OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A new report spells more trouble for President Joe Biden and is likely contributing to his worsening poll numbers and approval ratings.
According to a LendingClub report, some 60 percent of Americans are now living paycheck-to-paycheck as the holiday shopping season approaches, as inflation and gas prices both remain higher than they were when Biden took office.
In addition, the report found that 4 in 10 consumers now consider themselves worse off than they were in 2022, CNBC reported, citing LendingClub’s data.
The report was compiled in October, just a month before the holiday shopping season kicked in.
“This year, holiday spending during the Thanksgiving week may hit a record as consumers try to maximize the weekend’s deals, according to a 2023 Deloitte Black Friday-Cyber Monday survey. Spending over the week is expected to jump 13% from last year, with shoppers shelling out $567 on average, Deloitte found,” CNBC reported.
Meanwhile, according to a separate TD Bank survey, credit card debt has again topped $1 trillion, while “almost all — or 96% — of shoppers said they expect to overspend this season,” CNBC reported, adding:
Half of consumers plan to take on more debt to pay for holiday expenses, another report by Ally Bank found. Only 23% have a plan to pay it off within one to two months.
Some 74% of Americans say they are stressed about finances, according to a separate CNBC Your Money Financial Confidence Survey conducted in August. Inflation, rising interest rates, and a lack of savings contribute to those feelings.
That CNBC survey found that 61% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, up from 58% in March.
In addition, many American households have tapped into their savings over the past few months to get by, according to LendingClub and other reports. And more than one-third said they will likely use their savings even more to cover their holiday spending, per LendingClub.
“While consumers have found a way to manage through inflation, it’s concerning that many plan to tap into savings, and even exceed their budgets, to finance their holiday purchases, which may leave them vulnerable to an unexpected emergency,” said Alia Dudum, LendingClub’s money expert, per CNBC.
The Biden administration has regularly touted the president’s economic policies, collectively dubbed “Bidenomics,” as “working,” even though Americans increasingly feel the pinch as their paychecks are stretched to the limit and their savings dwindle. The cost of housing and automobiles has risen dramatically as well, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s hiking of interest rates to tame inflation.
In late October, a poll showed that only 39 percent of voters in four key swing states—Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina—have confidence in the president’s ability to handle the economy, RealClearPolitics reported.
Steve Cortes, the chairman and founder of the League of American Workers, said in a column posted to the site that the reason 77 percent of the voters surveyed said that the nation is on the wrong track is because of the economy.
Of the 39 percent that had a favorable opinion of the president’s handling of the economy, a mere 9 percent said they gave him “strong approval.”
“So, despite the propaganda of media apologists and cherry-picking of a small set of data points that appear temporarily uplifting, voters clearly understand their tough economic slog and place blame squarely upon Biden and his allies,” the author said.
“In fact, in separate polling from Gallup going back seven decades, Republicans have never before enjoyed a larger edge on the primary issue of the day, the economy. Combining that survey with this new LAW poll in battleground states, the harsh reality of economic anxiety becomes clearer, especially for citizens of modest means,” he said.
“Our new poll revealed, for example, just how worried workers are about the erosion of their earning power and their subsequent inability to pay soaring housing costs for rents or mortgages.
“In these four states, fully 39% of voters said that ‘Income Erosion’ was a top concern regarding the effects of systemic, punishing inflation. Americans work harder to afford less, as evidenced by the crushing 24 straight months of declining real wages under Biden, meaning pay adjusted for the costs of the goods and services of life,” he said.