November 20, 2023

Voters Are Mad About the Economy — But Is It Biden’s Fault?

By Ana Stosberg

John V. Kane, PhD, a Clinical Associate Professor at the NYU Center for Global Affairs, spoke to The Messenger on the economy, its impact on voting, and why the President is always the person to blame or give credit for the latest economic shift. Watch the video here.

To the American public and elected officials, having someone to blame for things they may not have complete control over is nothing new - the infamous ‘Hoovervilles’ of during the single term of President Hoover being one example. 

“For voters, the economy is an important metric to judge a Presidents’ success,” said The Messenger.  With the 2024 Election less than a year away, President Biden is under a microscope and one of the largest topics of conversation is the economy. His economic policies branded as Bidenomics “has been credited with record low unemployment rates” but also with a contradiction of high cost of living, says The Messenger. Professor Kane noted that there are just cycles that go up and down, “some presidents are lucky enough to come in on an upswing, and some presidents are not so lucky…being able to criticize a president on their performance on the economy is great in terms of politics”

Across The United States in 2022, there were astronomical high gas prices and Americans were quick to decide that President Biden was at fault by putting stickers next to gas prices at gas stations with Biden’s face saying ‘I did that.’ Senator John Brassano weighed in by saying “Joe Biden can't hide from the fact that he is the president with high gas prices.” However, is it fair to blame Biden for these things? Professor Kane suggested examining it as a  continuum, “one end…the president had absolute control over the economy…one the other end the president has absolutely zero control, we are far far far closer to that.” Presidential action can only go so far to influence the economy considering that only 20% of GDP is government spending. More times than none, when a presidential economic policy is approved and implemented it can take years or even decades to see positive effects.

I don't see an easy way out. It's like a knot that keeps getting pulled tighter.

Professor John Kane, PhD

Professor Kane continued by noting that when trying to blame someone for things such as a high unemployment rate there is often a “complicated answer or a simple one and the simple one is whoever is highest up that chain…The President.” The simple answer is “very powerful even if it’s not true.” The simple answer gives voters a sense of unanimity in a time where there has never been more polarization between parties. 

At this point, the impact of Bidenomics on the 2024 presidential election is unclear. It seems that partisanship has an outsized influence on views of the economy.. “In the past, with weaker partisan ties, we lived in a situation where the economy was a fair metric we can use…but over time because of polarization (as you mentioned) the main consideration is, is the president a republican or a democrat?” Saying how the state of the economy does still matter but not nearly as much as it once was a determining factor.

Related Articles