Every president faces tests, Joe Biden more than many as he came into office during a global pandemic and had to hit the ground running to make up for lost time saving lives. While he was at it, he also managed to bake into the response concern for the working class with the Amerian Rescue Plan as well as the legacy shaping Infrastructure and Jobs Act and Inflation Reduction Act.
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President Biden faced the tests of a nation at war with a virus and came out on top in terms of job growth because of the choices he made and the way he handled the crises.
You won’t hear nearly as much about an economy that is working for The People as you did about the stock market and inflation before the midterms.
This failure to inform people about what is working is just as dangerous as the failure to hold power accountable, because the goal should be an informed electorate. How can people know how to vote or who is looking out for their interests if the media doesn’t center their interests and explain policies that are impacting them.
The media is supposed to be a guardian for the people. A guardian is “a defender, protector, or keeper.” A DEFENDER of the people should most certainly care when job numbers make history in a positive way.
The latest job numbers came out on Friday and were more affirmation that President Biden is overseeing incredible job growth. Outgoing Chief of Staff Ron Klain proudly shared, “More jobs created in two years, than in ANY President's four year term.”
This is the kind of thing all administrations push. But is it real? It turns out that this time, it is real. The unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 1969.
“Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 517,000 in January, and the unemployment rate changed little at 3.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.”
Even the New York Times is a little (relatively) breathless, “After several months of cooling, the economy added far more jobs than economists anticipated. The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since 1969.”
They even managed to squeeze out the begruding admission that “January’s job growth is a boost for Biden.”
My goodness. What’s next? Will this good news cover the front pages and be preached from on high TV screens around the country? Of course not.
While multiple intersecting factors are responsible for job numbers and some of the job growth can be attributed to pandemic recovery jobs, creating good paying jobs for people including those without a college degree has been a priority of Joe Biden’s throughout his career, and certainly as president.
This priority was baked into all of his administration’s policy pushes.
In his April 2021 address to a Joint Session of Congress, Biden stumped for his American Jobs Act, explaining that the jobs would pay well and "can't be outsourced," before adding that nearly 90% of them won't require a college degree.
"The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America.”
According to a Senate manufacturing report, as of October, 2022 we had added 696,000 manufacturing jobs in the 20 months since President Joe Biden came into office, whereas in the 20 months preceding the coronavirus pandemic, we had added just 92,000 manufacturing jobs.
Why does this matter if you’re not in manufacturing? Another way to look at building back the blue-collar work force is as an important protection for democracy itself. It’s easy to draw people in to conspiracies and propaganda when they’re scared about the future. Unemployment can play a role in temporary depression and is therefore creates a vulnerability ripe for the sort of psyops we continue to see from bad actors like the Russians.
“Any honest look at the data over the last 30 + years and it's pretty clear that it is only the Democratic Party that is good at this capitalism thing. Dems = growth, lower deficits progress Rs = recession, higher deficits, decline,” Simon Rosenberg wrote.
It should be noted that Rosenberg is the founder of a liberal think tank and advocacy group in D.C. But he does bring receipts.
Job growth is historically better under Democrats, he notes: “33.8m jobs = 16 yrs Clinton Obama 12.1m jobs = 2 yrs Biden 1.9m jobs = 16 yrs Bush Bush Trump 6 times more jobs created in 2 yrs under Biden then under last 3 GOP Presidents *COMBINED*.”
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To be fair, if we expand out, we see that job growth was pretty amazing under Reagan as well. But that was a long time ago and ended in January of 1989. Since Reagan left office, no Republican has come close to Democrats for job growth. So while it’s always tricky to ascribe job growth to a president’s policies and there are reasons to give the first part of an administration to the previous inhabitant, the numbers show that job growth has done better under Democrats than Republicans since Reagan left office in 1989, that is, for 34 years Democrats have significantly outperformed Republicans on job growth and of course, unemployment is better right now than it’s been in 53 years.
Here’s a chart from the Washington Post on a 2021 piece titled: “Trump will have the worst jobs record in modern U.S. history. It’s not just the pandemic” that shows Reagan’s history but also recent Republican presidents in the bottom portion of the chart:
Critics have pointed out that the job growth is benefiting from jobs coming back after the pandemic. And this is accurate. But Rosenberg points out that the U.S. is doing better than others:
Also, Factcheck for January 2023 writes “The economy added 10.7 million jobs under Biden, putting the total 1.2 million higher than before the pandemic.”
And those manufacturing jobs numbers were a comparison of Trump to Biden from before the pandemic for Trump.
The numbers back up the claims. So why don’t we hear about this huge success for the people on par with how we heard about inflation than this tepid “This will be a boost for Biden.”
Framing important economic numbers like this as political for the President isn’t ideal, because the most important thing is how is the economy impacting The People.
One aspect of the way financial news is framed in this country is that it is presented from the point of view of Biden’s political prospects, wealthy investors, big business, the stock market and earnings. This explanation from the Times is a bit of what I mean, “By raising interest rates — on Wednesday, Fed officials did so for the eighth time in a year — policymakers hope to force businesses to pull back on their spending, including hiring.”
If businesses should pull back on their spending, why don’t we focus on pushing them not to do stock buybacks instead of suggesting that hiring workers is the issue? Of course, paying workers is spending, but the entire frame is warped by late-stage capitalism.
Big Oil had another record year of profits. Exxon reported a $56 billion net profit in 2022. The industry as a whole set a record with $1 trillion in profits. “Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon and Shell all reported record profits in 2022… Global oil companies have rebounded since the pandemic to post their highest ever profits since people started using petroleum.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in floor remarks Thursday, “And what did oil companies do with this tsunami of cash?
They could have prioritized paying their workers better. They did not.
They could have made transformative investments in new clean tech and help push the frontier in clean energy, which we all know is coming, but they did not.
Or maybe best of all, they could have lowered gas prices, but they did not!
You know what the oil companies did? This is just as galling, galling! They rewarded shareholders by implementing stock buybacks, at near record levels.”
This is the important takeaway: We have normalized corporate greed while we continue to suggest that workers getting a raise or even a job is hampering the economy. Somehow our culture has so bought into the corporate line, to being simps for Big Business, that media seems to present news from the point of view of Big Money instead of from the point of view of The People.
That’s what we are trying to do here, at PoliticusUSA’s The Daily, with your help. We see our mission as being a voice for The People, not beholden to power in D.C. or Think Tanks or advertisers or a board. None of those entities need help being heard. It’s The People who are not being heard and the media is a big player in that formula that is working so well for the wealthy.
The populace deserve to be properly informed about matters that impact them. They deserve to know which policies are working for them, who is standing up for them, and who is not.
The Joe Biden economy is working for the people it was intended to help; those people whose jobs were being outsourced, people who used to have decent paying jobs without a college degree. This is what they mean when they say an economy built around Main Street instead of Wall Street, a tired line but nonetheless one that should be the goal for all elected politicians.
In the last 34 years, the economy has worked better for the people under a Democrat. Yet instead of an electorate that is informed of this salient point, we have an electorate that still views Republicans as the best stewards of the economy.
Again, this is not about partisan cheerleading; it’s about the media allowing a misled electorate due to an out of date “both-sides objectivity” that just so happens to consistently benefit the elite.