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To the editor:
An unpopular president sitting at 44 percent approval at the end of his second year in office. Stubbornly high inflation around 8 percent. A country mired in a recession. The Fed raising interest rates making borrowing more and more expensive. And, high unemployment.
What I am talking about? 1982, of course, when Ronald Reagan was in office.
While the first two metrics above, 44 percent approval and 8 percent inflation, almost exactly match Joe Biden’s presidency to date, the rest DO NOT. Despite GOP hyperbole, we are not in a recession; GPD has grown in all but two quarters since Biden took office.
In contrast, by late 1982 the country was a year and a half into its worst recession since 1929. Also, while the Fed has raised lending rates to 3.75 percent today, it is well below the 9.75 percent rate at this time in 1982. As for unemployment, it isn’t even close; today’s 3.7 percent unemployment is less than half the post-WWII record high 10.8 percent level seen in late 1982 under “Saint Ronnie.” The 2022/1982 comparison reminds me of a Charles Dickens’ opening line “It was the best of times (Biden), it was the worst of times (Reagan).”
This may explain why Democrats did so well in the midterm elections despite an 80-year history over which the party holding the White House lost an average of 32.4 congressional seats. However, Biden’s competence isn’t the only factor explaining the midterm outcome. Running MAGA candidates and an out of touch Supreme Court also stunted what should have been a Red Wave, as did the lack of a GOP vision and an electorate that actually cares about democracy.
We will now see just how dysfunctional the GOP is as Kevin McCarthy tries to lead his fractured conference over the next two years.
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