Video: Yes, Americans Are Better Off - A Conversation with Rob Shapiro

On Friday, September 23rd we sat down with our friend and colleague Rob Shapiro for a discussion  of his compelling new Washington Monthly article, “Yes, Americans Are Better Off Under Biden."

You can watch the conversation with Rob here.  The core of what we discussed is how Democrats need to close with a very strong argument that with them in power once again - despite COVID, an insurrection, supply chain disruptions, Putin's invasion of Ukraine and the global inflation it brought - things have gotten better for the American people.  As we wrote in a recent piece on the September jobs report we think we have a very strong case to make.  Consider that under Biden we've seen:

- 5 times as many jobs as last 3 GOP POTUS COMBINED

- Lowest poverty, uninsured rates in US history, lowest peacetime unemployment rate since WWII

- Wage gains, new business starts at elevated/record levels

- twice as many job openings as unemployed people - a record

- Deficit plummeting, gas prices coming way down

- the passage of bills which are making historic investments in infrastructure, microchips, clean technology and health care which will create growth and jobs for decades to come

We are better off.  Now we need to go sell it.  An excerpt from Rob's terrific analysis:

"In June 2022, the average working American earned $74,643 in wages and salaries, compared to $74,624 in January 2021 and $70,274 in February 2020. Even with 9.5 million more people working, the average working person earned as much in June, after inflation, as when Biden took office. And compared to just before the pandemic, when employment was comparable to today, the average person earns 6.2 percent even after inflation. The answer to Reagan’s question is “Yes” on wages and salaries as well as jobs, a remarkable achievement given the pandemic.

Americans are also significantly wealthier than before Biden took office. The pandemic and the jobs boom were primarily responsible. As the Omicron variant spread, government checks enabled more savings and increased spending that helped drive up employment. According to the Federal Reserve, after inflation the net assets of Americans increased by nearly $2 trillion from the first quarter of 2021—when Biden took office—to the first quarter of 2022. (We exclude the top 1 percent because their assets are notoriously hard to measure.)  

And it’s not the typical case of the rich getting richer. The fastest growth in net assets occurred among low- and moderate-income households. From the first quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022, the inflation-adjusted wealth of households in the lowest income quintile jumped 15.2 percent and just 0.8 percent for those in the top income quintile (again, excluding the top 1 percent)."