Biden says 'Bidenomics' will restore the American dream

Agence France-Presse
Biden says 'Bidenomics' will restore the American dream
US President Joe Biden speaks about foreign policy at the State Department in Washington, DC, on February 4, 2021.
AFP / Saul Loeb

CHICAGO, United States — President Joe Biden vowed Wednesday to restore the American dream in a speech promoting his "Bidenomics" policy that he said will deliver a clean break with decades of Republican economic thinking benefiting the rich.

"Bidenomics is about the future. Bidenomics is just another way of saying restore the American dream," the Democrat said in Chicago.

The half-hour speech sought to reach working and middle-class voters vital to Biden's hopes of re-election in 2024 -- many of whom have drifted from the Democratic party to back populist right-winger Donald Trump.

Biden highlighted hundreds of billions of dollars in public investments during his first two years in office to revamp infrastructure and kickstart high-tech manufacturing. 

He aimed squarely at Trump's base by referring to the way globalization had destroyed US industrial communities and stripped workers of "dignity, pride and hope."

Without naming Trump, whom he defeated in 2020 but could well face again next year, Biden said Republican leaders had brought ruin with tax cuts for the wealthy in belief that the benefits would later "trickle down" to ordinary people.

"Bidenomics," he said, is a "fundamental break with the economic theory that has failed America's middle class for decades now."

The Democrat's speech, heavily promoted by the White House, also saw him take credit for a powerful US recovery from the Covid pandemic shutdown and subsequent supply chain nightmares.

"The US has the highest economic growth rate of leading economies," he said.

It's a bold, potentially risky move for Biden to put the economy at the center of his re-election platform, brushing aside months of warnings that the world's biggest economy might still hit a post-pandemic recession.

Putting his name on it is even bolder, with Bidenomics deliberately echoing and refuting Republicans' long-cherished Reaganomics, in reference to the 1980s boom under Ronald Reagan.

"Biden and the Radical Democrat Congress singlehandedly created the highest inflation in decade," Trump said in a written message responding to Biden's speech, claiming erroneously that his opponent had brought the "the worst economic decline since the Great Depression."

Bidenomics or Reaganomics?

So far, the sales pitch is having trouble getting through -- in large part due to the lingering inflationary pressures on a country that had grown used to modest price increases.

A May poll by ABC News/Washington Post even found Biden's scandal-plagued Republican predecessor Trump leading by 18 percentage points on the question of who handled the economy better.

But the White House says inflation is on a slow but steady decline, and that Bidenomics is changing the playing field in a way that will benefit the middle classes.

Huge spending bills passed by Congress during Biden's first two years in power are pouring money into green energy technology, semiconductors, and not less than $550 billion for revamping the country's roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Lael Brainard, director of the National Economic Council, told reporters Tuesday that the Reagan-era trickle-down theory led to the hollowing out of US industrial cities with offshoring and abandonment of ambitious infrastructure upgrades.

By contrast, Biden is using government funding as a catalyst for a "boom in private sector spending in manufacturing construction," she said.

Brainard touted funding for expansion of broadband internet to every corner of the United States as an echo of Franklin Roosevelt's epic electrification program to modernize the nation in the 1930s.

As for getting voters to buy into the Bidenomics pitch, that will come as Americans start seeing the funds begin to kick in, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton said.

"We're seeing shovels in grounds, we're seeing private investment come back to our country, we're seeing millions of jobs created. So now is the time, with all of those accomplishments, (when) the president can take this message to the American people and say this is what Bidenomics is," Dalton said.

"We're just starting to feel the impact."

Biden told supporters at a separate event in Chicago that he was "looking forward" to the re-election battle.

"You know why? Because we've got a story to tell," he said. "We're not only changing the country, we're transforming the country."

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