Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
On January 20, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, taking over for the 45th president Donald Trump. Most people say Trump is generally a bad person and Biden is generally a good person. But what about their policies?
Trump was considered to be a bully who lacked the graces that nearly all prior presidents possessed. Many considered Trump to be a bad person, who was not worthy of a second term. Biden’s campaign recognized this and constantly concentrated on the theme that a bad person should not be president.
Prior to the pandemic, most people would agree that Trump’s policies were good for America. Considering nearly every major issue, Trump’s policies were very effective and benefited the majority of Americans. He published a list of his accomplishments here: Trump’s accomplishments.
The economy and national security are the primary issues concerning the majority of voters. On the economy, Trump’s policies, prior to the pandemic, resulted in record low unemployment, low inflation, an increased growth rate, increasing real wages, lower tax rates and most importantly, opportunity for all Americans. The lowest income earners saw the greatest benefits. The poverty rate hit an historic low of 9.2%. It was 12.7% when Trump entered office.
Regarding national security Trump virtually eliminated the ISIS caliphate, stopped North Korea from launching missiles, armed the Ukraine, confronted Russia, brought Iran to the verge of economic collapse, signed peace deals in the Middle East, got member nations to financially support NATO, brought thousands of US troops home, made the US energy independent, confronted the threat from China and did not start any new wars.
The popular view was Trump was a bad person with good policies, although many argue his policies toward the environment and climate change were not good. In that area, Trump favored energy independence above climate change
Joe Biden is exactly the opposite. He is a nice guy and most consider him to be a good person who is generous, compassionate and understanding, He is viewed as a seasoned politician. But what about his policies?
On the economy Biden wants to raise taxes on all Americans especially the highest income earners. This policy which takes income away from people that earned it and gives it to people who have not earned it, will tend to slow economic growth.
His desire to provide free health care to anyone that can not afford to buy it, elimination of student debt eventually leading to free college and increased government spending to cure perceived social injustices, will similarly slow the economy.
Biden also wants to more than double the minimum wage, raising it to $15 per hour. This will eliminate jobs, disrupt the wage structure for lower income workers and put at least some upward pressure on inflation.
Biden’s economic policies are similar to the Obama/Biden policies in 2008-2016. Biden’s policies will result in the same slow growth, stagnant economy we experienced during the Obama years. Income inequality will worsen and the poverty rate will increase simply because a slower growth economy does not provide enough opportunity. It is the least skilled, lower income workers who suffer the most from slow growth.
On national defense Biden will try to enter into a new agreement with Iran, likely similar to the 2015 deal in which the US gave up billions of dollars and received very little in return. Biden may continue the tough stand with China although there is some question about his family’s lucrative business relationships with Chinese entities. How tough will he be on China?
He says he will be tough on Russia, but when Russia invaded the Ukraine in 2015, the Obama/Biden administration did nothing. How tough will Biden be on Russia.
In the Middle East, will Biden continue with the Trump effort to get peace deals with Arab nations and Israel? Or will his desire to get a deal with Iran cause more hostility for the US in the Middle East?
Four years from now we will be asking the question, “Are you better or worse off than you were four years ago?” For the Trump presidency the answer is clearly that nearly all of us are better off, at least before the virus hit.
In 2024 what will be the answer to that question? Were we better off with a nice guy with bad policies?