As Homeownership Costs Soar and Inflation Persists, Americans Sour on Biden’s Economy
President Joe Biden turned 81 years old on Monday, and he was greeted with the lowest approval rating ever recorded by NBC News at 40%. While a large part of the number is due to Democrats’ disapproval of Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict, it’s also likely a reflection of an economy that continues to struggle under the weight of persistent inflation, skyrocketing mortgage rates, a decline in full-time jobs, and ever-expanding federal debt.
The president has continued to tout “Bidenomics” in recent weeks, despite stating last week that he acknowledges there is a “disconnect between the numbers and how people feel about their place in the world right now.” Polls show that the American public is indeed not connecting with the White House’s messaging on a massive scale. A Fox News survey taken last week revealed that almost 80% of Americans rate the economy negatively.
As economists are pointing out, the raw economic numbers are a tremendous cause for concern. Joel Griffith, a research fellow in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, joined “Washington Watch” last week to give a snapshot of where things currently stand.
“The typical family has lost more than $4,000 in real inflation, just adjusted income since President Biden took office, and that $4,000 pay cut is not even taking into account the rising home ownership costs,” he observed. “… [A]s [we]’ve seen real income decline, we’ve also seen credit card balances hit an all-time record $1 trillion. That’s about a $3,000 a family increase over the past year and a half, even as savings rates have plunged near all-time lows. Bidenomics has been a disaster for American families.”
Polls show that Americans are continuing to feel economic pain when they compare their income with prices. An Associated Press poll last month found that “three-quarters of respondents described the economy as poor,” with two-thirds saying their expenses have risen and only one quarter saying their income had also gone up. Compounding the problem is that the prices of many of the items that Americans most commonly buy have inflated substantially. Since February of 2020, the average price of a gallon of milk is up 23% ($3.93), a pound of ground beef is up 33% ($5.35), and a gallon of gas is up 53% ($3.78).
As Griffith went on to explain, one of the primary reasons for the decline in real income currently being experienced by Americans is the exploding cost of home ownership.
“If you’re looking to get a mortgage right now on a standard middle class home, that mortgage payment is costing you about $1,000 per month more than it would have cost you just a year and a half ago,” he noted. “… These are the worst economic conditions since the 1970s. … [T]hat was a time when we also had declining real income, and we also had sky high inflation. So arguably, it’s even worse now than it was then because it’s never been less affordable to buy a home. If you look to buy a home, it costs you about half of your income just to make the mortgage payments and the property taxes. It has never been this bad in terms of home ownership.”
Griffith further illustrated how reported job growth numbers are misleading. “[E]very month, the Biden administration loves to tout these jobs growth numbers. But what they fail to tell us is actually that over the last six months, we’ve actually seen a decline in full-time jobs. The only reason why we have seen the top line jobs growth numbers positive is because we’ve seen a surge in part-time jobs, meaning we have a lot more people today working double jobs just to pay the bills.”
As the national debt approaches $34 trillion, Griffith underscored how runaway federal spending is leading to unyielding inflation.
“[S]pending is out of control — it’s been out of control a long time,” he said. “The interest we’re paying right now on the federal debt is $10,000 per family per year. The amount of money that we’ve borrowed over the prior year is $25,000 per family of four. We cannot keep this up. A big part of the reason why families today are suffering from this inflation … is because for the last three years, we have spent wildly beyond our means, and we relied on our central bank to print the dollars to buy that debt.”
“We have to change this trajectory now, and I’m hopeful Congress will actually attempt to do so once they come back from Thanksgiving and Christmas break,” Griffith concluded.
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.