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Voters prefer Trump over Biden on economy. This data shows why

Mark Niquette, Phil Kuntz and Stuart Paul, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

Americans give Donald Trump the edge over Joe Biden on the economy in poll after poll.

That’s even as the Biden years have been the best time to find work since the 1960s, and the U.S. has bounced back from the pandemic with stronger growth than international peers such as the European Union, United Kingdom and Japan and stronger growth overall than under President Trump.

Instead, voters this year are focused on the steep jump in prices from the post-pandemic surge in inflation.

In the April Bloomberg/Morning Consult swing-state poll, respondents said by 51% to 32% they were doing better financially under Trump than Biden. Out of 15 economic issues, the cost of everyday goods was far and away the top concern of registered voters in the poll.

Real disposable personal income per capita — money available to spend after taxes and adjusted for inflation — is a clear measure of standard of living. Under Biden, it’s improved, but on average only at about a quarter the pace set during the Trump years.

Trump fueled the economy with much more deficit-financed stimulus than Biden, enacting a $1.9 trillion, 10-year tax cut skewed toward wealthier households even before the pandemic economic crisis.

 

The former president pumped in another $3.5 trillion for stimulus checks and other pandemic relief, the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates. That pushed up Americans’ incomes even though pandemic lockdowns crashed the economy and drove up unemployment.Trump’s tax cuts and pandemic relief compare to $2.2 trillion of net relief under Biden, according to the committee’s estimates. The two presidents’ successive rounds of stimulus sent federal debt soaring.

Still, Biden-era inflation resulted in disposable income growth that's on track to be one of the worst of any post-World War II presidency.

The cumulative increase in consumer prices during Biden’s term likely will end up being higher than any other president in the past 40 years. By comparison, inflation under Trump generally ran around the Federal Reserve’s 2% target and ended his term even lower.

Trump came into office with inflation at 2.5% in 2017, and the pandemic economic crash brought the rate down to almost zero. Annual inflation hit a 40-year high of 9.1% in June 2022 as the economy re-opened. The rate has since fallen but was still a stubbornly high 3.4% in April.

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