OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
President Joe Biden’s trip to a diner in Raleigh, N.C., over the weekend did not turn out as well as his White House staffers hoped after someone noticed something on the menu.
The White House has been attempting to sell “Bidenomics” to the American people—the president’s basket of economic policies that he and the administration claim have greatly improved the lives of working-class Americans.
But the reality on the ground is much different.
“As of November 2023, 62% of consumers relied on their next paycheck to cover their monthly financial outflows, the PYMNTS and LendingClub survey said. These consumers also own nearly 60% of the credit cards in the U.S. Moreover, 80% of paycheck-to-paycheck consumers own at least two credit cards on average,” Fox Business reported in late December.
“The report also said that paycheck-to-paycheck cardholders are more than twice as likely as those not living paycheck-to-paycheck to carry a credit card balance over to the following month. Close to one-third said they reached their credit card limit, an average of $9,200, at least occasionally in the last year,” the outlet reported, citing the data.
In August, The Hill noted that a Lending Club survey found that 60 percent of American households were living from paycheck to paycheck, including 45 percent of those earning more than $100,000 per year.
All of this was laid bare in a single photo highlighted by a Republican state senator in North Carolina during Biden’s trip to a local eatery, per the UK’s Daily Mail.
After Biden delivered a speech about connecting rural communities to broadband, comparing it to FDR’s efforts to electrify all parts of the country, he dropped in at the Cook Out restaurant in Raleigh, where he ordered a “triple thick” chocolate and vanilla milkshake and a bacon cheeseburger with fries.
Biden visited another of the franchise’s restaurants in October 2020 during his first campaign. State Senate leader Phil Berger posted a side-by-side photo of that visit along with a photo of the restaurant’s menu today, which shows a big increase in the price of the tray Biden ordered.
In the 2020 photo, the menu pictured in the background showed the price of a Cookout tray, which was $5.99 at the time. In contrast, the picture taken Thursday showed an almost identical menu at the same restaurant now but it is now charging $7.69 for the Cookout tray, according to Newsweek.
“Thanks to #Bidenomics, a Cook Out tray costs 28% more than it did three years ago when Biden had his previous photo op,” Berger tweeted.
— Senator Berger Press Shop (@SenBergerPress) January 18, 2024
Other X platform users also joined in.
“A $100 grocery shop in 2019 now costs $125.81. #Bidenomics,” one user wrote.
“This is epic,” another tweeted. “Biden did a photo op at the same restaurant he ate at 3 years ago. Today’s menu clearly shows a 28% increase from 3 yrs ago. This hyperinflation was directly caused by Biden’s disastrous policies. Thank you Sen. Berger for noticing and posting this.”
“Celebrating that milkshake costing about 20% more than his last Cook Out visit!!!” wrote another user.
U.S. consumers have accumulated an additional $48 billion in credit card debt during the third quarter of 2023, bringing the total owed to $1.08 trillion, as noted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in a recent analysis of household debt.
While Biden has been touting his “Bidenomics” plans and insisting it has made the lives of Americans better, what consumers are telling pollsters is that the president’s policies caused them to spend less over the Christmas season and, in many cases, had them working more hours or working another job simply to afford the holidays.
In the December survey, a whopping 74 percent of the 1,000 people polled said that inflation has caused them to spend less this holiday season, and 31 percent said they are working more hours to afford it, Fox Business reported separately.
“The survey shows that over a third (34%) are trimming their budgets in favor of saving this year, while others are cutting back on buying gifts or non-essential expenses like dining out to stay on track,” Empower representative Courtney Burrell said to Fox Business.