Bidenomics vs Bidenflation: Why the economy is a big issue in battleground Wisconsin

Political Reporter Charles Benson talked with Senior Advisors to Pres. Biden who see progress in the economy while the GOP sees problems.
Posted at 12:26 PM, Apr 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-22 13:26:40-04

The biggest domestic challenge facing President Biden in this election year is the economy — especially inflation.

However, the people at the White House who advise the president every week, believe infrastructure investments and the Inflation Reduction Act are working to grow the economy and create a strong jobs market.

The perspectives from the current and former presidents could not be more opposite.

President Biden believes the economy is moving in the right direction. "We're gonna keep making the case for the second term by lowering the cost and creating more jobs," Biden said.

Former President Trump says we are going in the wrong direction. "We are going to win the White House and we are going to save our country."

What voters say — especially in Wisconsin — could determine who wins the White House.

In the recent Marquette Law School Poll the economy was the number one issue with 52% saying Trump would be better. That's a problem for Biden.

Gene Sperling, a senior advisor to the President knows there's still work to be done — but he also sees positive signs.

"Inflation is 3.5% by one measure 2.5%. That's a lot of progress. It's not good enough. We know grocery prices have been flat for two years," said Sperling. "But people still see products that are higher than they were a few years ago. So the fact that we're making progress doesn't mean we're satisfied."

Unemployment is near historic lows. Wisconsin added nearly 24,000 jobs over the last year with a 3% unemployment rate — almost a full percentage below the national average and similar to rates during Trump's time in office before COVID-19.

However, higher costs and higher interest rates are hurting consumers. The Biden Administration says big investments in roads, bridges, and broadband, plus efforts around student loan forgiveness and lowering prescription drug costs are helping.

Benson: Is the government doing too much, especially when it comes to spend, spend? What do you say to the critics?
Bernstein: We don't think of the government as a tool to help the economy, so much. We think of government as a tool to make sure that everybody in the economy is getting their fair share. If you're helping to bake the economic pie, you ought to get a fair slice. That's Bidenomics 101."

Republicans call it Bidenflation.

State GOP Chair Brian Schimming posted on X Biden's policies, "driving prices up 19.4% since he took office, #inflation now spiking for 3rd month straight, has been at or above 3% for 36 straight months."

Trump supporters point to his signature Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as an economic win. It also added nearly two trillion dollars to the national debt.

By the time the 2024 election year is over Republicans and Democrats will be able to call Wisconsin their home away from home.

But the messaging at the White House is that Wisconsin will likely see high-level people from the Biden Administration in the Badger state almost every week - including Monday with Vice President Harris in La Crosse. Her third visit to the battleground state this year.

See more of our interview with Gene Sperling:

Interview with Gene Sperling

See more of our interview with Jared Bernstein:

Interview with Jared Bernstein