It’s Not You. It’s Bidenflation.

Joke Biden didn’t invent inflation. But he inadvertently attached his name to it, much like Jimmy Carter did in the 1970s.

A few months ago, Greg Ip wrote the most condescendingly asinine article The Wall Street Journal ever had the misfortune to publish. In “What’s Wrong With the Economy? It’s You, Not the Data,” Ip alleged The Great Unwashed™ were too stupid to realize how good everything was under Dear Leader Potatohead Biden.

Ip wrote:

Yes, some individuals faced higher inflation (someone who bought a house, for instance) but, for the average person, inflation went down.

When it comes to the economy, the vibes are at war with the facts, and the vibes are winning. This is obviously bad news for President Biden’s re-election hopes. He can’t exactly tell voters that they are wrong; he would be called out of touch. And it probably wouldn’t change anything. The vibes seem symptomatic of a broader pessimism disconnected from the data.

It’s tempting to chalk this up to a misunderstanding. Lower inflation means the level of prices is still rising, just more slowly than before. People sometimes conflate inflation with the level of prices and believe inflation is getting worse because the price level keeps going up (it rarely goes down).

The thing is, Ippie thinks you should care more about the math than your wallet. Sure, inflation can fall (disinflation) while prices keep rising, and deflation (falling prices) only happens in industries where the government can’t get its paw in the jar. But the government policy counts, not the fact you can’t buy steak next month, according to Ip.


If a product cost $1 two years ago, and last year’s inflation was 10%, and this year’s is 5% (year-on-year): yes, inflation fell 50%. But it also means that the product cost $1.10 last year and $1.16 today.

That’s much more expensive (16%) for the lower and middle classes, as food, shelter, and energy costs eat up a lot more of their wallets than those of rich folk.

So, of course, they — the hoi polloi — are upset at Biden.

But more compelling evidence has come out lately.


Here’s a pro tip from Seanie: never attach your name to something when you believe in nothing.

Joke Biden has never had a coherent economic strategy. His only economic method is to rely on his Congress to spend as much as they can without outright destroying the dollar. Bidenomics shows you everything wrong with the Beltway’s Madison Avenue obsession.

But it’s worked so far, depending on how you view things.

If you’re in the crowd that gets the goodies, you must be pleased as punch. But I suspect you’re not, which is why you’ll hold your nose and pull the lever for The Donald this autumn.

But this chart has been making the rounds on social media, with good reason. Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal:

Things make a lot more sense now.

Biden claims household wealth has gone up nearly 20% under him, roughly the same as Trump’s through three years of their presidency.

But there’s one huge difference: Biden’s growth is a mere 0.7% once you adjust for inflation. Trump’s was 16.0%.

But The Nobel Prize Winners Say…

Old joke:

Why did God create economists?

To make weathermen look good.

The Nobel Prize in Economics is fake, in case you didn’t know it. The Swedish Central Bank awards it, not the Nobel Committee, which is why it’s called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. So foul is the odor that emanates from this prize, that four of Nobel’s relatives have formally distanced themselves from it.

And yet, we accord the people who win this gong a level of respect they simply did not, can not, and will not earn. Ever. They aren’t the coming of Hari Seldon, of Foundation fame, much to Paul Krugman’s chagrin. They can’t predict the future. Heck, they’re so awful at calling the shots, you may as well flip a coin and listen to them.

And yet they keep committing their signatures to nonsense papers because they think no one’s keeping track of their awful track records.

For instance, my friend and colleague Alan Knuckman brought up in our editorial meeting yesterday that sixteen — count ‘em! — sixteen Nobel Prize-winning economists wrote an open letter warning that if Donald Trump won a second term, his economic agenda would be “vastly” inferior to that of President Joe Biden’s and that Trump would also “reignite” the inflation “which has come down remarkably fast.”

As the British would say, “The bloody cheek!”

Thanks to Tiana Lowe Doescher of The Washington Examiner, we know 14 of the 16 who penned this letter also wrote a letter in 2021 supporting Build Back Better.

Doescher writes:

You see, 14 of the 16 economists from the 2024 letter wrote another letter in September 2021 cheering on Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda, which would later become the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law [BIL].

Spearheaded by Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia, George Akerlof of Georgetown, Sir Angus Deaton of Princeton, Sir Oliver Hart of Harvard, Eric Maskin of Harvard, Daniel McFadden of Berkley, Paul Milgrom of Stanford, Roger Myerson of the University of Chicago, Edmund Phelps of Columbia, Paul Romer of NYU, William Sharpe of Stanford, Robert Shiller of Yale, Christopher Sims of Princeton, and Robert Solow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claimed that the BIL, which infused about half a trillion dollars of new spending into the economy, would “ease longer-term inflationary pressures” despite inflation already running at 5%.

Again, this September 2021 letter would be less embarrassing if Stiglitz hadn’t already endorsed the preliminary portion of the BBB agenda, the American Rescue Plan.

Rewind back to February 2021, when inflation was just 1.7%, Stiglitz called a refusal to pass the “urgently needed” $1.9 trillion ARP “irresponsible and reckless.”

In short, these guys don’t have any better idea of the outcome of policies than you do. Trust your wallet. Don’t ever trust these charlatans, one of whom (Akerloff) is married to the most incompetent Treasury Secretary in U.S. history.

Wrap Up

The reason why you don’t feel any wealthier than when Trump was in is because you aren’t materially wealthier than then.

If you were worth $100,000 (for math’s sake) on Day 1 of Biden’s term, you are now worth, on average, $100,700. You’ve increased your wealth by $700 over three years, or $233.33. Thanks to Joke Biden, you can go to one more baseball game than before.

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to be in the arms business, I congratulate you.

The Daily Reckoning