To avoid mid-term ‘historic attack’, Biden promotes a sunny view of the US economy | US economy

as celebrate Impressive jobs report for the month of May On Friday, Joe Biden went to great lengths to paint a rosy picture of the US economy. While acknowledging the hard reality of price hikes caused by near record inflation, Biden cited 390,000 jobs created last month to say the US is in a strong economic position.

“I know that even with the good news today, many Americans remain concerned, and I understand the sentiment,” the US president said. “But there is every reason the American people can feel confident that we will meet these challenges.”

But so far, not many Americans seem to buy into the optimistic vision that Biden and his team are selling.

Polls show that Americans are watching US economy With a growing sense of pessimism, experts warn of a possible recession. Despite renewed White House efforts this month to assuage Americans’ fears, high prices and economic uncertainty are weighing on the minds of many voters. With less than six months until the midterm elections, the odds of a Republican defeat in November look higher than ever.

Americans who began noticing the price hikes last year are feeling the brutal impact of inflation on their family budgets. gas prices in Standard heights And continue to climb, in part due to the war in Ukraine. Wages have risen in the past year, but those gains have been wiped out by inflation. While average hourly earnings have increased by 5.2% over the past 12 months, The latest report on inflation in the United States It showed that prices rose by 8.3% from the previous year.

That affixed shock distorted Americans’ views of the economy. A Gallup poll last month found that only 14% of American adults rate economic conditions as “excellent” or “good,” which is the lowest rating during the pandemic. The cost of living is one of the most important concerns of Americans, with A recent Pew Research Center survey It shows that 70% of adults in the United States view inflation as a very big problem for the country.

Biden and his advisers clearly understand that worries about the economy could be a heavy burden on Democrats in November, and they are taking steps to improve Americans’ outlook. The White House announced this week that it is launching a month-long campaign to highlight Biden’s economic achievements since taking office.

Biden wrote to start the new effort Wall Street Journal editorial He highlights his anti-inflation plan. On Tuesday, the president also met with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, and White House officials have made dozens of television appearances in the past week highlighting the best elements of the US economy.

Among those TV appearances was Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who admitted that previous White House claims that inflation would be “temporary” had been proven wrong.

“I think I was wrong at the time about the path inflation would take,” Yellen told CNN last week. “As I mentioned, there were unexpected and major shocks to the economy that boosted energy and food prices and supply bottlenecks that badly impacted our economy and I didn’t fully understand it at the time. But we understand that now.”

The Federal Reserve is now taking aggressive steps to slow inflation. central bank announced last month It would raise the benchmark interest rate by 0.5 percentage point, marking the largest increase in more than 20 years. Interest rates are expected to be raised in the coming months.

Higher interest rates often herald a recession, and more economists are now warning of the possibility. Lloyd Blankfein, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, He said last month That the country now faces a “very, very high risk” of recession, although he added that it was not inevitable at this point.

Amid this mounting concern, Biden made a point to stress the independence of the Federal Reserve, saying he would not criticize or interfere with Powell’s efforts to tame inflation.

“The Federal Reserve has a primary responsibility to control inflation,” Biden wrote in his article. “My predecessor insulted the Federal Reserve, and previous presidents improperly sought to influence its decisions during periods of high inflation. I will not do this. I have appointed highly qualified people on both sides to lead that institution.”

Biden’s opinion appears to reflect how tight his hands are when it comes to inflation. After all, the Federal Reserve has the power to set interest rates, and Congress has the power to pass legislation that can help Americans weather the storm of high inflation.

In his article, Biden again called on Congress to pass a bill to cut the cost of utility bills, prescription drugs, and child care. But the Biden Better Rebuild Act, which contained many of those proposals, failed in the evenly divided Senate, and progress in passing a watered down version of the legislation was slow.

“I think it reflects his limited options. Inflation is primarily caused by monetary policy, and it cannot control the money supply,” said Henry Olsen, senior fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Policy, a conservative think tank. leadership and pressure on Congress to act.”

Faced with this difficult reality, Biden and his team have instead pursued a strategy of trying to convince Americans that the economy is in better shape than it appears by looking at gas prices and grocery bills. The president takes every opportunity to remind Americans that the unemployment rate is just 3.6%, close to its lowest level in half a century.

Of course, the job market has been going strong for months, and in that time, Americans’ views of the economy have worsened. Biden’s strategy to convince Americans that they are better off than they think – even as many are forced to make difficult financial decisions – can be risky.

“What you see every day are the things you have to buy that are going up in price,” Olsen said. “There is a kind of presidential strategy, ‘Be grateful for what you have, not for what you don’t have. “This will not work politically.”

Looking back at November, Biden is running out of time to change voters’ opinions about his economic achievements. Biden’s approval rating was soaked in the low 40s Since autumn and Over 70 years oldNo president has significantly improved his popularity in the six months leading up to the midterm elections.

Given the political environment, election forecasters are increasingly confident of the possibility of a Republican wave in November. Cook political report Update his predictions As for the House last week, he said Republicans are now expected to take a net 20 to 35 seats, far more than the party needs to regain control of the House.

For Olsen, the Cook Political Report’s latest prediction appears to be too optimistic for Biden and his party. “The Democrats should be lucky if that’s all there is,” he said. “History strongly suggests that we are looking forward to a historic offensive.”