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Better off?

I get text messages from the Biden campaign several times a day because I am what is called a SYBUNT, short for a donor who is "Some Year BUt Not This [Year]". I am exactly the target audience they should go after, but each message sends me into a tizzy.


The messages reiterate we are staring at an existential crisis, our democracy is in peril, the dark days are looming. I don't need messages about this. I read. I see. I know.


What irritates me is that the Biden campaign does little to highlight how we are better off now than four years ago. Those who are ditherering on voting blue need to hear this in a loop. The oversight aggravates me so much that I set out to research it for myself.


Let's tackle the elephant in the room.


The crisis at the southern border is the worst it's ever been. 3.2M people arrived at the border seeking asylum in 2023. The system is built to handle tens of thousands, not millions. Turning people away doesn't solve the problem; they simply try to enter illegally as we saw in the Covid crisis. A more creative solution than paroling is needed and under Biden the number of deportations is the lowest between the three most recent administrations. This is choking the intake process. But look, for all the huffing and puffing by you-know-who, his deportation numbers are worse than Obama's. And as we all know, Trump tanked the bipartisan immigration bill to score election year points. The border crisis remains Biden's Achilles heel. We need to vote blue across the board so immigration reform can happen in a humane way.



On to better news.


At the end of 2020, the NASDAQ index was at 12,888. Yesterday it ended at 16,049, near an all-time high. Only the deranged will see this as abysmal.


In a sign of a recovering economy, unemployment has plummeted from 6.7% in 2020 to 3.8%.


Conservatives point to the cost of borrowing as a sign of abject failure. Interest rate in 2020 was hovering at 3.11%. It is at 7.3% today which is not great but interest rate is inextricably tied to inflation. Trump pumped in 2T in stimulus money. Biden was right up there with 1.9T. Pumping money into the economy increased demand without increasing supply, which in turn led to higher prices. The pandemic further broke the supply chain causing havoc with the demand-supply equation and sending prices sky rocketing. The Fed increased interest rate to cool demand and rein in inflation. Since it's dropping under Biden, he gets full credit.


Talking about inflation, in 2020 it was at a healthy 1.23%. In 2021 it was at 7%. What preceded this? Trump's stimulus. Today it is at 3.15% despite the Biden stimulus. Do the math.


What got the economy back on track under Biden is the vaccine rollout. I will give kudos to the previous administration for fast-tracking the approval of the vaccine, but they made an epic mess of the rollout with anti-vax nonsense. In the week before the administration turned over in January 2020, average daily vaccine administration was at 900k. Under Biden that rose to 1.5M. Businesses flourished and more people returned to the workforce faster under Biden.


The Midwest's plight frequently drives my thoughts. Manufacturing output fell by 5.32% between 2019 and 2020 due to the pandemic. Under Biden, this statistic has risen by 11.99% and the total output - at 2,497B USD - is higher than before the pandemic.


In 2020, the US produced 11.3M barrels of crude oil per day. In December 2023, this was at 13.3M barrels per day. Renewable energy was 20% of total energy usage in 2020. Now it is at 24%.


We are innovating like never before as the stock market is clearly telling us. Unemployment is at pre-pandemic level and inflation is heading down. We avoided a full-scale recession and all indications point to lower interest rates soon. We are more compassionate at the border but there's serious work to be done there. We are more self-reliant on crude oil and we are taking care of the planet with renewable energy.


Yes, Biden is as old as the hills. Yes, Kamala Harris should be doing more impactful things. Yes, the Democrats fail to multitask on abortion, immigration and the economy. Still, the bottom line is we are better off now than four years ago. Plus, this administration hasn't torn down norms and institutions to build back the country after the microbial and political plagues that threatened our existence in 2020.


Vote blue out of fear if you must. I'd prefer we vote out of conviction.


Anybody listening in the Biden campaign's text message team? If not, that primal scream is me melting down when I get your next fear-laden text message.


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