Growing Majority of Americans Living Paycheck to Paycheck Even as Biden Boasts Success of 'Bidenomics'
Growing Majority of Americans Living Paycheck to Paycheck Even as Biden Boasts Success of 'Bidenomics'

By Tom Ozimek

While President Joe Biden touted job creation and other apparent economic successes of his “Bidenomics” policies in a Labor Day speech, surveys showed that a growing majority of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and that most say the economy has deteriorated over the president’s tenure.

The president talked up his economic policies in a speech to union workers in Philadelphia on Monday, while two separate surveys showed that a majority of Americans believe the economy has gotten worse over the past two years.

“This Labor Day we’re celebrating jobs, good-paying jobs, jobs you can raise a family on, union jobs,” President Biden said in a speech to union workers, which follows news that U.S. employers added 187,000 jobs in August.

President Biden went on to highlight his Bidenomics plan that he said created 13.5 million new jobs while taking repeated jabs at former President Donald Trump.

“When the last guy was here, he looked at the world from Park Avenue,” President Biden said. “I look at it from Scranton, Pennsylvania, I look at it from Claymont, Delaware.”

Critics have argued that President Biden’s job creation figure of 13.5 million is exaggerated because a large proportion of that number was simply people returning to work after temporary job cuts at the height of the pandemic, and that the president shouldn’t take credit for the rebound.

“During Biden’s first 30 months in office, just 2.1 million new jobs were created, and by contrast, during my first 30 months in office we created 4.9 million new jobs,” President Trump said in an Aug. 5 speech in South Carolina, in which he pledged to “reverse Bidenomics and restore the trajectory I created toward increasing this country’s financial prosperity.”

The Trump campaign later told PolitiFact, a fact-checking website, that the 2.1 million figure—as opposed to President Biden’s claim of 13.5 million—was derived by excluding workers returning from pandemic layoffs from the job creation count.

Meanwhile, Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for the Trump presidential campaign, pushed back on President Biden’s attack on President Trump’s record in remarks to CNBC.

“President Trump produced a booming economic recovery, and record low unemployment for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and women,” Mr. Cheung told the news organization.

“Joe Biden is the destroyer of America’s jobs and continues to fuel runaway inflation with reckless big government spending. President Trump’s vision for America’s economic revival is lower taxes, bigger paychecks, and more jobs for American workers,” he added.

Biden’s Economy Deteriorating, Most Say

While President Biden was in Philadelphia discussing his economic policies, a new survey from The Wall Street Journal showed that a majority (58 percent) of U.S. voters said the economy has gotten worse over the past two years.

Around 75 percent of Americans said that inflation is headed in the wrong direction, the survey also showed, which dovetails with the latest government data that a key inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve indicated price pressures accelerating.

At the same time, 61 percent of adults said they were living paycheck to paycheck as of July, according to a separate survey from personal finance site PYMNTS and LendingClub, an online lender. That’s up from 59 percent who said the same thing around the same time last year.

Higher-earning households are also feeling the financial squeeze, with 44 percent of those earning over $100,000 per year saying they were living paycheck to paycheck. That figure was 78 percent among those earning under $50,000, and 65 percent for those earning between $50,000 and $100,000, the survey showed.

Other recent surveys indicate that Americans continue to feel the pain of high prices.

According to a Bankrate survey in July, 72 percent of Americans don’t feel financially secure. Among them, 63 percent say that high inflation is making it hard for them to be financially comfortable.

Another survey by Bankrate in June found that 68 percent of Americans are saving less for unexpected situations because of inflation.

Inflation Forces Typical Household to Spend $709 More per Month

Recently, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi calculated that the typical American household was spending a whopping $709 more per month than it was two years ago because of high inflation.

Mr. Zandi’s calculations came in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) that was remarking on the latest government data on inflation, the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Inflation, as measured by CPI, came in at 3.2 percent in year-over-year terms in July, up from 3 percent in June and the first increase in the annualized pace of inflation in about a year.

While that’s down from the 9.1 percent peak in June 2022, many consumers continue to reel from the persistently elevated price pressures of the past few years.

“The high inflation of the past two-plus years has done lots of economic damage. Due to the high inflation, the typical household spent $202 more in a July than they did a year ago to buy the same goods and services. And they spent $709 more than they did two years ago,” Mr. Zandi wrote in his post.

While Mr. Zandi characterized July’s inflation numbers as “great,” Republicans saw his calculations as yet more proof that President Joe Biden’s economic policies have been fanning the flames of inflation.

“Bidenomics is costing the average family over $700 more per month!” the Wisconsin Republican Party posted on social media.

In its effort to quash inflation, the Federal Reserve has hiked rates since March 2022 at its most aggressive pace since the 1980s.

Even though the pace of inflation has slowed from the 9.1 percent peak in June 2022, experts say progress has been limited.

While the headline pace of CPI inflation came in at 3.2 percent year over year, so-called core inflation—which strips out food and energy from the calculation—came in at 4.7 percent.

The core readings, rather than the headline numbers, are what the Federal Reserve pays attention to most closely when assessing progress in trying to bring inflation down to its target of around 2 percent.

“The decline in core inflation readings from year-ago levels has been much less pronounced and at 4.7 percent remains well above the 2 percent target,” Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate, told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

Also, the core Personal Consumption Expenditures price index—which is the gauge the Fed relies on most heavily to measure progress against its 2 percent inflation target—rose to 4.2 percent, up from 4.1 percent in June, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

“Even after a months-long holding pattern to start the year, core inflation readings are showing only modest progress in the right direction,” Mr. McBride said.

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