After one year in office Joe Biden by the numbers.
Written by William Stroock, observer, author of military fiction.
A year into his administration, Joe Biden’s Covid, economic and polling numbers are grim and his legislative agenda is stalled.
During the first half of 2021, Biden enjoyed decent approval ratings. On August 1st Biden’s Real Clear Politics poll of polls had Biden’s approval at 51.3%. The Afghanistan fiasco later in August caused a crisis in confidence among Americans and crashed Biden’s approval ratings. Those ratings have fallen steadily since, and show no signs of improving. A poll taken this week by the Associated Press gives Biden an approval rating of 43%. Another poll this week by Rasmussen Reports has Biden’s approval rating still lower at 40%. Overall Biden’s approval rating stands at 40.9% in the Real Clear Politics poll of polls. An Economist/YouGov Poll shows that 64% of Americans believe America is on the wrong track. And with good reason.
Yearly inflation was up more than 7% in 2021. Housing costs were up 4.1% over 2020, food costs were up by 6.3% over 2020, and energy rose a whopping 29% over 2020. America has not seen inflation numbers like this since the great recession of 1982, when the Reagan Administration was curtailing the money supply after the Keynesian economics of the 1970s. Of course that recession led to unprecedented economic growth throughout the rest of the decade. On the plus side for Biden, the unemployment rate at the end of 2021 fell to 3.9%. But extended unemployment benefits plus outright state and federal payouts have discouraged people from going back to work. 10.6 million jobs remained open at the end of 2021 as millions have dropped out of the workforce. While inflation rises, wages fall, by an average of 2.4% in 2021.
While Biden said he would ‘shut down the virus’ Covid-19 continues to infect hundreds of thousands of people across the United States every day. In fact, more people have died from Covid in the year since Biden took office (443,612) than died under Trump (424,401) as of this writing. The pandemic has only grown worse with the Omicron variant, which has cut a swath of sickness across the nation. In response, the Biden Administration doesn’t seem to know what to do. The president and surrogates across the government insist over and over again that Americans should wear masks and get vaccinated and tested for the virus. But the administration rejected plans to acquire hundreds of millions of tests last autumn. Now they’re scrambling to get tests out to Americans. This week a new website where Americans could obtain at-home tests went live. Those tests ship 7-12 days after ordering.
Last Autumn Biden imposed a mask mandate through the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) on companies employing more than one hundred people. In response a conservative news and entertainment company, The Daily Wire, sued the Biden administration and litigated the case all the way to the Supreme Court. This week the court overturned the OSHA mandate by a vote of 6-3. Previously the court had overturned the Center for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium 6-3, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s worship restrictions 5-4. This latest ruling was not a surprise.
Biden does have a few legislative successes. These are last spring’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill, which included extension of jobless benefits, health insurance subsidies, and sent as much as $1,400 to eligible persons, among other provisions. Congress also passed the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill last November with 19 Republican votes in the senate. This bill includes tens of billion for road, bridge, tunnel, port and airport construction. The rest of Biden’s agenda is blocked by an intransigent GOP.
Last Wednesday Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer tried to break the deadlock. Schumer attempted to bring to the senate floor a voting bill that would have federalized elections. Parliamentary procedure dictates the senate must first agree to end debate and bring the bill to the floor. Sixty votes are needed to do so. What happened next was predictable. The Senate voted 51-49 to end debate. The voting bill was thus filibustered. Senator Schumer then tried to change the filibuster rules so that a mere majority could end a filibuster. Only 50 senators plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie breaking vote are needed to change the rules. Schumer’s attempt to nuke the filibuster failed as Senator Krysten Sinema (D, Arizona) and Joe Manchin (D, West Virginia) voted against the motion to change the rules – as they had said they would do for months. Just that afternoon Manchin took to the Senate floor and reiterated yet again that he would not vote to abolish the filibuster. ‘Let this change happen in this way and the Senate will be a body without rules,’ Manchin told his colleagues. Schumer didn’t listen and the Democrats have nothing to show after months of political wrangling.