Post # 195, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary
Without Bi-Partisan Support, Biden's achievements with the Pandemic, Returning Troops, Infrastructure, parts of the Economy and Re-engaging NATO are Better Than Expected. But his real test is next year's election.
President Donald Trump often bragged about what he thought was his extraordinary ability to make money--for himself and as President, for Americans. I am not sure about how much of his individual wealth was of his own doing--or his father, or as alleged, through corrupt conduct. But his record as President is different. The stock market, although just one of the indicators, did rise dramatically during most of the Trump Presidency. Then Covid-19 hit and the market, employment, and the country's economic momentum tanked. Trump said then that the whole mess was engineered by the Democrats, who Trump said were determined to embarrass him. I admit that is an expected and somewhat logical response from him.
So, maybe we should move on to our current President, Joe Biden, who is about to complete his first full year in office. I am one of many that has pointed out that although broadly liked in the Congress, Biden was not considered a great leader with decisive and inquisitive thought. Said another way, not much was expected from his Presidency, but after the Trump chaos, not much was needed. So let's look at Biden's record after year 1, with an emphasis on economics which are quantitatively measurable.
Year 1 President Joe Biden
531,000 record new jobs were added, driving unemployment down to 4.6%.
36,000+ Dow Jones Industrial Average (Trump's last day it was 31,188).
American Troops are out of Afghanistan' 20 year war.
Approximately 75% of America is vaccinated against Covid-19.
Booster shots and pills have been produced against Covid-19.
The Congress passed a bi-partisan record Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Bill.
America is back in a leadership role with NATO and Climate Change.
Many Democrats and some Republicans are relieved that President Biden has not set records playing golf and tweeting daily (if at all), as did his predecessor. Further, America is no longer honoring the work of Russia and Vladimir Putin ahead of our long time NATO allies. So with a low bar to overcome, Biden has improved on much of what Trump delivered as President.
Critics might say that Trump's work just inured to Biden's benefit. That is hard to argue as Trump was of no help during the transition of the new Administration. Trump led the remaining members of Congress to abandon any bi-partisanship support of Biden proposals. But perhaps Trump's involvement in the January 6th insurrection closes any possible honorable credit for the work of his Administration.
Both Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have tried to attack Biden for his attempt to mandate vaccinations in the public sector and large employers in the private sector. They have tried to weave their attack around an over-reach of government removing individual freedom to choose. Normally that would be a sound argument, but since the Delta version of Covid-19 is a deadly contagious disease, granting the vaccine as optional only exposes others to possible death. That point has never been answered by Trump, DeSantis or Anti-Vaxers.
In fairness, there is growing concern about Biden's management of the economy. Not only has Covid-19 left employers short of qualified employees, but the backlog of inventory at our ports is showing up in rising inflation numbers. The latest report is inflation at 6.2%, the highest rise in almost 30 years. And I have railed about Biden's disregard for his unethical practice of nepotism with his family.
So in sum, the first year of President Biden has been better than expected, but without some modicum of support from the Republicans, will probably not improve much next year. But 2022 brings the mid term elections and that will largely dictate the level of cooperation we have in the Congress and the Country for the rest of Biden's first term.
2022 will be a slow slog for our country unless real leadership surfaces.