Biden Hasn’t Helped the Economy. He’s Made It Worse.

To President Joe Biden’s credit, his policies didn’t cause many of the economic problems we face today. But they did make them worse. Even more troubling, his policies might reduce growth in the future and make the economy less equal and resilient.

The president normally doesn’t have much impact on the current economy; he doesn’t set energy or asset prices. But this administration has been especially productive when it comes to economic policy making, and most of those policies were bad for the economy. A healthy economy is growing; has low, stable inflation; is resilient to shocks; is able to create and adapt to new technology; and has some degree of equity among its constituents. Biden’s policies undermine all of these things.

Biden insists the economy is strong, and to some extent that’s true: Unemployment is low and household balance sheets are still in good shape. But inflation is high, GDP numbers are weak, a recession is looming, wages after inflation are falling and so is the stock market. Biden didn’t cause inflation — that was the result of supply constraints from the pandemic, loose monetary policy and the Trump-era stimulus bills. But then, just as the economy was starting to recover, the 2021 American Rescue Plan came along and made inflation even worse.

Economists estimate it was way too large and may have added from 2 to 4 percentage points to inflation. Coming on top of trillions of dollars in relief spending by the previous administration, the American Rescue Plan was excessive, in part, because it gave generous benefits to families who didn’t need it — middle- and upper-middle-class families who made six figures got checks. This may have been politically popular at the time, but the inflation it caused is harder on low earners who are more price-sensitive and will experience more harm during any recession caused by the efforts to fight inflation.