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What is “Bidenomics”?

In the beginning of the election campaign, US President Biden tries to score points with the topic of the economy. The new keyword is: “Bidenomics”. What is behind it – and can the slogan catch on?

Ralph Borchard

It is an attempt to give Joe Biden’s somewhat slow-starting election campaign a focus, a slogan, new impetus. Getting away from the discussion about Biden’s old age and looking at his achievements. First he tried it with irony – the press had introduced the term “bidenomics” for his economic policy, he didn’t know what the hell that was supposed to be, said the president.

In fact, the term had appeared occasionally at the beginning of his tenure. At the beginning of June, the “Wall Street Journal” used it in a headline, other media followed suit. Now Biden has tried to fill the word with life in a speech to a union audience in Chicago: “Imagine: ‘Bidenomics’ works. When I came into office, the pandemic was raging, the economy was reeling,” said the Democrat. “Since then we have created 13.4 million new jobs. More new jobs in two years than any other president before in four years.”

counterpart to Reagan neoliberalism

Above all, Biden repeatedly mentions his infrastructure packages, which, with state subsidies, are intended to form the counter-program to the “Reaganomics” of the 1980s. At the time, Republican Ronald Reagan had listened to the economist Arthur Laffer, who allegedly once scribbled his key idea on a napkin – in the form of a curve, the Laffer Curve.

Put simply, the theory is that anyone who massively lowers taxes and gives entrepreneurs freedom generates so much growth that the positive effect also trickles down to the lower income brackets and the state coffers ultimately fill up again by themselves.

State investments in infrastructure

The Democrat Biden is banking on the opposite: massive state investments in roads, bridges, rails, in climate protection, in new factories in his own country, for example for chip production. “Bidenomics means putting things together as a whole, getting it done,” Biden’s top economic adviser, Jared Bernstein, told NPR radio. “It means shaping the economy from the bottom up, in a way that resonates strongly with people.”

But exactly this reverberation is apparently the problem. Economic relationships are difficult to explain. And many people on the street are still under the impression of high inflation: “To buy groceries, to fill up the car – everything has become more expensive,” says a mother of two from Pennsylvania, “we have to count every penny.”

Low perceived Business Competence

There are definitely pro-Biden voices, even among young voters: “He’s the best president I’ve seen,” says a 19-year-old from Florida. “He fights for my generation.” He cites climate protection as the main reason for his praise.

So far, however, representative surveys have shown that when it comes to economic competence, Joe Biden comes off even worse with an approval rate of just 34 percent than when it comes to the general popularity rate of 41 percent. Will the catchphrase “bidenomics” ever shine? In any case, there is still a long way to go.

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