Gearing up for his 2024 reelection bid, U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday touted his "Bidenomics" agenda, contrasting his vision to build the economy "from the bottom up and the middle out" with that of so-called MAGA Republicans who support former President Donald Trump's Make America Great Again agenda.
Biden defended his administration's signature pieces of legislation against their attacks, including his 2022 climate and energy law known as the Inflation Reduction Act and his 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as well as the Obama-era Affordable Care Act that expanded access to health insurance.
"The speaker [of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson], Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans in Congress are committed to protecting outrageous tax cuts for those at the very top," said Biden, in remarks at CS Wind, the world's largest wind tower manufacturer, in Pueblo, Colorado. "And they're going to continue to oppose investing in all those programs that help people whether in education, health care, or whateverl".
CS Wind is expanding with a new $200 million facility that it directly attributes to the Inflation Reduction Act. The company said the expansion is set to be completed in 2028 and will create 850 jobs.
"When I hear climate, I think jobs," Biden said. "Instead of exporting jobs, companies, both foreign and domestic are creating jobs here in America and exporting American made products."
Pueblo is in a congressional district represented by Lauren Boebert, a Trump supporter and harsh critic of Biden's economic policies. She voted against passing the IRA, calling it "dangerous for America."
"I am very proud of the work that CS Winds is doing there in Pueblo and the jobs that they're creating," Boebert said during an interview Tuesday with local TV station KKTV. "But as I stated, this will cost the taxpayers overall from the Inflation Reduction Act hundreds of billions of dollars. This bill was a complete scam."
In his remarks, Biden took jabs against the congresswoman, dismissing her criticism that the IRA is a "massive failure" as her "massive failure in thinking." Boebert and her Republican colleagues voted against "the law that made these investments in jobs possible," he said.
Since Biden took office, companies have announced $7 billion in new manufacturing and clean energy investments in Colorado, the White House said in a statement.
Economy a top concern
With many voters saying the economy is a top concern in the 2024 election, the White House has been ramping up messaging to contrast the president's vision against what he calls Republican's "trickle-down economics" — the theory that tax breaks and benefits for corporations and the wealthy will eventually benefit everyone.
They insist that Biden's policies have steered the country away from recession, highlighting positive economic growth, a declining rate of inflation, and continued low unemployment.
Many economists agree Biden's policies have been successful at the macro level. Yet there is a disconnect with how Americans feel within their households. Only 32% of Americans polled approve of Biden's handling of the economy, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday. His overall approval rating stood at 37%.
Republicans eager to capitalize
"For millions of families, 'Bidenomics' is just code for higher prices, shrinking paychecks, and lower quality of life," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Wednesday. "The White House seems to be counting on middle class families to forget about the 40-year-high inflation their spending binge helped create. They want the country to set aside that average food prices have risen 20% since President Biden took office."
After a two-year period of the highest inflation in decades, U.S. inflation is slowing and is lower than in comparable economies in Europe. However, Americans still feel the pain from prices that are still higher than they were four years ago. They're also finding it difficult to find affordable credit, as the Federal Reserve imposes higher interest rates to fight inflation.
"The American public are just feeling a little grumpy still," said William Hoagland a senior vice president who focuses on economic policy analyses at the Bipartisan Policy Center. "They haven't fully recovered from what was really a dire situation during COVID — high inflation, job insecurity."
Republican presidential candidates have for the most part campaigned on reducing taxes, spending and regulations. Biden has accused them of planning to cut taxes for the wealthy and reduce benefits from popular government programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.