Biden’s economic sugar rush now threatens to destroy him

Britain is edging towards stagflation – with the inflation rate in the UK still almost double the US rate, unemployment slowly creeping up, and perhaps most importantly, growth at a standstill.

The best news Britain can muster up is that it has avoided the technical definition of recession. Some will view this as cause for celebration – not least given doomsday predictions from the IMF, and others, at the start of the year. But the economy just staying on the right side of the recession line isn’t much to boast about.

Are Americans too demanding, expecting better economic conditions than what they have right now? Or are British expectations just dismally low, as they get ready to watch the Government hail some kind of victory for GDP growth that sits under 1pc?

Wherever the answer, it is clear there is substantial opportunity on both sides of the Atlantic for more growth reforms.

In the UK, policy announcements are already being framed in the context of a general election, but that process has not kicked off yet, and there is still time for the various parties to present their pro-growth agendas to voters.

But in America, the far longer process is well underway, with Republican candidates (apart from Donald Trump, who refuses to show up) taking to debate stages across the country to put forward their vision for the country.

Unfortunately, minds are elsewhere. Between the shadow of Trump, the tempting allure of culture war issues and fighting yesterday’s battles (including some kind abortion ban across the US), the Republican candidates for president have failed to find the time to properly acknowledge voter concern about the economy and how they might address it.

It’s a shame: recent polling from the New York Times and Siena College finds that Trump is currently leading Biden in key swing stages, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania (Biden is leading in Wisconsin).

But the real insight from this most recent round of polling is that while Trump may lead Biden by several percentage points, a “generic Republican” is no less than 14 points ahead (in Pennsylvania) up to 18 points ahead (Arizona).

What does it mean to be a “generic Republican”? That’s debatable, but almost certainly includes a nod to the GOP’s history with voters of being fiscally responsible and energetic towards the economy. In America, Biden’s fragile, sugar-high good isn’t good enough – even if in Britain, Rachel Reeves’s equivalent might well be.

In the UK, of course, it would be a luxury to be in a position to have this debate.

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