LARRY KUDLOW: Trump will have significant ammunition on the economy


With a little more than five weeks to go before the first Trump-Biden debate, virtually all the polls show the most important issues are the economy and immigration. In a recent Bloomberg-Morning Consult poll, Donald Trump was up 15 points over Joe Biden on the economy, 51 to 36%. 

On immigration, Trump was up 20 points, 52 to 32%. Important flag here: This is just seven swing states, but, in some sense, that may be all that matters for this election. Head-to-head for the big seven, by the way, Trump is up six points, 49 to 43%. Of course, polls aren’t votes, but they are voter snapshots and they are interesting, because Mr. Trump has a sizable lead on the issues that really count, which makes you wonder — what’s going to change between now and June 27, the first debate? 

On the economy, Mr. Trump will have significant ammunition on two key points. First, real disposable income, an absolutely vital presidential-year indicator. On a cumulative basis, Trump was up over 12% during his term, while Joe Biden is only up 2.9% in his term. That’s one of the worst disposable income performances of any post-World War II presidency and a key reason for Biden’s bad income growth is that, cumulatively, inflation under Mr. Trump was only up 8% – while it’s up 21% under Mr. Biden. 


Biden’s inflation increase is higher than any other president in the past forty years. There’s no getting around it. Biden’s overspending is a chief culprit in the inflation story. 

I might add, a recent Fox News poll for the entire country shows very similar results in favor of Trump on the economy, illegal immigration and overall. So, Mr. Biden keeps telling a huge whooper of an untruth – that he inherited a 9% inflation rate from Mr. Trump. This will probably become the greatest Pinocchio lying meter in political history 

No matter how many times Biden repeats it – and he’s been repeating it almost on a daily basis – the facts from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are that Mr. Biden inherited a 1.4% consumer price index over the twelve months ending in January 2021. By the middle of 2022, Bidenflation registered at 9%. He’ll never live that down. 

There are also lots of other statistics that Mr. Trump will undoubtedly bring into play during the debate, especially on the Biden affordability crisis — where real wages have actually fallen substantially compared to outsized real wage gains during the Trump years. 


Interest rates for home mortgages, credit cards and auto loans are, of course, way higher as well under Biden than under Trump. Middle-income folks simply cannot afford to live in the Biden economy and then there is, of course, the ten (or so) million illegal immigrants – and the related crime problem throughout the country, which will be another huge plus for Mr. Trump during the debate. 

That, too, is not going to change between now and June 27, but to repeat a cliché: this first debate (at least) will be all about the economy, stupid. Mr. Trump will have plenty of ammo and Lord knows he knows how to use it. 

This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow’s opening commentary on the May 17, 2024, edition of “Kudlow.”  

Read the full article here


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