Biden: Skilled at Debate, Awful at Economic Results

8 mins read

Joe Biden’s biggest problem for Tuesday night is not a weakness in the mechanics of debating. History suggests he will be well-prepared for the verbal jousting. His actual problem is his disastrous decades-long record, particularly on the economy. On this score, even the rhetorical skills of Demosthenes cannot help his cause with American workers. Even worse for Biden, his record of globalist failure will pale in comparison to the incredible economic achievements – both past and present – of President Trump.

Even in this highly unusual year of 2020, the economy remains, by a wide margin, the most important issue, according to voter surveys. In this most abnormal year, most voters will still default to the typical driving calculus in making their Nov. 3 decision: Which candidate can make me, and the country, more prosperous? Pre-election polling suggests a wide lead for the president on this key question. A recent ABC News poll shows Trump with an 11-percentage-point lead on the economy in Florida and a 15-point lead in Arizona, both key battleground states.

Voters give him the edge on the economy for good reason, as both pre-pandemic and current metrics provide evidence of the impressive results produced by Trump, especially for the economic underdogs, the strivers. The Census Bureau just reported final numbers for the full year 2019, before our nation faced the epidemiological Pearl Harbor of COVID-19 through the deception and malfeasance of the Chinese Communist Party. The most amazing 2019 economic news was the largest median income growth in American history, by a mile, at a stellar 6.8% for the year. Put in dollar terms, the median household gained over $4,379 in income last year. For comparison, that single-year number represents more income growth than that produced during the entire eight years of the Obama-Biden administration.

The tangible benefits of such rocket-ship growth addressed economic inequality too, as black and Hispanic incomes grew even faster than the overall rate. For the first three years of the Trump presidency, an incredible 2.8 million children were lifted out of poverty, proving the efficacy of tax and regulatory relief, plus trade deals that prioritize American workers.

But looking back at past success is, admittedly, insufficient. Thankfully, America now embraces a very real, present-tense economic renaissance unfolding across our land. While hard work still lies ahead to reclaim the heights of the Trump Boom that our nation enjoyed into the early months of this year, we can also rightly celebrate the incredible recent successes and trajectory of economic revival, as revealed by the hard, on-the-ground data.

For example, just last Friday, the Commerce Department released the latest durable goods report, which showed that orders of core capital goods regained all China virus losses, and have reclaimed the pre-shutdown trend. Even better, the benefits of factories powering back up largely flow to workers. The Labor Department recently reported a new all-time high in average hourly earnings for non-managerial production workers. During Trump’s presidency so far, these manual laborers have welcomed 13.8% average hourly wage growth. That rate of pay increase for people who work their hands – the “deplorables” – is over 4% higher under Trump than during the last four years that Joe Biden was vice president.   

A similar V-shaped rebirth is exploding in housing. Last week the Census Bureau detailed August as the best single month for new home sales in over 14 years, since before the 2008-09 credit crisis. Even better, unlike the 2006 homebuilding acceleration, this current housing expansion is not dependent upon widespread mortgage chicanery. As with the factories’ expansion, the benefits of the housing revival flow to working-class people, as construction wages just hit an all-time high. In a related trend, sales of furniture, electronics, and appliances have more than doubled in the last four months from the lockdown lows.

In contrast to this story of renewal and optimism, Joe Biden’s record will be revealed on the debate stage as one of retreat, with a planned regression to policies of slow growth and economic submission to China. The Obama-Biden years provided well for the already-successful, as the owners of assets benefited from globalism and the rise of asset prices. But workers languished.

In fact, during Biden’s vice presidency, only the top 10% of earners saw their household net worth increase over those eight years. The other 90% of Americans moved backward economically. The reality was even worse for minorities. Per Federal Reserve data, black citizens suffered a staggering 30% drop in their household net worth during Biden’s tenure. Though part of that loss resulted from the 2008-09 recession, the widening disparity between white and black households persisted all the way through Biden’s second term.

Pre-Donald Trump, disastrous trade deals inflicted stagnation upon American workers, for decades. Joe Biden was a principal architect of such structures, from NAFTA to China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization on terms highly advantageous to Beijing. Because of  Biden’s constant appeasing of the Chinese Communist Party, America acquiesced to an abusive economic relationship that cost our country more than 60,000 factories and over 3.2 million manufacturing jobs, per the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

We will not retreat to Joe Biden’s economic globalism. We will not again allow the most powerful nation on earth to become an economic supplicant to the Chinese politburo.

Biden may manage the mechanics and tactics of a debate with alacrity. It is true that at times he seems disoriented, but at others he appears in command of the facts. He has participated in at least 38 debates during his nearly half-century in the Washington swamp. Many of these outings have generated deserved praise, such as his 2012 performance vs. Paul Ryan. But, no amount of oratorical skill can possibly counterbalance Biden’s long and painful economic record of defeat.

Steve Cortes is a RealClearPolitics contributor and a senior adviser for strategy to the Trump 2020 Campaign. 

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