In the three months since President Joe Biden decided to campaign on the glories of “Bidenomics,” inflation started creeping back up, the unemployment rate rose, and his approval ratings on the economy have steadily dropped. Now, stagflation is back in the news. All of it is leading Democrats to urge Biden to … shift his messaging.
Stagflation – the combination of rising inflation, high unemployment, and a stagnant economy not seen since the disastrous Jimmy Carter years – is suddenly in the headlines.
On Friday, for example, CNBC ran a story: “Stagflation is ‘the big bogeyman out there’ — and many increasingly fear its return.”
The story pointed out that with oil prices climbing “the specter of higher-for-longer inflation have reignited concern about stagflation risks.”
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is also ringing stagflation alarm bells, saying the Fed could have to raise interest rates to 7% to tame ongoing inflationary pressures.
“I am not sure if the world is prepared for 7%,” he told the Times of India. “I ask people in business, ‘Are you prepared for something like 7%?’ The worst case is 7% with stagflation. If they are going to have lower volumes and higher rates, there will be stress in the system. We urge our clients to be prepared for that kind of stress.”
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at stockbroker CMC Markets, told CNN that the U.S. could “well be heading for a prolonged period of stagflation.”
How does any of this fit with Biden’s Pollyannaish portrayal of the economy?
It doesn’t, of course. Which is why the more time Biden spends patting himself on the back for “rescuing” the economy, the more people disapprove of the job he’s doing.
Before Biden embarked on his “Bidenomics is working” tour in late June, 40% approved of his performance on the economy. Now, after parading around the country with this message, his approval is below 37%, according to RealClearPolitics. His disapproval rating now tops 60%, up from 55% in early June.
You’d think that, given the failure of Biden’s borrow-spend-regulate-inflate economic policies, Democrats would call for change in policy direction. Instead, they just want Biden to stop calling it “Bidenomics.”
Politico reported Friday that “some allied Democrats fear he’s made a serious misstep,” and that “several top Biden allies have privately raised concerns about the phrase to the White House, according to two people familiar with the backchanneling.”
Jill Biden’s former press secretary, Michael LaRosa, wrote a piece for MSNBC over the weekend saying that “the celebration of ‘Bidenomics’ (is) the political equivalent to claiming ‘Mission Accomplished.’”
In the face of all this bad news, the White House remains as detached from reality as ever.
“Bidenomics is the president’s economic agenda, and it is strongly supported by the American people,” White House spokesman Michael Kikukawa said last week.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre piped in with: “I mean, Bidenomics is — has worked so well that you have Republicans in their own districts, in their own states taking credit for things that the president pushed forward.”
If anyone knows who these Republicans are taking credit for inflation, $2 trillion deficits and crippling debt, or which “American people” are cheering this on, let us know.
In the meantime, if Democrats want another word for “Bidenomics,” we would suggest they ask Jimmy “Stagflation” Carter for one.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board