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Biden Bump

Ideas and Issues
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April 19, 2021

New Orleans               There’s an old saying: sometimes it’s better to be lucky, than good. I’m not saying that President Biden is no good, but without a doubt he’s also been blessed with good fortune recently. The love affair from the press and others won’t last, but it’s nice to swim in a sea of positivity for a minute after being washed in such a shower of bile over recent years. Joe Biden, the next Roosevelt in the progressive pantheon, who would have ever guessed, but, darned, bring it on!

There’s no question on any front that President Trump mishandled the pandemic and managed to top his incompetence in the face of such a disaster by constantly lying about its impact and the human tragedy involved. Nonetheless, if location, location, location is everything in merchandising, then perhaps timing, timing, timing is everything in politics. Trump couldn’t bully the science to compress the rollout of a vaccine before the 2020 election, but having not one, two, but three critical vaccines all coming forward in record speeds at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, as Biden was inaugurated, was a huge break.           Amazingly, Trump didn’t bother to tout the first shots or rollup his sleeve, another big boo-boo, but Biden scored extra points by continually moving up the delivery schedule for vaccine access for all Americans, bringing the ball to the goal within his first hundred days and hitting the 50% vaccinated mark at the same time. That’s both good and lucky!

Yes, it’s more than the economy, stupid, but the economy certainly matters, and here the vaccine chicken is laying a golden economic egg for Biden and his administration. Given the successful rollout, economists are now predicting output will exceed pre-pandemic levels this year by 4%. Job growth in the reopening should pass seven million new hires by the end of 2021, and reduce unemployment to 1.6% lower than the last quarter of 2019 before the pandemic hit with full force. They expect there will be more jobs than people willing at first to take them, and that may mean that workers –and their unions – can demand higher wages as well. I can hear feet hitting the floor for the happy dance now!

Fair is fair. It’s certainly not all luck. Winning the Senate by a hair made a difference. An almost two trillion-dollar stimulus puts a rocket booster behind the economic recovery and money in a lot of pockets and smiles on their faces. Expanding the safety net, reopening the window for the affordable care marketplace, taking the climate seriously, and on and on – that’s all good work and credit is due. Being both good and lucky is the real trick though, and good luck and timing are hard to beat. Biden for now is riding high on that wave and his polling popularity numbers reflect both as well. This isn’t a Twitter-storm at his back, but a nice spring breeze that all of us seem to be feeling.