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Kudlow: Biden's Intransigence On The Debt Ceiling Risks Reelection As His Approval Rating Plunges To 36%

Credit: White House Flickr Stream

Even with a 36 percent overall approval rating, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, President Biden is stonewalling Speaker McCarthy and the House Republican debt ceiling increase. By the way, Mr. Biden’s approval rating on the economy is also at 36 percent.

That suggests we’re heading for a pocketbook election that could favor President Trump over Mr. Biden. In fact, the same poll shows Mr. Trump at 44 percent and Mr. Biden at 38 percent. It also shows Governor DeSantis at 42 percent and Mr. Biden at 37 percent.

All this means that, at this point in time — which is what I think these polls really show, essentially snapshots of what people are thinking — Mr. Biden’s in a heap of pre-election political trouble.

Now, you would think, with rock bottom numbers on the ’24 election and on the economy, that Mr. Biden would want to make a deal regarding the debt ceiling and budget reform. But, apparently, he wont.

Here’s what the president said in an interview last Friday: “And the idea someone for the first time is saying, unless you pass this ridiculous budget I have, which is the way I would characterize what the Republican MAGA budget is — unless you pass this budget, we’re not going to increase the debt limit and we’re going to go bankrupt. We’re going to — the United States of America is going to renege for the first time in history on its debt. And this can’t — no one’s ever tied them together before.”

That sounds pretty hostile to me.

Now, Secretary Yellen says the Treasury will run out of money June 1. That’s 24 days from now. She may have inadvertently done a good thing by forcing the White House, the Senate Democrats, and the House Republicans into a deal.

I will say that the Treasury can continue to borrow from various civil services, the thrift savings plan, and such almost forever. If the debt discussion comes to a head sooner, though, that’s all to the good.

Speaker McCarthy and the House Republicans have a very good debt ceiling increase plan, no matter what Mr. Biden may say. Even the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has signed onto a letter stating he and more than 40 members of the Senate GOP conference will not back any bill that raises the debt ceiling without substantive spending and budget reforms.

So, Speaker McCarthy has solid backing for his plan. Just to review the bidding: The plan would save roughly $130 billion for FY ’23, and put a 1 percent cap on discretionary spending for the 10-year budget window.

It also includes something like a $90 billion rescission for unspent Covid money, work requirements on key social welfare benefits, canceling the student loan cancellation, rescinding roughly $200 billion of greenie tax credits — by the way, the misnamed Inflation Reduction Act is now being estimated at well more than $1 trillion by the CBO and a number of outside analysts — and the McCarthy bill also includes H.R. 1 permitting reform that would unlock oil and gas spigots and reduce the overall cost of energy.

So there’s a lot of good meat on the bones of this debt ceiling increase proposal. Also, this substantive Republican proposal opens the door to a good deal of negotiation on the proposals and perhaps the timing.

I don’t want to negotiate with myself right now, but presumably Speaker McCarthy will lay this plan out at tomorrow’s meeting in the White House with President Biden and the top leaders from each party in both the Senate and the House.

They’re going to meet and there’s plenty to talk about and it makes no sense for Mr. Biden in advance of this meeting to badmouth it.

By the way, though the Fed chairman isn’t talking, I think that a strong budget reform that estimates as much as $4.5 trillion in budget savings over the next 10 years would take the pressure off sticky inflation and the high interest rates that have been murdering the banking system.

So the McCarthy plan is pro-growth, and counter-inflation.

It would boost King Dollar, and add a lot of confidence to a sagging economy that grew at only 1.1 percent in the first quarter and over the past five quarters has grown at 0.9 percent with a 6.5 percent average inflation rate.

So you’d think that Mr. Biden with his rock-bottom 36 percent approval rating would want to get something done, instead of blathering about “MAGA, MAGA, MAGA” — which is nothing more than a divisive message.

Save America. Pass the McCarthy bill.

From Mr. Kudlow’s broadcast on Fox Business News.

Larry Kudlow was the Director of the National Economic Council under President Trump from 2018-2021. His Fox Business show "Kudlow" airs at 4 p.m &. and his radio show airs on 770 ABC from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.