Image Courtesy of CNBC

By John Maggio

Imagine two different presidents, without knowing their party or names – and only knowing their economies.

The first imagined president is seeking reelection. In the recent Iowa caucus, voters in the party opposing this candidate stated in exit polls that the economy was their most important issue to them. Since his inauguration, a record of 85% of Americans now hold a poor view of the economy. Gas prices doubled in less than 18 months.

Within the second president’s economy, there are more upsides. Voters from both parties have felt the most positive about the economy in nearly three years. The U.S. added over 350,000 jobs last month, surpassing all expectations; during his time in office, nearly 15 million jobs have been added to the workforce. The U.S. stock market and production of oil each recently saw record highs.

These two presidents are the same person: President Joe Biden. Just like his polls, his economy has experienced both highs and lows throughout his time in office. Biden’s management of the economy has been a key aspect in the development of the election on both sides of the aisle.

The Biden campaign has helped form a clear distinction between the role of the economy under Donald Trump, versus the economy under Biden. A Biden campaign spokesperson said, “Trump talks about the stock market because he’s focused on delivering for Park Avenue…at the expense of Main Street businesses.”

Biden has made this distinction between how the economy will affect the wealthier and the poorer an important part of his campaign and presidency. Bidenomics, the president’s economic plan, intends to build “from the middle out and the bottom up.” 

This is a clear parody of President Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down theory, or Reaganomics, which was built on cutting taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations so that they may expand their businesses, eventually letting wealth “trickle down” to the middle and lower classes.

Trickle-down has largely been perceived as unsuccessful, with the London School of Economics saying that these tax cuts “only benefit the rich,” and that there has been no evidence that it has created economic growth nor lowered unemployment rates. However, compared to Reagan, Biden currently has a better unemployment rate.

On the Republican side, the positive economy has shifted their campaign strategy. A Fox News host recently said the Republican messaging about a poor economy “has been way off base,” showing that the GOP can not keep up with their attacks on Biden’s economy.

The GOP’s new target seems to be immigration – another issue that has plagued much of the Biden presidency. A recent bipartisan Senate bill worth $118 billion is already facing backlash from House Republicans and Trump. This bill includes many major GOP requests when it comes to the border, such as increased funding for detention centers, screening for drugs, more border agents, increased qualifications for asylum, and Presidential/Department of Homeland Security authority to close the border. Further, it includes funding for Ukraine and Israel.

While this seems to include most of the items on the GOP’s wishlist, it is facing criticism. Speaker Mike Johnson has said that this bill “will be dead on arrival” if it passes the Senate. Trump said on Truth Social, his social media, that the bill is “horrific.”

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