Joe Biden’s summer is too short

Leaving the White House early last Sunday morning, Mr. Joe Biden he told reporters that he “feels good”. He tested negative for COVID-19 the night before and his quarantine at the presidential palace ended. But his statement could also be interpreted metaphorically, as it preceded perhaps the best week of his presidency. A series of positive developments for the President of the United States has reversed the general sense of government paralysis and lifted Democrat morale ahead of the crucial November 8 congressional election.

The week began with a bang on Monday, when it was announced that the CIA had killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul. The news washed away some of the national stigma attributed to Biden for the Taliban offensive and the chaotic retreat of the persecuted Americans on August 15 last year. The next day, the citizens of Kansas, the state that voted for Trump by 15 points over Biden in 2020, rejected in a referendum a proposal to revise the state constitution that would pave the way for a ban on abortion.

Even more important for potential voter behavior was Friday’s surprise news: Unemployment fell to 3.5% in July, the lowest in half a century, as the US economy added 528,000 new jobs, all losses from the pandemic. But the Democrats’ biggest success came on Sunday, when the Senate passed a major social and environmental bill, the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill was a sham, as the rules passed had consequences for anything but fighting inflation. However, the importance of the agreements reached thanks to the decisive vote of Vice President Kamala Harris (the vote was 50-50) cannot be overestimated: lower prices for essential drugs for the insured, the expansion of Medicare, a 15 percent tax on large companies that today evade payment taxes through various loopholes and a wide range of green transition incentives, worth $370 billion.

The question is whether the positivity of Democrats last week will prove to be a real political turning point, or a brief hiatus without continuity. Midterm congressional elections traditionally favor the opposition party. The Democrats suffered heavy defeats in the first midterms of the Obama era, despite the fact that they had just passed major health care and banking reforms. In RealClearPolitics’ first median estimate since Biden’s Golden Week, Americans continue to disapprove of his candidacy (56.5% to 39.5%), while two out of three Democratic voters do not want the oldest ran for president in 2024.

In addition, the multi-bill is failing due to major concessions made to its passage by two rebel senators (Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kirsten Sinema of Arizona) who prevented it from being approved. Of the 3.5 trillion. that called for Biden’s original “Make It Better Than It Was” plan, the Democrats slashed it to $700 billion while retaining almost all of the corporate and high income tax cuts introduced under Trump.

The main negative for the Democrats is the continued decline in real wages, as inflation gallops at an annualized rate of 9.1%. Meanwhile, the US economy has been in a recession for two quarters in a row, and the risk of combining elections with a recession is exacerbated by the tight anti-inflationary policy of the Federal Reserve.

Author: Reuters, AP

Source: Kathimerini

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