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Biden's Hype or Voters' Reality

'Real' State of the Economy

"The Emperor's New Clothes" is a story that warns people about believing what they have been told, or led to believe, rather than trusting their own eyes.

In many ways this fable sums up what Americans are facing just five months from an historic election. Many voters are seeing a disconnect between Biden's upbeat reports about the economy and their everyday, lived experiences.

Biden claims inflation has tempered and touts the lowest unemployment rate in decades, as well as a booming stock market. But for many everyday Americans, struggling to put food on the table and gas in their cars, what he is saying does not ring true.

“When I see how expensive groceries have become, do I say, ‘Yeah, but the unemployment rate is low’? Of course not. It doesn't matter to most of us.” — online commenter

The disconnect has become so pronounced, economists have a name for it — "vibecession." The idea behind the term is that Americans are basing their economic views on feelings, i.e., vibrations, rather than official government statistics.

As one source explains it, "Essentially, we [Americans] don’t feel like the economy is doing better, but on paper, it really is." 

Who or What to Believe

Democrat pundits, unable to account for why the Biden economy isn't more appreciated — or translating into higher poll numbers — are finding the phenomenon of vibecession a convenient scapegoat.

But many aren't buying it and are looking for down-to-earth, tangible explanations.

A recent study conducted by the Swing State Project finds that Biden's yardsticks for a healthy economy aren't the ones voters understand or appreciate.

The bipartisan study, surveying almost 4,000 voters, found that a majority (54%) said the cost of living is the best way to measure the strength of the economy.

A few (6%) picked the stock market, only 13% picked low unemployment (and just 9% chose household income.)

Over half of the voters think inflation is the “worst/weakest” part of the economy.

"Guess us dumb deplorables have no idea how good we have it." — online commenter

Even a recent government study, released by the Federal Reserve Board, is not painting an entirely rosy picture of Biden's economy.

According to a survey released last week on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, "[M]any adults continued to indicate that higher prices were a challenge in managing their finances."

The survey found the situation is worse for parents, as fewer American parents are doing "okay" financially.

"The share of parents doing at least okay financially fell to 64 percent in 2023, down 5 percentage points from the prior year and down 11 percentage points from 2021," according to the report.

All respondents (parents and not parents) were doing slightly less bad with about 72% saying they were doing all right financially in 2023, despite being down slightly from the previous year.

Nobody real cares about Wall Street or Fed figures. People vote based on what's in their pocket — and in their fridge. And no matter how much the lamestream media tries to convince them to stop believing their lying eyes, in the long term, the fridge will win out over the TV. — online commenter

The American Spectator, in an article called "It's the Cost of Living, Stupid!", summed up "the disconnect" in this way:

When Americans go to the grocery store, they don’t think about the unemployment rate, the stock market ... They think about how much more everything costs than it did when Biden was inaugurated.
This is particularly true of working class Americans for whom a larger share of their income is dedicated to basic necessities. This is why they are far less enchanted with Biden and the Democrats than they were four years ago.

The disconnect between Biden's glowing economic numbers and ordinary Americans' dwindling resources reflect the larger, deepening divide between haves and have not's.

If they continue to insult the intelligence of these voters by insisting that there is no cost-of-living crisis, they risk a defeat that cannot be overcome by any amount of ballot harvesting or innovative vote-counting. The margin will indeed be “too big to rig.” — David Catron, author of "It's the Cost of Living, Stupid!"

Like the little boy in the fairy tale who shouts, "Look! The emperor has no clothes," more voters are seeing through Biden's hype and propaganda intended to sway their votes his way come November.

They know their economic struggles are real, not merely "vibrations,"` and are tired of being told their problems are an illusion.

Dr. Barbara Toth has a doctorate in rhetoric and composition from Bowling Green State University. She has taught at universities in the US, China and Saudi Arabia. Her work in setting up a writing center at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahmen University, an all-women's university in Riyadh, has been cited in American journals. Toth has published academic and non-academic articles and poems internationally.

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Well, I've read that chocolate production has increased again, and razor blades can be found if you ask around....

In reality, I haven't bought beer since the price went to $40 a case (about two years now); fagettaba-dit. At least the rations for Victory Gin are still holding out. It's either that, or visiting the weed shops that are popping-up EVERYWHERE.

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