Biden wants to blame debt crisis on this group but can't avoid his own economic incompetence

Debt battle scares Democrats, Biden because of fears president will take the blame

President Biden says Republicans want to tank the debt-ceiling talks because they know a default would bring down the economy and hurt his re-election bid. He is wrong, for three reasons: 

  1. The economy is already barreling towards recession, regardless of the debt-limit debate;
  2. Biden’s re-election hopes are dim, independent of the economic outlook;
  3. Biden has it backwards. He knows a recession looms, thanks to his reckless spending, and hopes to pin it on the GOP. Hence, the scary talk from Treasury Secretary Yellen about the catastrophic impact of default.


Biden is being dishonest with the American people. When the Conference Board puts the odds of a recession over the next 12 months at 99%, a position the pre-dates the debt ceiling debate, you can bet a downturn is coming.  


President Joe Biden is trying to lay the debt-crisis blame on Republicans, despite his own big-spending decisions. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

After assuming the Oval Office, President Joe Biden and his Democrat colleagues blew out trillions of dollars in unnecessary spending (long past the COVID-19 emergency), igniting an overheated economy and rampant inflation. Fed Chair Jay Powell let the embers smolder far too long, worried that raising interest rates might cost him his reappointment bid. Finally, in March 2022, he initiated one of the most aggressive rate hiking cycles in our country’s history. 

Changes in monetary policy impact the economy with a 12- to 18-month lag; we are now seeing the fall-out from 10 rate increases. Generally, interest-rate sensitive industries like housing are hit first and, sure enough, housing starts and permits are now down substantially from last year.  

In addition to housing, jacking up interest rates has led to the failures of three large U.S. banks, which has cast a shadow over credit. Solvent banks are lending more cautiously, anxious about unrealized losses on their balance sheets and deposit outflows. That slows economic growth. 

Another fallout from rapid interest rate hikes is that stock and bond markets sold off sharply last year. The S&P 500 was down nearly 20% and the bond market suffered one of the worst years ever. Financial losses impact consumer sentiment, which has tumd Hyman, Wall Street’s top-ranked economist, is now predicting a "hard landing" recession in coming months, with unemployment soaring to 5.2% by this time next year. Hyman, like others, was shocked the Federal Reserve raised rates at their last meeting, even as large regional banks were tottering. Never before during a financial crisis has the Fed continued to tighten, making conditions even more difficult. 

If Hyman and the majority of his peers are correct, we are on the cusp of a downturn. So far, such forecasts have been premature. A robust jobs market and excess savings piled up during the pandemic provided the economy a cushion, and Americans have continued to spend.  

But some softening of the jobs market and declining savings suggest the consumer may soon retrench. Indeed, a year-over-year drop in credit card spending in recent weeks signals a slowdown. 

Biden is right to worry about a downturn, and to imagine he’ll take the blame. As Democratic strategist James Carville so famously said, "It’s the economy, stupid." Voters connect the dots between too much government spending and inflation; they will hold the president accountable.  
Janet Yellen

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned about a potential crisis if the debt ceiling is not raised. (Tom Williams)

But that’s far from his only problem. His age is a major concern to voters, and he recently made history by earning the lowest approval ratings ever recorded for a first-term president. Voters give him low marks not only on the economy, but also on immigration, crime, foreign policy and a host of other issues, like honesty. His repeated bogus claims that he is lowering inflation or reducing the deficit have undermined his credibility.  

When in the most recent Real Clear Politics average, 66% of the country think we’re on the wrong track, it’s obvious Biden’s campaign is in jeopardy. Several polls show Biden losing in a head-to-head matchup to Donald Trump, who also earns remarkably low approval ratings. Given the ongoing vilification of the former president, that the contest is even close is remarkable. 

No, a recession would obviously be bad news for the president, but the economy is only one of many undertows for this White House. Indeed, one looming problem is our nation’s deficits and debt. Voters understand that the United States suffered an emergency because of COVID-19; they were patient with the trillions of dollars spent to keep the economy from buckling during the lockdowns. But now they want our finances brought under control. 

Republicans in the House

 are trying to do just that. They have proposed that in exchange for raising the debt ceiling we should undertake some modest reforms – which leftists like Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders find unconscionable but that most Americans would find reasonable.  

Ed Hyman, Wall Street’s top-ranked economist, is now predicting a "hard landing" recession in coming months, with unemployment soaring to 5.2% by this time next year. 


The GOP bill would return the government’s discretionary spending to fiscal year 2022 levels and cap annual spending growth at 1% for a decade. Given the extraordinary spend-a-thon of recent years, which totaled more in today’s dollars than the U.S. spent fighting World War II, that seems a good starting point.  

Note that deficits over the next decade without the GOP proposed cuts total $21 trillion, an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office that is doubtless conservative.  

Biden appears eager for a showdown over the debt ceiling, likely hoping he can blame the looming recession on the GOP push to cut spending. He and his Democrat colleagues denounced the GOP plan as the work of "extreme MAGA Republicans," as if the Limit, Save, Grow Act had been concocted in the bowels of the Capitol Building on January 6. In fact, nearly all GOP House members voted in favor of the bill.  

Joe Biden’s stutter-step approach to negotiating the debt issue, refusing to sit down and then making concessions and now reversing his position creates uncertainty, which is not helpful for investors or the economy. But as to creating the conditions for a recession or trashing his reelection bid, Biden is doing just fine, all on his own. 

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