Trump returning to the social network.
This is just a joke, however: Trump does not need to reign on social media to have a slight advantage over Biden today. Biden himself is taking care of that.