July 25, 2024

“Is ‘Trumpflation’ a Real Threat?

The debate in Atlanta presents a crucial opportunity for President Joe Biden to argue that former President Donald Trump’s policies could exacerbate inflation. Whether this argument will sway voters remains uncertain.

The term “Trumpflation” has gained traction in academic and political discussions over recent months. Biden’s aides indicate that the president plans to highlight this issue during his debate with Trump. Biden’s case hinges on the idea that Trump’s proposals, particularly his tariff plans, tax cuts, and stringent immigration policies, could fuel higher inflation and weaken the U.S. economy.

Support for this argument was bolstered by a letter from 16 Nobel prize-winning economists warning that Trump’s policies could hinder both the U.S. and global economies, potentially reigniting inflation. The Biden campaign quickly capitalized on this endorsement. Campaign spokesperson James Singer stated, “In Donald Trump’s America, the rich pay less, and working Americans pay more.”

Despite this, it remains to be seen if the Biden campaign can shift public opinion on inflation. Recent polling shows a slight improvement in voters’ perceptions of Biden, inflation, and the broader economy. A Fox News poll following Trump’s criminal conviction showed Biden leading in a hypothetical national matchup for the first time since October, partly due to a slight uptick in his economic approval ratings. Biden’s inflation approval rating in that poll was 37%, his highest in over two years.

Trump’s Counterattack on Inflation Claims

Trump is expected to leverage his debate time to criticize Biden on rising prices. Trump senior advisor Jason Miller remarked, “We know that Joe Biden is going to try to blame everything on President Trump. Americans are pretty smart; they know inflation was only at 1.9%, basically nothing, when President Trump left office.”

Trump’s campaign argues against the “Trumpflation” concerns, highlighting that during his tenure, despite high tariffs and tax cuts, inflation did not spike. In a recent Time interview, Trump dismissed experts’ warnings about his tariff policies’ inflationary effects, asserting, “I don’t believe it’ll be inflation.”

Nevertheless, research continues to challenge Trump’s stance. A Moody’s Analytics analysis suggested a Republican sweep in the upcoming elections could lead to higher inflation and possibly a recession. The Peterson Institute for International Economics reported that Trump’s tariff proposals could add $1,700 in additional costs for the average American family. Furthermore, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warned that Trump’s policies could lead to “the mother of all stagflations.”

Biden’s Debate Strategy on Inflation

Biden’s goal may not be to outshine Trump on inflation but to elevate concerns about Trump’s policies and neutralize inflation as a political liability. Analysts at Evercore ISI suggested that if Biden can portray Trump’s ideas — from tariffs to tax cuts — as inflationary, he might make some headway. However, they noted that policy might take a backseat to issues like temperament and fitness for office in the debate.

Regardless of the debate outcome, inflation will likely remain a significant challenge for Biden leading up to the election. A Yahoo News/YouGov poll earlier this month highlighted the uphill battle Biden faces, with an approval rating on inflation of just 29% and a 16-point deficit to Trump on the issue. In the same poll, 49% of respondents believed Trump would handle inflation better than Biden, who garnered 33%.

The percentage of undecided voters stands at 18%, indicating that there is still room for either candidate to sway public opinion.”Is ‘Trumpflation’ a Real Threat?


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