Disambiguation from the political and social musings of Jack Altschuler

What Art Friedson Has On His Mind

Here’s a guest essay, a wonderful post from Art Friedson from the June 23 NKC Occasional Update, reprinted with permission of the author.

One of the great mysteries of life is how Joe Biden can be polling so low on favorable/unfavorable, and even more so, on his handling of the economy. Really? Are you kidding me?

Okay, I get that he’s old. We all wish he was a decade or two younger. But by any objective measure, the man has been one of the most effective presidents in recent history, especially when it comes to the economy. Probably the most effective president. In fact, when it comes to presidents, Joe Biden is the GOAT: Greatest Of All Time.

Let’s start with the big picture and work our way down. President Biden took office just as the Covid pandemic was ramping up. China was already shut down which caused major supply chain disruptions: factories we relied on for goods were closed, and the related shipping delays made it nearly impossible to get the few goods that were available..

At the same time, there were vaccines in development, but no plans for the kind of mass distribution that would be necessary for what turned out to be the series of shots that would be required to tamp down the spread of the virus.
U.S. Covid deaths
(Graphic from the C.D.C.)
Just three months into his term, as Covid deaths were reaching their first big spike in the U.S., the Biden Administration had already ramped up vaccine production and put a distribution plan in place that was flexible enough to be tweaked and evolve to meet impediments that surfaced.
Throughout it all, President Biden skillfully and adeptly worked with a polarized Congress to pass law after law to pump money into the economy in general, and directly into the hands of the Americans who needed it most. At the same time, he used every administrative maneuver possible to successfully get the kinks out of the supply chain.
The pandemic revealed a more serious problem for American industry: we had ceded control to foreign manufacturers. So again, President Biden finessed a series of measures through a challenging Congress that directly addressed the structural problems the pandemic exposed.
Private Investment in Manufacturing
(Graphic from the St. Louis Fed)
The billions of dollars that have been and will be spent on infrastructure, coupled with the massive investments in new manufacturing sites for batteries, solar cells, and semiconductors, have been matched by unprecedented foreign investment resulting in what Axios chief financial reporter Neil Irwin calls “a manufacturing supercyle.”
The industrial construction boom has already offset the decline in residential and commercial construction that were hit by rising interest rates. Longer term, they can be counted on to provide a steady flow of good-paying jobs that will go a long way towards building back the middle class that was decimated by Republican economic policies that sent jobs and production overseas.
While the Republican tax cuts drove income inequality, President Biden’s successes are driving an American revival. Current unemployment rates are lower than they were in the economic boom times of the 80s, 90s, and early 00s. While the unemployment rate for African Americans still lags, it has fallen from 16.8% in May, 2020, to just 4.7% now which is very close to an all-time low.
President Biden has also taken on the surge of hidden fees that have raised prices on airline and concert tickets, as well as “junk fees” for banking and credit cards. These are the hidden drivers that fuel inflation by increasing corporate profits, separate and apart from the macroeconomic drivers of inflation. It’s like he has eliminated the Greed Tax.
It took this long to mention inflation, so let’s deal with it. Yes, when you pump a bunch of money into the economy, even for the best of reasons, you get inflation. It has happened everywhere in the world since the Covid crisis. But in the U.S., thanks to President Biden and The Fed, inflation has fallen for 11 straight months, from a peak of over 9% last summer to the current rate of 4%. At the same time, markets have returned to within 10% of their all-time record levels. Why, you may ask? Because (a) investors have confidence that the right actions are being taken; and (b), since markets usually project the economy six months out, they believe that we will stay on the right track.
Energy CPI
(Graphic from Axios)
The combination of falling inflation, decreasing unemployment, and record investment in manufacturing has been a boon to all Americans, not just the 1%. Income inequality has fallen thanks to tighter labor markets, greater transparency, and increased unionization.
The bulk of the benefits of the Biden Boom redounds to the poorest members of American society. They are the ones whose incomes -even with inflation- have increased the most on a proportional basis. They are the ones who are getting the high-speed internet connections they were denied in the past. They are the ones landing the jobs rebuilding infrastructure and manufacturing and they are the ones who will hold the jobs that come on-stream after these facilities are built.
The policies of the Biden Administration are benefiting the very people who are least likely to support him in an election. How crazy is that?
Along the way, the Republican policies that drive income inequality and only benefit the rich are now completely debunked. They don’t work. They don’t create jobs and they don’t lift the poor. As hard as it is for even Establishment Republicans to admit it, their policies only benefit the rich, while Biden’s policies benefit everyone, rich and poor, rural and urban, blue and red.
All this, and we have only focused on the economy. How about resurrecting the State Department and reconstituting NATO just in time for the Russian invasion of Ukraine? How about getting a record number of federal judges ratified and seated? How about the fact that America is not at war with anyone? Can any of you recall a time when we could say that?
Our job – yours and mine – over the next 14 months is to spread the word about the unparalleled success of the Biden Administration and push pack hard every time we hear a discouraging word. Nobody has done this president thing like Joe Biden. He’s the GOAT. He may be an old goat, but he’s the GOAT and he deserves our unqualified support. The state of our nation quite literally depends on it.

Note: All graphics are linkable.

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One Response to What Art Friedson Has On His Mind
  1. Frank Levy Reply

    Sadly, the points Art Frieson made will always be drowned out by the negative approach to Biden and the Biden administration that the media – mainstream and otherwise – use as a lead in to their stories. Even supposedly positive stories about Biden on MSNBC come across as negative and disparaging. The public, a group not known for its willingness to delve into the details, only hears the negative tone. Of course Biden is down in the polls. That is the way the media wants it. That is the way they make what should be an uncontested election in favor of Biden into a horse race that spends billions on TV advertising.