Marketing ‘Bidenomics’ Wasn’t Biden’s Idea?

Marketing ‘Bidenomics’ Wasn’t Biden’s Idea?
Marketing ‘Bidenomics’ Wasn’t Biden’s Idea?

Summary

Maybe he’s fine and it’s the White House staff that has cognitive challenges.

Make all the jokes you want about our president. But these days it seems his employees are the ones who aren’t thinking clearly.

Amid reports of panicked Democrats wishing the President would stop using the term “Bidenomics," this column recently figured that Mr. Biden must have forgotten the lessons of the 1980s.

Media leftists used the term “Reaganomics" early in the tenure of our 40th president because they thought his supply-side policies would fail. When the economy roared to life, press mentions of “Reaganomics" plummeted and Reagan would later joke that that’s how he knew his program was working. Flash forward to the Biden administration and this column observed in September:

The point that our current president seems to have forgotten is that it’s only useful to be associated with the economy when the results are positive—not when Americans are angry about an era of inflation inflamed by Biden policies. The people who should be calling it “Bidenomics" are the president’s opponents.

Now it seems that the President may have figured this out even before his aides did. Last week Megan Lebowitz, Ghael Fobes and Peter Nicholas reported for NBC:

Since June, President Joe Biden had been freely peppering the word “Bidenomics" into his speeches and remarks mentioning the economy — 101 times, to be exact.

In doing so, he was attaching his name to a set of administration policies that most Americans don’t believe have worked, according to recent polling. In an NBC News poll conducted this month, only 38% of respondents approved of Biden’s handling of the economy.

Now, the word “Bidenomics" appears to have been dropped entirely from Biden’s comments about the economy. He hasn’t used it in public remarks since Nov. 1, when he likened Bidenomics to “the American Dream" in a speech in Minnesota.

This week a Washington Post feature called The Early 202 says that the term will live on, but not because Joe Biden is in love with it. The Posties report:

President Biden isn’t retiring the slogan that the White House has been using to sell his economic agenda — even if some Democrats prefer that he would.

The White House started using the slogan — “Bidenomics" — to promote Biden’s economic policies in June after the term appeared in a Wall Street Journal article. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre proclaimed it the “word of the year here at the White House."

Biden — who never seemed as enthusiastic about the slogan as his top aides did — has stopped using it as much in recent weeks. He didn’t mention “Bidenomics" in economic speeches last month in Delaware, in Illinois, at the White House and in Colorado — even though the last speech featured a giant “Bidenomics" banner behind him.

Creating a banner to slap the Biden brand on our era of high prices would seem to be the work of staff. And even though the President isn’t saying the word, the Posties report another staff affirmation:

The White House did not specify why Biden has shied away from the term but said he hadn’t excised it from his vocabulary.

“You can expect him to continue to talk about Bidenomics and how it’s delivered for the American people," Michael Kikukawa, a White House spokesman, told The Early.

So who lacks mental acuity now?

***

Do You Know Who I Am? Recently this column noted the latest paper from government economists Gerald Auten and David Splinter debunking leftist claims of surging U.S. income inequality. Prominent authors of the collapsing claims, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, are not taking it well.

The Free Exchange column in the Economist reports on the reaction to the work of Messrs. Auten and Splinter:

In the past few days the Journal of Political Economy (jpe), one of the discipline’s most prestigious outlets, has accepted their paper for publication.

This has not settled the debate. In fact, the opposing sides are digging in. “I don’t think that inequality denial (after climate denial) is a very promising road to follow," Mr Piketty tells your columnist. “We’ve been showered with prizes from the establishment for our academic contributions on this very topic," adds Mr Saez. Others say the jpe paper has won the day. “It seems clearly correct to me," says Tyler Cowen of George Mason University. “The Piketty and Saez work is careless and politically motivated," says James Heckman, a Nobel prizewinner at the University of Chicago.

Clifford Asness of AQR Capital opts for a measured response on X:

We’ve been “Showered with prizes" is a pathetic reason-from-authority argument from a deceptive deeply partisan mediocrity whose work is finally being exposed for the slipshod Vox clickbait it has always been.

It also just shows how broken is the “establishment."

Given the failures of expert opinion in our era, perhaps this column’s most celebrated alumnus will consider whether the Saez response should count among the year’s worst appeals to authority.

***

Counting the Costs of the Covid Panic Speaking of the failures of expert opinion—and the millions of children who will be paying for such failures for years to come—Ivana Saric reports for Axios:

U.S. students saw a 13-point drop in their 2022 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) math results when compared to the 2018 exam.

The 2022 math score was not only lower than it was in 2012 but it was “among the lowest ever measured by PISA in mathematics" for the U.S., per the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country note... The 2022 results found that U.S. students scored one point below their 2018 reading score and three points below their 2018 science score.

***

Blue State Labor Blues When you think of workers resisting the expensive climate obsessions of the modern left, you probably think of places like West Virginia and Texas. But it seems that times get tough all over when politicians demand inefficient energy production. Alex Nieves reports in Politico:

President Joe Biden’s investment in clean energy sectors through a pair of massive spending bills — which promise lucrative tax credits for projects that pay union wages — was supposed to speed up the labor transition away from oil and gas. That hasn’t happened in deep-blue California, home to the country’s most ambitious climate policies — and most influential labor unions.

“We believe we’re still going to be working in the oil and gas space for the foreseeable future," said Chris Hannan, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, which represents nearly 500,000 members across dozens of local unions, from pipefitting to electrical work...

California has around 112,000 workers in fossil fuels, compared to 115,000 in the solar industry, according to the Energy Department. Those fossil fuel jobs pay around $30,000 more annually than solar, the highest paying clean energy sector, a union-commissioned report found.

***

Bye-ku for Doug Burgum

Obscure achiever.

He arrived on stage on four

And strides off on two.

--Anonymous

***

James Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival" and also the co-author of “Borrowed Time: Two Centuries of Booms, Busts and Bailouts at Citi."

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Follow James Freeman on Twitter.

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To suggest items, please email best@wsj.com.

(Lisa Rossi helps compile Best of the Web. Thanks to Gary Jarmin.)

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