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In one of the most memorable presidential debate moments, Ronald Reagan asked voters if they were better off in 1980 than they were when Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976. The obvious answer was, for most, a resounding “no.” Whoever runs against the Democratic nominee next year needs to bring back that question, because it’s a certainty that in the fall of 2024, we’ll still be worse off than we were in pre-pandemic 2020.

And for that, we can thank, or rather blame, Joe Biden.

In a poll taken earlier this year, 41% of Americans said they were financially worse off than they were two years earlier when Biden took office, the highest number in “ABC News/Washington Post polls dating back 37 years.” Only 16% said they were better off, the lowest number since 2009, when only 8% said their financial situations were better.

At roughly the same time in Donald Trump’s term, only 13% said they were worse off than when he became president while a quarter said their finances had improved.

An America struggling under Biden is not a new development. In a survey conducted in the spring of 2022, 52% said they were worse off than a year earlier; 39% said they expected to be worse off in one year than they were when they were asked the question in June.

Last year’s New York Times|Momentive Poll further discovered that “The number of people who expect periods of widespread unemployment or depression to occur in the next five years has risen to 71%, another new high,” while 41% said “now is a bad time to make large purchases.” This was “up from 36% in April and slightly” exceeded “the 39% that number reached in April 2020 at the start of the COVID pandemic.”

A few months after those poll results were released, the Heritage Foundation published an analysis that determined the average American had lost $4,200 in annual income since Biden stumbled into the Oval Office.

Historically high inflation is no doubt the primary factor in Americans deteriorating finances. A Congressional Budget Office report from last fall said due to inflation, “In 2022, the share of such income that would purchase a 2019 consumption bundle increased for households in the second, middle, and fourth quintiles because prices rose faster than their income.” Oddly, “that share decreased for households in the lowest and highest income quintiles” because their income “grew faster than prices.”

Yet the point remains: Biden and the Democrats were warned, often by their own people, that their policies were inflationary, yet they enacted them anyway, and most Americans are paying for it through rising retail prices. Of course Biden has tried to deflect blame for inflation, arguing that it is a global phenomena. Which is true. The part he leaves out though, is that inflation that starts in, say, Zimbabwe isn’t going to spread across the world. Inflation that starts in the world’s largest economy, however, will – and has.

With Biden in the White House, abundance is a word that seems to apply almost uniquely to the Biden family fortunes. While the Big Guy gets his 10% off the top, and the ultra-wealthy who stuff the Democratic Party with their plentiful dollars are enjoying the good times, most of the rest of us are having to live with what Thomas Buckley calls “an abundance of scarcity.” Broken and busted by food shortages and higher energy costs, ours is a future of peasantry.

Apparently we are expected to tighten our belts, just as one of Carter’s aides suggested more than 40 years ago, and to keep tightening them because Biden is running again. He has no accomplishments. He has a long list of failures. His missteps, and we’re not talking about his stumbles while trying to climb the stairs to Air Force One, keep piling up. He’s like a virus that kills its host.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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