LARRY KUDLOW: Biden is pursuing a far-left ideological agenda

Americans are feeling less happy

In a major Wall Street Journal headline story today: "Most Americans doubt their children will be better off," WSJ-NORC poll finds.  

The subhead: "Dim view of economy underpins pessimism about future and record-low happiness in U.S."   

Kudlow poll

The NORC poll, by the way, is the University of Chicago’s nonpartisan research group.   It's the kind of headline I hate to see because, you know, I'm a congenital optimist, but I know bigtime pessimism is out there.   

I know that I'm going to sound partisan right now, but my own personal view is that Joe Biden owns this pessimism. It’s the same way Joe Biden owns the inflation that continues to haunt middle-class working folks.  


It was his massive spending, which really continues to this day, that caused the inflation that is the cruelest tax of all, to paraphrase Maynard Keynes.   

On spending, a major Wall Street firm just estimated Biden's badly misnamed "Inflation Reduction Act" to come in at a cost of $1.2 trillion, three times the CBO estimate and spending on electric vehicles alone coming in at $393 billion, that is 28 times what the Joint Committee on Taxation projected and bigger than the entire JTC/CBO print and that's just one example of frenzied spending. 


Consumer prices during Biden's presidency are up 14.4%. Inflation this past February is running at nearly triple the rate in the year before the pandemic began. Grocery prices up 20%. Gasoline up 35%. Utility services up 41%. New cars 19%. Used cars 22%. Housing services up 13% and on and on.    


In the NORC poll, nearly two-thirds said inflation is a major concern. Then, roughly four-in-ten cited healthcare and housing costs.  Despite low unemployment, there's anxiety about the job market. Almost half said their finances are worse than expected. More than half have lost faith in the power of an education, the power of a college education too. That is a heartbreaker!

Just 12% describe themselves as "very happy." The lowest share on record since NORC began asking the question every few years starting in 1972.  

What's going on here is that the Biden administration has not generated any confidence in their ability to steward economic prosperity, both now and in the future. 

I also believe Joe Biden owns the banking problem, because the original sin of his bailouts was sky-rocketing inflation, which ultimately led to huge interest rate increases and have sent a major shiver throughout banks all around the world and, on that point, working folks do not like the bank bailouts one bit.  

They know the privileged few will get these bailouts and they also know they're going to have to pay for it and they are already up to their eyeballs in taxes and household payments.  

Biden polls

The Biden banking crisis came after this poll was taken, but it is included in the AP-NORC poll we discussed last night that showed Biden's numbers plunging.  You can go back to the Founders, and the Declaration of Independence, to remember life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  

Mr. Biden is not pursuing happiness.  He's pursuing a far-left ideological agenda.  It can be summarized by the phrase "limitless government" – bailouts, subsidies, taxes, regulations, social benefits, cancel culture, diversity, equity and inclusion, esg and on and on.  

Do you know what is missing? What's missing is freedom. What's missing is even a modest nod to capitalism, which is the most successful economic system ever known to mankind. I mean, it's not enough for the Bidens to say "we need to work toward some vision of renewable energy."

No, they have to set out to destroy fossil fuels.  We should be growing the energy pie, not destroying the 75% of existing energy and that's just one example. Indeed, we should be growing the whole economic pie, not just punishing one side versus another or tossing around phrases like "oppressors, or price-gougers, or evil rich people. "

Finally, think about this: it just kind of seems like the Bidens want to take away all sorts of things that so many Americans are used to and like because they work. Know what I'm talking about? The latest one is air conditioners. No good.  Before that is was gas-burning stoves. No good.  Before that it was toilets and showerheads, and gasoline-powered cars. People like this stuff and they ought to have choices. Biden wants to jam it down their throats.  


That's called command-and-control government, central planning and socialism. No wonder folks are so pessimistic. They yearn for the freedom that brings prosperity and happiness.  

This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow's opening commentary on the March 24, 2023, edition of "Kudlow."