The potential success of Joe Biden’s 2024 reelection bid hinges on his ability to persuade voters that his economic agenda has indeed improved the lives of working-class and middle-income Americans. Unfortunately for the president, the available data seems to suggest otherwise.
Despite having embarked on trillions of dollars in new government spending programs, often resulting in significant deficits, government surveys reveal that millions of working Americans feel they are worse off than they were when Biden first assumed office in January 2021.
The U.S. Census Bureau conducts regular Household Pulse Surveys (HPS) that encompass various aspects of citizens’ lives, including spending, employment status, anxieties, and natural disaster effects. A pivotal question within the HPS pertains to the difficulty individuals face in paying their “usual household expenses.”
In a thriving economy, fewer individuals should express struggles in meeting routine expenses. However, the exact opposite is occurring. In January 2021, when Biden’s presidency commenced, around 80.53 million Americans found it “somewhat” or “very” challenging to cover these expenses. As per the most recent HPS conducted in July 2023, that figure escalated to 86.92 million—a rise of over 6 million.
Consequently, over a third of households in Biden’s America are grappling with bill payments. Those particularly affected fall within the income bracket of $50,000 to $150,000, often associated with the middle class. For instance, households earning $50,000 to $75,000 faced difficulty paying their usual expenses, increasing from 10.01 million in January 2021 to 13.34 million in July 2023.
Furthermore, HPS survey data implies that Americans experiencing financial stress are resorting to credit cards, personal loans, and other forms of debt to alleviate their burdens. By July 2023, 85.46 million Americans relied on “credit cards or loans” to “meet spending needs in the last 7 days,” compared to 74.89 million in July 2022.
This escalating reliance on credit cards raises concerns, especially considering the growing credit card delinquency rate, which has climbed for seven consecutive quarters and currently surpasses pre-pandemic levels. The unsettling state of auto loan delinquencies in the second quarter of 2023 mirrors the trend.
The challenges faced by working Americans extend beyond the HPS data. A LendingClub report from earlier in 2023 discovered that 61% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, with the number being even higher in cities, at 69%. Astonishingly, 57% of Americans admit they cannot cover an emergency expense of $1,000 or more.
Despite some left-leaning narratives touting the current economic climate as a prosperous era, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that Democrats’ extravagant spending initiatives and the expansion of government have taken a toll on countless families.
The root of the issue is evident: Democrats have unleashed trillions of dollars without effectively countering the increase with additional tax revenue, essentially flooding the economy with money. Such spending hikes have driven persistent inflation, a challenge that seems unlikely to be remedied.
While Republicans aren’t exempt from criticism—such as their Covid-related spending programs and failure to address entitlements—much of the accountability rests with President Biden and the congressional Democrats. Their extravagant spending has driven up prices across the board, burdening families, and leaving behind a trail of debt.
The numbers speak for themselves: higher costs, struggling households, and mounting debt—these are the hallmarks of “Bidenomics.”