Yes, It’s Still the Economy, Stupid

Swing voters dislike big spending. The GOP can’t focus only on the culture war.

Wonder Land: Teaching "systemic racism" was imposed on students, until politics pushed back. Images: AP/Everett Collection Composite: Mark Kelly

President Biden proposes a $6 trillion budget he claims “will strengthen our nation’s economy and improve our long-run fiscal health.” His acting Office of Management and Budget director, Shalanda Young, told reporters the budget seeks “robust, durable economic growth and broadly shared prosperity.” The numbers tell a different story, and voters seem to be taking notice.

The U.S. expects strong growth in the short term as the pandemic recedes and economic activity resumes. But even the OMB expects slower growth in the long run. It projects gross domestic product growth running slightly over 2% on average annually between fiscal 2022 and 2031, while the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office pegs growth at less than 2% on average over the same window. Either growth rate is anemic, making more “broadly shared prosperity” unlikely as well.

Yet Mr. Biden’s advisers seem to believe the dramatic spending increase will pay off at the polls next year. As White House senior adviser Mike Donilon wrote in a February memo, “voters are hurting—and they’re looking for leadership that comes forward with plans and solutions.”

It may be that raising federal spending turns out to be a winning formula for Democrats in 2022. Then again, it may not. Especially since Mr. Biden would hike taxes high enough to eat up more GDP than in any 10-year period in American history, to the American Action Forum’s Gordon Gray. The spending binge would also increase the nation’s public debt to 117% of GDP—greater than the previous record GDP percentage that Washington clocked in the year after World War II.

香蕉视频苹果下载Recent polling suggests the Democrats’ approach may not help them in the midterms. Forty-six percent of respondents to a said the president’s positions are “too liberal,” up from only 36% in December. The number who find his positions “too conservative” fell from 15% to 10%. Only 40% of respondents now think where Mr. Biden stands is “about right.”

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