Sunday night, I hated myself for spending $6.99 plus tax on a blasted can of ReddiWhip (What can I say? The weekend wrought a homemade pumpkin pie situation and thus whipped cream desperation). Needless to say, that fresh sticker shock made it easy Monday morning to hate The Washington Post for running an article titled “Biden’s Economy Is Great Everywhere Except in the Polls.”
In it, Matthew Yglesias treats readers to 800 words of Biden slobbery, lamenting poll results showing a majority of swing-state voters preferred Donald Trump’s economy over Joe Biden’s and that only 35 percent trust the incumbent on the issue. (Independents trust Biden even less, with only 25 percent.)
“As the US economy continues to improve, President Joe Biden continues to not get credit for it,” Yglesias whines.
The problem is that when it comes to Biden’s approval, all the arguments are losing ones. Thus the media resort to doing what they always do: telling you to stop believing your lying eyes.
According to Yglesias — and, if you’ve been paying attention, the rest of the “inflation-is-cooling” media — the inflation situation is “greatly improved,” “Americans’ inflation-adjusted net worth surged between 2019 and 2022, and real incomes are up as well,” the bounceback from government-mandated Covid lockdowns were “rapid” and “robust,” and Americans are definitely better off than they were before.
See, the real problem is those incredulous voters whose memories serve them better than the commander-in-chief’s. If only they would just “forgive and forget.”
But it’s hard to “forget” your present reality. Just ask the dad slapping another layer of duct tape on the minivan bumper because outlandish used-car prices mean even a modest upgrade isn’t feasible. Or any coupon-clipping mother in the grocery store, who’s likely paying some 70 percent more to feed her family than just a few years ago, a number not reflected in the consumer price index. Americans priced out of air travel can’t expect to find road trip-friendly prices at the pump. And forget graduating from renter to homeowner. In this competitive market, rapidly rising interest rates just add insult to injury with each rejected offer.
Contrary to claims from the media and economic “experts,” Americans are emphatically far worse off than they were a few years ago. According to the same Morning Consult/Bloomberg poll Yglesias cites, “Roughly 3 in 4 swing-state voters said the country’s economy is headed down the wrong track and they are more likely than not to say their personal financial situation was better off under Trump than it is under Biden.”
With these unfortunate circumstances rightly coloring voters’ perception of Biden, Yglesias says his best bet at winning again in 2024 is the likelihood of Trump being his opponent. “Republicans aren’t planning to run a fresh-faced outsider onto whom the public can project its hopes and dreams,” he writes. “Donald Trump is a known and disliked quantity who is more plagued with scandals and legal problems than he was at any time during his presidency.”
Never mind that most voters can discern from whence these “scandals and legal problems” stem (ahem, Biden’s Justice Department and Yglesias-boosting media), but beyond that, the problem with this conclusion is two-fold — and simple.