'It's Worked Before': Biden Defends Economic Agenda In Chicago Speech

The White House struggles to sell 'Bidenomics' ahead of the 2024 election

President Joe Biden (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images).
June 28, 2023

President Joe Biden outlined his vision for the U.S. economy on Wednesday in a much-hyped speech about "Bidenomics."

In an afternoon speech to supporters in Chicago, Biden celebrated the nation’s "fundamental break from the economic theory that’s failed the middle class." "Bidenomics," he said, would strengthen the middle class and raise wages through favorable treatment for organized labor, a large expansion of welfare, tax credits for green industries such as solar panel manufacturers, and higher taxes on the wealthy.

"Bidenomics is about the future. Bidenomics is just another way of saying ‘restore the American dream.’ Because it’s worked before," he said.

This message has proven to be a tough sell to the public so far. The inflation rate sits at just over 4 percent, roughly double what the Federal Reserve and most economics consider healthy. Biden’s approval rating is also at a nadir, with a plurality of voters consistently citing the economy as their biggest concern. Economists told the Washington Free Beacon that most of the economic gains the White House is touting have little to do with Biden’s agenda.

But the president’s speech suggests the White House will not divert from their policies in the lead-up to 2024. The president is banking on the hope that voters will change their opinions about the state of the economy after hearing about his legislative accomplishments over the last two years.

The White House previewed Biden’s remarks Monday in a memo circulated to the press. "Bidenomics," the memo states, "is both a winning economic strategy that is delivering results, and an approach that is strongly supported by the vast majority of the American people." "Bidenomics" is intended to be a clear alternative to more conservative and traditional economic theories.

Biden touted the various new spending initiatives, which total more than $4 trillion, passed since he took office. Bills such as the Inflation Reduction Act, Biden explained, are examples of the three pillars of "Bidenomics."

"First, making smart investments in America. Second, educating and empowering American workers to grow the middle class," Biden said. "And third, promoting competition to lower costs and help small businesses."

Some economists are skeptical that Biden’s policies have contributed to the nation’s post-COVID 19 economic recovery. His $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that passed in March 2021, they believe, is partially responsible for the high inflation rate that has translated into workers taking home less pay each month since he took office.