Evan Vuchi / AP
President Biden continues to receive good marks for tackling the most pressing issue of the day, the coronavirus pandemic. It also remains on average over 50% for the management of the economy, which is closely linked to COVID-19.
But as things begin to open up and return to normal, with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for fully vaccinated people, crises or potential crises are on the horizon.
For months, it has become clear that Americans have less confidence in the president’s immigration management, for example. There is an influx of migrants, including unaccompanied minors, on the southern border of the United States, and the Biden administration is struggling to respond.
This week, some new things were added to Biden’s plate, including inflation, a gasoline spill and renewed fighting in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians. They are threatening to ruin an agenda that has so far, for the most part, remained on the runways.
Asked about this at the White House on Friday, spokesman Jen Psaki said: “This is exactly what he has chosen to do, is to lead the country during many crises” and that he has assembled a team “to be prepared in these moments.”
Full plate but empty pump
Inflation was the economic word of the week. Consumer prices rose higher than expected, causing tremors across Wall Street.
Gasoline prices are rising and renewed travel this summer looks set to keep them relatively high. The long East Coast gas pipelines over a ransomware attack on a major U.S. pipeline caused some panic at the pump this week.
Colonial Pipeline brought his entire system back online, and Biden said he expected to see an improvement this weekend “and early next week.”
“Don’t panic, № 1,” he urged on Thursday. “I know seeing lines at gas stations or gas stations can be extremely stressful, but it’s a temporary situation.”
Do not fill plastic bags with petrol.
– US Consumer Product Safety Commission (@USCPSC), May 12, 2021
But people were clearly panicking. There was a video of a fight that broke out between a man and a woman over their seats in a queue at a gas station in North Carolina. A couple was caught in Alabama filling multiple gas cans and shoving them into the back of their car. A South Carolina woman who was piling up gasoline tried to evade police, destroyed her car and set it on fire.
Add to all this anxiety less than the expected increase in jobs earlier this month and thriving battles in the Middle East.
Saying he wanted to give a “perspective” on the added 266,000 jobs, Biden noted that “the economy is moving in the right direction, but it is clear that we have a long way to go.”
He pointed out that the economy has added 1.5 million new jobs since taking office, “the most jobs created in the first three months of any presidency in our history.”
Of course, there was a very deep hole created by the pandemic and the political response to it. There are still more than 8 million fewer wage workers than before the pandemic.
A stronger party to negotiate the GOP?
Critics have also warned of the amount of money invested in the economy by Biden COVID’s bailout plan.
“There is so much money in the economy that demand is high and outpacing supply and starting to push prices up,” said Sen. John Tun, RS.D., this week before inflation disappeared. “We need to be a little more careful and restrained.”
Republicans certainly believe their negotiating hand has been strengthened compared to a few weeks ago when it comes to the infrastructure deal.
Biden has proposed a plan for approximately $ 2 trillion, something that cannot start with Republicans. They see too many side elements in it, such as charging stations for electric vehicles and other climate measures.
Biden argues that these things are needed to overcome the economy where it needs to grow in the future, and that these investments are no different when railroads and the interstate highway system were first proposed.
Still, Biden seems eager for a deal with Republicans on infrastructure. He held two meetings this week, trying to negotiate a bilateral agreement.
Republican leaders want a deal for what they see as “traditional infrastructure” – repairs to roads and bridges, mostly. They sailed that they were willing to invest $ 800 billion, less than half of what Biden wanted, but more than $ 200 billion of what the GOP senators had originally offered.
Of course, both sides still do not agree on how to pay for this. Ironically, given the pipeline’s panic this week and rising gas prices, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell would like to raise the gas tax.
The gas tax, which largely finances the country’s federal infrastructure measures, has not been raised since 1993 and has not been indexed to inflation.
Evan Vuchi / AP
But will this matter to Americans when they pay more at the pump, when they travel for Remembrance Day Weekend? The Biden administration has already struck this off the list as a potential source of revenue for the plan.
“No, this is not part of the conversation about this infrastructure bill,” Transport Minister Pete Butigieg told CNN on Monday.
Democrats are largely opposed to what are known as consumer charges, as they are seen as regressive. In other words, they charge higher fees, so to speak, for those who earn less.
A temporary blow or the tip of the iceberg?
Most of the thorny new releases are out of Biden’s control, and the White House sees inflation as a temporary link to COVID – or hopes it will be.
“Economists expect, both inside and outside the government, that the effects of our proposed investments are temporary, temporary and that the benefits far outweigh the risks,” spokesman Psaki said on Thursday.
But Republicans have taken advantage of inflation and gas prices and are now trying to compare Biden to former President Jimmy Carter, who has faced unprecedented inflation and oil shortages that have led to a gas crisis.
“I see everyone comparing Joe Biden to Jimmy Carter. I think it’s very unfair to Jimmy Carter,” said former President Donald Trump, who is still the leading contender for the Republican presidential nominee in 2024. “Jimmy is wrong. it handles crisis after crisis, but Biden CREATES crisis after crisis. “
Let’s be clear: This is not yet close to the 1970s. Inflation rose 4.2 percent this week, not 14 percent.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no potential political problem for Biden.
The president has shown a desire to stay on the agenda, but every president must deal with unencrypted crises.
Biden’s ability to deal with them is about to be tested.