Opinion: Biden’s problems started with the uninspired people he surrounded himself with

As President Joe Biden addresses the State of the Union, his presidency is in trouble.

Its job approval ratings are woefully low and its main achievement – ​​the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – is overshadowed by the failure to pass Bring Back Better, and inflation, l Afghanistan, Urban Crime and the Failure of Diplomacy in Ukraine.

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The Infrastructure Act was mostly the work of moderate Republican and Democratic senators and that reflects what is wrong with the Biden presidency. His candidacy was not based on a government vision, but rather on the fact that he was neither Bernie Sanders nor Donald Trump.

Out of ideas

To govern, he has praised the hard left’s progressive agenda and chosen top officials whose CVs tick the usual boxes but lack innovative ideas on how to achieve their goals.

Vice President Kamala Harris has been tasked with settling the southern border crisis. As with most issues, she seems more concerned with politics than substance and accomplishes little. Often she doesn’t do her homework and then blames the staff for her poor performance.

Newspaper Editorial Report: Joe Biden Still Pushing Massive Build Back Better Spending. Images: Reuters/Bloomberg/Getty Images Composition: Mark Kelly

Biden has been warned his stimulus package is far too big, and now the country is saddled with historically high inflation, falling real wages and many of the benefits of asset bubbles that lead to bigger salaries for investment bankers , private capital and high-tech executives.

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell were unperceptive about the role of the Fed’s balance sheet in spreading inflation. They are embracing the kind of gradualism that Arthur Burns pursued to help re-elect Richard Nixon – which ultimately drove double-digit inflation and helped defeat Jimmy Carter.

chaotic foreign policy

Afghanistan debacle reflects Biden’s political motive to get troops out by 20and anniversary of the World Trade Center bombing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s bizarre idea that he could negotiate with terrorists, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s failure to warn Americans of the likelihood that the he Afghan army does not repel the Taliban.

When it comes to Ukraine, Biden and Blinken and allied leaders gave Russian President Vladimir Putin much of what he wanted: lots of attention, saying NATO forces would not be directly involved and by not equipping Ukraine and the Eastern European allies with offensive weapons.

Putin repeatedly claimed he would not invade and lied to French President Emmanuel Macron in launching his attack while the two leaders were engaged in intense talks.

If Putin can attack Kyiv and threaten other Eastern European capitals, President Volodymyr Zelensky and our allies should have the wherewithal to inflict terrible damage on Russian assets on Russian soil.

Sanctions with the sharpest teeth possible are needed, even those that cost the West dearly by completely excluding Russia from Western trade, investment and the financial system. Russian natural gas and other commodities can be replaced at a higher cost for Russia than for the EU.

Even if NATO reached a diplomatic agreement to end hostilities without pledging not to add new members, NATO would still refrain from any expansion. Europeans know that Putin can move his military machine from Ukraine to the borders of the Baltic states.

Moreover, the United States and NATO would implicitly recognize the legitimacy of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and parts of Ukraine.

Untrustworthy Regime

Biden tells us that competing with China is the first task, but the dollars from his bilateral trade surplus help fund Chinese industry, R&D, military modernization, and Belt and Road soft power.

The idea that America can compete with China in industry and commerce and cooperate on climate change and pandemics absolutely fails to recognize that we are dealing with a totally untrustworthy regime that pursues large-scale atrocities. in Xinjiang.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo fills my inbox with news of her attendance at crucial meetings, but with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has no credible and comprehensive industry and trade policies to disengage from China and significantly reduce the bilateral trade deficit.

Defense Secretary Austin has yet to develop a comprehensive strategy to reconfigure and modernize the navy to deal with Beijing’s growing threat to Taiwan and security in the Western Pacific.

Austin and Biden offer no plan to counter threats to the American homeland and fleet from Russian and Chinese hypersonic missiles, anti-satellite weapons and cyberattacks.

Blinken, Austin, Raimondo, Tai, Powell and Yellen make for a great group photo, but they simply lack the imagination to meet the nation’s challenges beyond, perhaps, the Treasury’s aspiration to create an international corporate tax cartel.

In just 13 months, the Biden administration has managed to drive down the average American’s real wage, enrich the wealthiest in business, and embolden our enemies.

Peter Morici is an economist and emeritus professor of business at the University of Maryland, and a national columnist

Learn more about the State of the Union:

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