Americans feel badly in Biden’s good economy.

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

President Biden cannot understand why the approval rating on his handling of the economy is so low. About two thirds of Americans call the economy poor. Biden believes that the good overall economic conditions should have Americans feeling good and they should, therefore, approve his handling of the economy.  Biden says he is responsible for the economy coming back from the pandemic shutdown.

Economic growth has been mostly strong during his first three years.  The unemployment rate fell from over 6% when he entered office to below 4% by the end of his second year in office.  Even today, the unemployment rate is well below the full employment level considered by economists to be 4%.


In the last half of 2023 wages began to increase more than they had in the past, so that by year end the increase in wages exceeded the increase in prices meaning Americans had real wages gains.  Wages are continuing to rise this year.  There is hope that inflation will continue to ease and interest rates will soon fall.

In 2021, Biden was able to pass the American Rescue Plan, the Chips Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.  This spending improved infrastructure, encouraged production of integrated circuit chips in the US and spent money designed to reduce inflation.  And inflation has fallen.

Yet, despite these accomplishments, the vast majority of Americans do not approve of Biden’s handling of the economy.  Why?

The reason is simple.  Americans can hear all the data and the rhetoric about how good the economy is, but how they feel is much different from the Biden rhetoric.

While jobs continue to be plentiful and wages are rising, most Americans continue to feel poorly about the economy.  Since Biden took office in January 2021 prices have risen, on average, nearly 20%.  At the same time incomes have not risen nearly that much.

That means Americans today cannot afford to buy what they bought in January 2021.  The higher prices led to a decline in real income.  In 2022 alone real median household disposable income fell by nearly 9%.

Americans today are buying less expensive goods or are just buying less of everything or are substituting less desirable products.  That has led to a decline in the standard of living.  Consumers can feel this, and it feels very badly.

All the data and the rhetoric can influence voters’ opinions, thinking, and perceptions.  What the numbers and the rhetoric can’t do is influence feelings.  Americans today feel badly about their economic situation, which leads to the low approval ratings the President sees on his handling of the economy.

In 2023 most workers saw larger wage increases than they had seen in prior years.  Yet because prices had risen so much, their wage increases just weren’t paying for the goods that they were accustomed to buying, making people feel badly.

Additionally, the Federal Reserve had to react to the Biden inflation by dramatically raising interest rates.  Even with their increased income, the high interest rates coupled with even higher home prices, meant far too many Americans could not afford to purchase a new home, which is the basis of the American dream.  This makes them feel badly.

Those that rent also saw a decline in their purchasing power as rents, on average, have risen by nearly 30% since 2020. Americans who have relocated found they are forced to live in a smaller house or apartment, making them feel badly.

Worse yet is the increase in the price of food.  Americans are now spending 11.3% of their disposable income on food.  That’s the most in more than three decades. That makes people feel badly.

Americans are becoming fearful of the size of the public debt, so all that spending Biden did in 2021 and continued to do in the following years just added to the huge debt. That coupled with the higher interest rates increased the interest payments to more than $660 billion annually.  Taxpayers feel badly when they see this.

Americans disapprove of Bidenomics mostly because they have seen a decline in their standard of living.  No amount of speeches or data presentations will make Americans feel better.  Bringing prices down will make Americans feel better.

The Biden Administration says we are on our way to lower inflation. We are not on our way to lower prices.