Analysis: Biden sees a booming economy, but not many Americans

The president has painted a forked image of the economy in recent weeks in speeches and press releases. He promotes what he calls historic progress on several measures. But he quickly turns to recognition of the sticker shock families have experienced at the grocery store, gas pump, and various online shopping sites.

“Economic growth is stronger here than virtually any other country,” Biden said Friday. “Americans have more money in their pockets than at this time last year – $ 100 more each month than last year – even after accounting for price increases. But we need to bring prices and costs down before consumers feel confident about this recovery. This is one of the main objectives of my administration.

While Mr Biden’s comments are addressed largely to voters, they have a unique target audience in Congress: West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin III, a centrist Democrat, who has cited inflation as a reason not to support a collection of $ 2.2 trillion in spending programs and tax cuts that Mr. Biden is trying to push through Congress by the end of the year, undermining the prospects of the bill.

Mr Biden will need all Senate Democrats to support the measure for it to pass. Manchin has reiterated in recent days his fears that spending in the bill, which includes initiatives to tackle climate change and invest in children, parents and workers, will further exacerbate price increases. – a claim that administration officials and Mr Biden are unfounded, Mr Biden said on Friday he would meet with Mr Manchin next week.

Republicans have used inflation as a club against the bill and Mr. Biden’s popularity. “There would never be a good time to get past the tax madness and reckless spending of Democrats,” West Virginia Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito said Friday, “but these inflation numbers indicate that it is Now is the worst time for Democrats to do just that.

Many liberal groups fear the messages will hamper Biden’s agenda, which would address a wide range of long-standing progressive priorities. These groups have urged Biden to blame the rising costs not on his policies, but on the big companies they say are leveraging their market power to raise prices and increase profits. Democratic lawmakers, including Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has begun try to make this case.

The US economy gives big business the power “to raise prices on the backs of workers and consumers,” said Rakeen Mabud, general manager of policy and research at Groundwork Collaborative, a progressive advocacy group in Washington. . “This is exactly what we are seeing now. And that is exactly why this inflation scare campaign is proving so effective.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reports.

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