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The US economy needs Joe Biden

by Edmund Phelps Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 at 4:12 PM

The economic and socio-political record of US President Donald Trump is devastating. Wages stagnated even before the Corona crisis. Instead, the national debt increased because he lowered taxes for the rich - without any economic benefit. Joe Biden knows the reasons for the misery and knows what to do.

The US economy needs Joe Biden

The economic and socio-political record of US President Donald Trump is devastating. Wages stagnated even before the Corona crisis. Instead, the national debt increased because he lowered taxes for the rich - without any economic benefit. Joe Biden knows the reasons for the misery and knows what to do.

by Edmund Phelps

[This article published on 10/7/2020 is translated from the German on the Internet,]

Commentators in the US and elsewhere have found many reasons to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in November. But hardly anyone is interested in the economic dimension of the election. If at all, few, if any, economists who have spoken on this issue have mentioned the direct impact of the election results on people's well-being. However, the economy is an important area in which people hope for personal development and success. It is by no means only about money.

Trump has failed in economic policy

The economic argument for Biden starts with the economic argument against US President Donald Trump. Think how costly Trump's reduction of corporate taxes was. Contrary to his promises, this has neither led to growth nor brought investment. Rather, the primary effect was that budget deficits increased in the first three years of his presidency.

Trump's indifference to this budgetary waste has set a precedent for unnecessary deficits by future governments. Admittedly, the recently accumulated deficit was unavoidable and, under the given circumstances, beneficial in the fight against the pandemic. Trump's constant threats to American companies have created new uncertainty in investment and trade decisions.

He is practicing Mussolini's doctrine of corporatism: the government is the puppet mastermind and puppet companies are hanging by their thread. Such economic policies inhibit entrepreneurship and innovation at a time when they are urgently needed. Trump's completely inappropriate crusade to reduce the harmless trade deficit has also caused world trade to shrink, worsening the efficiency of resource allocation in the United States and elsewhere.

The democrat Joe Biden wants to stand up for the disadvantaged, for workers* and the middle class. He also tries to win over the trade unions, as here in a town hall discussion with members of the transport workers' union ATU.

His populist rhetoric has not resulted in higher pay for disadvantaged workers or victims of discrimination. He has sought to erase any sense of economic justice. He cares neither about the appallingly low wages of the people at the bottom of the scale nor about their standard of living. He has done nothing against the statistically clear discrimination of minorities, women or LGBT+. With his measures to restrict Barack Obama's health insurance law, the Affordable Care Act, he has hit people with low incomes particularly hard.

Trump's attack on the children of illegal immigrants is particularly threatening

Trump's insistence that climate change is a hoax threatens the global economy and the planet's ability to survive. He says the forest fires raging in the American West are the result of poor "forest management. He has belittled the heroism and sacrifice of American soldiers and shows no appreciation or understanding that the economy needs people's heroism to invent something new and take the risk of investing in its development and market entry.

By attacking institutions from the FBI to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Trump is undermining the structure of government. He has alienated American allies through senseless trade barriers that lead to trade wars. Through his admiration for dictators and authoritarian leaders, he is helping to establish a 21st century fascism. And his constant lies as president undermine the trust of citizens* in his government.

There are other monstrosities, but they are too numerous to list them all. Especially bad was his attempt to abolish the so-called DACA program. This decree by President Obama protects children of illegal immigrants who grew up and went to school in America, limited to two years before deportation. However, the time limit can be extended again and again by two years. Another monstrosity is his tactic of stirring up fear of reprisals and arrest. As a result, a climate of fear and mistrust now increasingly prevails among immigrants.

Young people protest in the streets and hold up signs saying, among other things: Let the Dreamers dream!

The youths grew up in America and do not know the home of their parents who once immigrated illegally. Trump nevertheless prefers to deport them - to the detriment of the people and the economy that urgently needs them.

For these and other reasons, many people today support Joe Biden. Trump stands in the way of the nation's efforts to regain a sense of new beginnings, justice and social harmony. It is not clear, however, that he will be voted out of office for these reasons alone. Many Americans still fear a government that serves various socially disadvantaged groups without giving a thought to key issues such as economic growth and job satisfaction.

Biden would strengthen the economy and address social inequality

However, there are also positive arguments for supporting Biden. First of all, Biden understands that there is still a devastating discrepancy between the wages of the severely disadvantaged and those of the middle class in America - a few payments to single mothers, for example, will not change this. Biden, who himself grew up in the steel region of Pennsylvania, can hardly be blind to the hardships and concerns of low-wage workers. Thus, if elected, the United States would have a president who would favor legislative initiatives to subsidize the meager wages of these workers.

Biden is also aware of the existential threat posed by the ongoing climate change. We face a huge number of problems such as the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting increase in carbon dioxide emissions and temperatures. In order to slow down climate change, we need state intervention and international cooperation, as set out in the Paris Climate Change Agreement of 2015, from which the USA has pulled out under Trump. There is no doubt that if elected president, Biden would strive to play a central role in resuming the fight against global warming.

After all, Americans have been living with the de facto stagnation of the economy since the early 1970s, interrupted by a decade of the information revolution. This persistent plight is the reason for the growing frustration of wage earners with their poor position in the wage distribution-a feeling that has been responsible more than anything else for Trump's rise. There is no question that a President Biden-unlike President Trump-wants to restore the economy to its former glory.

For all these reasons, it is crucial that people vote for Biden and Harris. Trump has seriously weakened the nation's economy, while Biden has shown over the course of his life that he cares about people's hopes for prosperity and a fulfilled life, indeed for the realization of the famous American dream.

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