Why Bidenomics Gets No Love From Voters

President Biden kicks off a national campaign Wednesday pitching his economic record to a deeply sceptical public, Greg Ip reports.


By guest author Austen Hufford from the Wall Street Journal

The challenge: Biden really has two economic records. One of them begins in late 2021 and consists of a series of legislative wins on infrastructure, semiconductor production and renewable energy, which he then preserved in a debt-ceiling deal with Republicans. These policies could shape the economy for years to come.

That record, though, is overshadowed by the record of his first months in office, when his American Rescue Plan pumped $1.9 trillion of demand into a supply-constrained economy. The result was the tightest job market in memory and a surge in inflation that still hangs over Biden’s approval ratings and his prospects for re-election.

It’s logically inconsistent for Biden to disown inflation while taking credit for tight labor markets since they are mirror images of the same thing: an overheated economy. While economists debate how much stimulus contributed to this overheating, they agree it played a part. Voters are thus less inclined to give Biden a pass, especially since Republicans, and even some Democrats, keep reminding them of the connection.

If Biden’s early agenda was all about macroeconomics—unemployment and inflation—his subsequent agenda has been about microeconomics, i.e., the composition of economic growth. Trump’s frequent “infrastructure weeks” never actually led to new infrastructure. Biden, by contrast, got a massive infrastructure bill through Congress in 2021 and it went beyond roads to water treatment and high-speed internet.