On March 11, President Joe Biden gave a White House address touting his administration’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. As it happened, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at another record high the day before. But about that Biden said not a word.
Had Donald Trump still been president, the stock market would have almost certainly topped his list of glorious achievements. We’d hear popping talk about how our 401(k)s are sizzling and how he is the reason. Sample tweet from August 2017: “Stock market at an all-time high. That doesn’t just happen!”
No, Biden spoke of “a collective suffering, a collective sacrifice, a year filled with the loss of life and the loss of living for all of us.” He spent a good deal of time on the anguish, but then he moved, happily, to his administration’s successes – boosting production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, recruiting armies to give the shots, getting the vaccines into pharmacies.
It was a relief to hear a Democratic president bragging out loud about his accomplishments. But the message must move away from pain to prosperity. Biden has started on that path by touting the massive COVID relief bill that’s sending checks to an overwhelmingly supportive public. His self-praise should expand to the stock market.
Democrats seem especially reluctant to use the stock market as a measure of their economic prowess. Under Barack Obama, the Dow hit record highs 118 times. Do you remember him ever talking about it?