No Minister

The Biden Death Spiral comes early?

All US Presidents have ups and downs in their popularity. Most manage to recover: they’re called two-term Presidents.

But some never do. The one-term folk like Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump are classic examples, although Bush 41 was done in more by Perot bleeding votes from him. Then there’s Harry Truman.

Because he served almost all of two terms following FDR’s death in April 1945, it’s often forgotten that Truman was also only a one-term President. He hit all-time lows that have never been surpassed as the Korean War strangled him, but even then it took a loss in the 1952 New Hampshire primary before he knew he was done.

Another one-term inheritor of the seat, Lyndon Johnson, hit problems. LBJ’s massive win in 1964, and even more massive successes in winning passage for his free-money Great Society Programs and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, should have meant a smashing reelection in 1968, but Vietnam killed that.

But it happens with the two-termers also. Nixon and Watergate of course. Bush 43 and the combination of Iraq war hangover and the smash-mouth impact of the GFC saw his popularity approach Truman levels as he exited.

The successful two-termers are the ones who managed to negotiate the downs. FDR and the 1937 economic downturn; Eisenhower and a heart attack; Reagan and the 1981/82 recession; Clinton and the GOP takeover in ’94; Obama and Obamacare.

Of course it was never expected that Biden would even run for a second term; he was simply the most acceptable anti-Trumper for 2020 that the Democrat National Committee could back. Despite some rather deluded high hopes from some corners, his history, lack of principles and low-IQ alone predicted poor outcomes, even before taking into account his fading, senile old brain.

  • The Afghanistan disaster, complete with 13 dead soldiers and damaged relations with allies.
  • The crisis on the Mexican border (2 million illegals by year end).
  • The continuing Covid-19 problems (which he said he’d end).
  • The failure to enact his gigantic spending programs (assuming you even think they’re good in the first place).
  • Growing economic problems with energy costs and inflation in general.

And so….

This is also not just a snapshot but yet another one of a series of major polls showing him sliding.

There are several differences between Biden and those other Presidents who have recovered from poor 1st term polls.

First off, he never had the personal fan-base and support in the first place, as witnessed by his failed Presidential runs in 1988 and 2008, so has nothing to fall back on bar core Democrat Party support.

Second he does not have the party majorities needed to enact really big stuff that might save him.

Third, this is very much a post FDR/LBJ world. The big stuff, even if passed, is likely to make things worse economically. There’s only so much government spending that can be blasted into an economy before it starts back-firing, not to mention that the $29 trillion of debt cannot be ignored for much longer, especially when the Federal Reserve has to raise rates to fight the inflation.

Fourth, on the Foreign Policy front, Americans don’t normally give a shit unless something goes wrong. So more positive developments like AUKUS will have no impact, whereas another Afghanistan will. Taiwan. North Korean missile tests, Iran-Israel. Those time bombs are out there ticking away.

Fifth, and perhaps most importantly of all, Biden does not have the political skills to work through all these problems. Unlike Reagan, Clinton or Obama, he can’t dig himself out of these holes and nor can his party. There is no change on the horizon for either group: what we’ve seen from all of them in the last few months is it.

Like the US debt, this is not going to get better unless providence shines upon Biden.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 7, 2021 at 6:26 pm

9 Responses

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  1. A question about your final chart. Why is the annual debt growth so much larger than the annual deficit?
    The debt obviously covers a lot more than the shortfall of annual spending. Presumably a lot of capital expenditure. Not that the US is noted for massive public capital spending, or perhaps it is .


    October 7, 2021 at 7:29 pm

    • You don’t understand how interest works Dr Mapp?

      Outstanding Debt = Initial Loan(1+R)**t

      Where R = the interest rate

      and t is the time the debt has been outstanding

      And unlike phantom pandemics used by unscrupulous politicians to scare gullible citizens into surrendering their rights and freedoms with talk of “exponential growth in cases” debt is something that really does grow exponentially.


      October 7, 2021 at 9:08 pm

  2. And quick as a flash we understand why Wayne was Min of Defence and not Min of Finance.


    October 7, 2021 at 10:39 pm

  3. Attacking commentators rather than comments is not the way to go. Biden also has the problems of a declining America (which can be reversed, but not by him) and a divided Democratic Party. Trump might yet be Biden’s (or some other Dem) saviour- you never know what he’s going to say or do and electing an indicted tax fraud would unusual – and the Republicans are not exactly a cohesive group, but at this stage the outlook fo the Biden presidency is dismal, rather like its performance.


    October 8, 2021 at 6:27 am

  4. Andrei, accumulating interest is not the reason, not at the current low interest rates. Rossco, usual abuse, but no actual answer.
    The answer has to be major expenditure that is not included in the usual annual expenditure, which is the combination of the revenue and deficit part of the chart.
    As noted in my initial comment, it could be capital expenditure, it could be underfunding of social security and medical expenditure which is somehow not captured in the usual annual expenditure. It could Federal Reserve funding of the banks, basically QE (which maybe the most likely reason). It could be massive expenditure by states which is not funded. Whatever it is, the chart does not come remotely close to explaining it.
    In contrast, in NZ it would be very easy to see how the growth of govt debt is directly related to the annual deficit, or expenditure on the government capital account.


    October 8, 2021 at 8:07 am

  5. OK, so on relooking at the chart, the deficit is an annual figure, while the debt is an accumulating figure.

    To take the four years of the Trump era, simply because it is the most recent. The annual deficit for the first three years is about $1 trillion per year, but in the final year (covid) it is over $2 trillion. That represents a total accumulation of debt of $5 trillion (yes, I know I could look up the actual numbers, but I am just going by the chart). Total debt starts at around $19 trillion, but ends at about $27 trillion. That is a total increase in debt of $8 trillion, almost double the accumulated deficit for the four years.

    Accumulated interest is not the reason, because the annual interest bill is included in the deficit. Interest is in fact the first charge on annual taxation. The annual interest bill, even this year, on the accumulated debt will be less than $250 billion, given that Govt bonds have an interest rate of less than 1%, particularly for the great increase in the debt since the GFC.


    October 8, 2021 at 8:38 am

  6. rossco: answer please. People in glass houses…………………………….


    October 8, 2021 at 9:42 am

  7. It might help if people stuck to the main topic of a post – which in this case is the question of whether Biden can recover from these declining polls.

    To aid that I’ve now added a new post that addresses the topic of US debts and deficits separately so if commentators wish to shift to that post for this debate they can.

    Tom Hunter

    October 8, 2021 at 9:59 am

  8. Biden never had a base of firm, loyal supporters to start with.

    When all the lights went out simultaneously in those city precinct polling stations at 11 pm ET in the swing states – we all knew what was going on.

    What happened in 2020 was a color revolution and subsequent neo-communist putsch. The walls are closing on freedom and liberty around the entire globe. We are all in serious trouble.

    Porky Roebuck

    October 8, 2021 at 11:53 am

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