(WASHINGTON) — The White House is going all in on “Bidenomics” branding as the 2024 election cycle heats up.
President Joe Biden took his economic philosophy, which emphasizes building the economy from the middle out and bottom up, on the road with a speech Wednesday at the Old Post Office Building in downtown Chicago.
“The trickle-down approach failed the middle class,” Biden said. “It failed America.”
Despite the billing, the president seemed hesitant at first about using the term “Bidenomics” — arguing it was one first coined by the news media. “I didn’t come up with the name. I really didn’t. I now claim it but they’re the ones who used it first,” he said.
“I think it’s a plan that I’m happy to call Bidenomics,” he then insisted, outlining a three-pronged approach aimed at placing low-income and middle-class families in a stronger financial position.
“First, making smart investments in America. Second, educating and empowering American workers to grow the middle class. And third, promoting competition to lower costs and help small businesses,” he said.
In the 35-minute address, Biden touted the jobs and investments created as a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. He took aim at Republicans, Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama in particular, for recently celebrating the impacts of the infrastructure law despite voting against it.
“I think it’s going to help lessen the division in this country by bringing us back together,” Biden told the crowd of “Bidenomics.” “It makes it awful hard to demagogue something when it’s working.”
The official push by the White House on Biden’s economic message — a rebranding of the ideas he’s articulated for years — comes as polls show the president under water with voters on economic issues after a year of persistent inflation, which has recently eased, and high interest rates.
Republican presidential hopefuls frequently hit Biden over the economy, accusing him of fueling higher prices with big spending packages and harming corporations through so-called “woke” policies.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll last month found Americans 54-36% said former President Donald Trump did a better job handling the economy when he was in office than Biden has done so far.
Biden on Wednesday largely focused on positive economic news, touting the unemployment rate hitting a historic low earlier this year and a cooling in inflation, though prices remain higher than when he entered office.
“Bringing down inflation remains one of my top priorities,” Biden said Wednesday. He said his attempts to bring down prescription drug costs and eliminate junk fees are two examples of providing Americans with more financial breathing room.
The administration’s recently been buoyed by a May jobs report that showed payrolls grew by 339,000, beating expectations. Consumer prices rose 4% in May compared to a year ago, also a better figure than anticipated, and down from the 40-year high of more than 9% last year.
But the branding could carry political risk, if the economy worsens.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday said the U.S. economy has been “quite resilient.” Powell said a recession “remains possible” but is not the most likely scenario. On inflation, the fed chairman said the U.S. won’t meet the target 2% core inflation before 2025 and didn’t rule out raising interest rates to tamp down prices.
Biden, when leaving the White House, said he doesn’t believe there will be a recession.
Looking ahead, Biden vowed to continue fighting for universal pre-K and free college, as well as bringing down child care costs and addressing tax loopholes that prevent the wealthy from “paying their fair share.”
“I’m not here to declare victory on the economy but we have a plan [that is] turning things around incredibly quickly,” Biden said. “We have more work to do.”
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