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EDITORIAL: ‘Bidenomics’ branding backfires as inflation runs rampant

The Biden administration has gleaned the wrong message from James Carville’s famous quip, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

President Joe Biden and the White House have embraced the term “Bidenomics.” In a speech over the summer, Mr. Biden declared, “Bidenomics is working.” The term is supposed to be catchy shorthand for the president’s policies and how they have boosted the economy.

But voters aren’t buying — nor should they be.

While unemployment remains low at 3.8 percent in August, many employers still struggle to find workers even after boosting pay. Inflation has eased somewhat, yet remains a problem, particularly for core items. In September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index was up 3.7 percent year-over-year. That’s the same rate as August and an increase from the 3 percent rate in June. It’s also a long way from the Federal Reserve’s inflation target of 2 percent. And that 3.7 percent is building on 7 percent annual inflation in 2021 and 6.5 percent in 2022. In June 2022, the annual inflation rate hit 9.1 percent, a 40-year high.

There’s no hiding this from consumers. They see it every time they go to the grocery store, fill up their gas tank or pay their energy bill. Would-be homeowners and renters face serious sticker shock. Unsurprisingly, credit card debt has soared. It topped $1 trillion in the second quarter this year. That’s an all-time record.

At the same time, under “Bidenomics” the national debt has roared past $33 trillion, and the president doesn’t seem at all concerned. Mr. Biden previously tried to pass himself off as a deficit hawk, yet the red ink for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 was $1.7 trillion — $2 trillion without an administration accounting gimmick involving student loan debt.

Interest payments on the debt now exceed defense outlays. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the government spent $711 billion on net interest payments during the last fiscal year, up 33 percent from the previous year.

“The run-up in borrowing costs and the deficit,” the Journal noted, “is renewing concerns about Washington’s fiscal trajectory/”

This is Bidenomics in action.

A September USA Today/Suffolk University poll found 70 percent think the economy is getting worse. An October poll from Fox News found voters strongly disapprove of how Mr. Biden has handled economic issues. Just 37 percent approved, while 62 percent disapprove.

Mr. Biden faces challenges no matter how he tries to gussy up his administration’s economic missteps.

First, the Federal Reserve has been hiking interest rates in a belated attempt to stem rising prices. This has triggered higher rates for mortgages, car loans and credit cards. That’s going to add to the financial stress felt by families. Next, Mr. Biden’s massive spending bills clearly contributed to soaring prices. In case that wasn’t clear, his “Bidenomics” branding reinforces it again and again.

Voters blame the president for the country’s deteriorating finances and our $33 trillion debt. They’ve rightly concluded, “It’s the Bidenomics, stupid.”

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