Americans aren’t confident in Bidenomics

Consumer sentiment and inflation expectations are moving in the wrong direction as the election nears

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This is a big week for economic data:

  • Tuesday: April Producer Price Index

  • Wednesday: April Consumer Price Index and Retail Sales

These data dumps will guide the Federal Reserve’s next steps — and influence how people choose to show up at the ballot boxes in November.

As things stand, Americans are already feeling glum about the state of the economy.

Bidenomics look shakier than ever

President Joe Biden needs a new PR team. 

“Bidenomics” started as clever campaign marketing, but the word has become a catch-all criticism for everyday Americans feeling the sting of high inflation.

Despite the administration and the Federal Reserve’s insistence that inflation will cool in the coming months, Americans think otherwise. The latest University of Michigan consumer survey suggests Americans are over Bidenomics. 

The report showed sentiment tanked 13% in May compared to April, hitting its lowest level in six months. 

“Some consumers appear to be buckling under the weight of high interest rates and elevated prices,” Mark Hamrick, a senior analyst at Bankrate, told me. 

Source: University of Michigan

According to the Michigan survey, Americans believe unemployment, interest rates, and cost of living are all moving in the wrong direction.

Meanwhile, a new Financial Times survey showed 58% of voters disapprove of Biden’s economic policies, up from 55% last month.

Those reports do not even touch on the rising delinquency rates and reliance on credit cards. 

For the year ahead, consumers now predict inflation to hover at 3.5% — up from last month’s expectation for 3.2%. 

To that point, May 12 data from Kalshi shows markets now see just a 33% chance of one interest rate cut in 2024, and 27% chance of zero.

That’s down from January’s forecast for about five.

Source: Kalshi

Just last week Biden claimed in an interview with CNN that inflation was 9% when he took office.

Yet in January 2021, CPI actually hovered at 1.4%. 

It breached the 9% mark about 18 months later. 

While it is true that the labor market and economic growth have held up better than expected through the Fed’s rate-hiking cycle, policymakers haven’t won favor by saying as much. 

The disconnect is too stark.

No one wants to hear about robust macroeconomics when the price of eggs and orange juice skyrocket — and that’s bad news for Biden as ballots come due.

“Some view the would-be disconnect between sentiment, polling, and economic vitality as a conundrum,” Hamrick said.

Even though some Americans indeed continue to spend, he added that “the reality is that consumers express discontent with high prices, particularly the necessities of food and gasoline.”

*At a glance:

*Data as of Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET


  • Wall Street legend Jim Simons died on Friday. A pioneering mathematician, his flagship fund in his firm Renaissance Technologies produced average annual returns of 66% between 1988 and 2018. (WSJ)

  • Economic doomers are getting louder. Membership on the Reddit page “economiccollapse” has jumped 80% in two years. Forecasts of a grim future dominate among retail investors in the group. (Business Insider)

  • Tech giants are leaning into paying dividends. The shift to shareholder payouts shows just how strong companies like Meta and Alphabet really are — and investors love it. (Bloomberg)


  • Consumers are hurting, which means so are fast-casual restaurants (Bloomberg)

  • Investors with ties to China are piling into US tech startups meant to compete with China (WSJ)

  • Trump touted across-the-board tax cuts if he regains the Oval Office (Yahoo Finance)

  • China’s credit shrank in April for the first time amid slowdown in bond sales (Bloomberg)

  • Poor countries have had the best-performing bonds in sovereign debt markets this year (FT)

Last thing:

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