With President Joe Biden’s job approval rating at historic lows just months before the general election, his re-election campaign is clearly focused on attempting to portray the economy as anything but a dismal failure.
During a recent speech in Michigan, the president offered cherry-picked statistics in an effort to convince voters that their financial situation is better than they thought.
“Inflation is coming down,” he asserted. “Jobs are growing. We created 800,000 manufacturing jobs.”
Nevertheless, when respondents to a recent poll were asked which candidate they believed would do a better job handling the economy, GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump enjoyed a 22-point lead over his likely Election Day rival.
— Paul Bedard (@SecretsBedard) February 4, 2024
Whether intentionally or not, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell appears to be helping the White House sell the narrative that the economy is chugging along nicely despite the fact that a poll late last year revealed that even among those who voted for Biden in 2020, a clear majority — 62% — rated the economy as either “fair” or “poor.”
“I do think the economy is in a good place,” Powell said in a recent “60 Minutes” interview on CBS. “And there’s every reason to think it can get better.”
The stock market has experienced a boost in recent weeks due in large part to the belief among inventors that the central bank will begin lowering interest rates this year following sharp increases in over the past two years as a strategy to bring down inflation.
Powell tempered short-term expectations, however, noting that the Fed’s upcoming meeting next month will likely not include a change to the roughly 5.4% current rate, which is the highest it has been in more than two decades. Nevertheless, he indicated that earlier indications that there would likely be three rate cuts this year that would drop the rate to around 4.6% are likely still accurate.
He went on to acknowledge that the central bank waited too long to respond to inflation when prices started surging during the first year of the Biden administration.
“So in hindsight, it would’ve been better to have tightened policy earlier,” he said. “I’m happy to say that.”
Powell said that central bankers “thought the economy was so dynamic that it would fix itself fairly quickly and we thought that inflation would go away fairly quickly without an intervention by us.”