President Joe Biden on Thursday delivered what the White House billed as a “major economic address on Bidenomics vs. MAGAnomics,” with the speech coming as polls show most Americans disapprove of his handling of the U.S. economy.
“You hear from our friends on the other side, the MAGA Republicans, what’s wrong with America,” Biden said in a speech at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md., just outside Washington, D.C.
“They keep telling us America’s failing. Well, they’re wrong. They’re failing,” the president said. He attacked Republican tax plans for favoring wealthy Americans and corporations, and mounted a defense of Social Security and Medicare.
Previewing Biden’s remarks, Jared Bernstein, who chairs the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, said that GOP lawmakers support “unfair taxes” and “increased costs for families,” and said that Biden would “highlight what’s at stake for families as fiscal and budget debates take center stage in the weeks and months ahead.”
A divided Washington looks on track for a partial government shutdown after Sept. 30, when the federal government’s new fiscal year starts. Analysts at Height Capital Markets on Thursday raised their probability for a shutdown to 90% from 80%, citing demands from the House Freedom Caucus, a hardline GOP group, that look “un-meetable.”
“They’re turning their backs on the bipartisan budget deal Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy made with me just a few months ago,” Biden said. “They’re back at it again, breaking their commitment and threatening more cuts and threatening to shut down the government again this month.”
Biden appears to have a tough sales job as he pitches his economic policies. Just 34% of Americans approve of his handling of the economy vs. 59% who disapprove, according to a poll out Wednesday from Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School and USA Today. That survey also found more Americans indicating they trust former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner in the 2024 Republican primary, more than the Democratic incumbent to improve the economy by a 47%-36% margin.
Other polls have had similar findings, with one from the Wall Street Journal revealing that three in five voters disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy, while 63% don’t like how he has handled inflation.
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Charlie Cook, founder of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said in a National Journal column earlier this week that it’s “hard to look at recent survey data and not question whether his re-election bid really is such a good idea.”
Other columnists have offered comparable takes this week, with the Washington Post’s David Ignatius writing Tuesday that Biden should not run again. The president’s supporters have blasted such columns, and the White House has highlighted surveys that show strong approval for policies such as Biden’s move to cap insulin costs for seniors and his effort to give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices.
U.S. stocks SPX DJIA finished higher on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 331 points to claim its biggest one-day gain in more than five weeks, as retail-sales data showed a resilient consumer despite the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hikes.