In the polls, Biden’s marks for managing the economy are dismal. The negative perception persists, despite his enviable record on job growth, unemployment and a deft “Goldilocks” landing from the COVID-related episode of inflation. The gap between the statistical reality and voters’ opinions remains a puzzle.

In my opinion, one reason for this gap is the misleading and incomplete reporting on inflation in the press and on the news – even from non-MAGA sources. Moderate inflation is a problem only if it outstrips the growth the wages, yet the press rarely reports wage growth. In fact, real wages in the U.S. are now greater than under Trump, pre-COVID. Also, when reporting inflation, the press usually amplifies with examples of products – e.g., gasoline, housing – whose prices have risen well in excess of the average. But, necessarily, for every product with above-average inflation, another with equal importance in household expenditures has below-average inflation. We never hear this good news, only the bad. Finally, the context for economic trends in the U.S. is the world economy, where other developed nations face shocks and challenges similar to those experienced here. Growth and inflation abroad are rarely reported. Yet voters should know that the U.S. recovery from the COVID disruption was more robust and less inflationary than that of our partners in the eurozone.

Accurate reporting on inflation should include wage growth, unbiassed examples and the international experience.

Michael Jones

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