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History As It Happens

Oct 26, 2023

Presidents like to take credit when the economy is booming or deflect blame when things turn sour. Despite plenty of positive economic news, polls show that President Biden's economic agenda -- and his repeated invocation of Bidenomics -- still aren't catching on with the American public, however. In this episode, Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon explains why ordinary Americans relate to Bidenomics differently than the White House does. Moreover, when it comes to the president's larger aim of ameliorating income inequality, Gordon contends that formidable, long-term structural changes in global capitalism and U.S. manufacturing stand in the way of creating a more even distribution of wealth. From 1870 to 1970, a slew of one-time innovations catalyzed economic growth. Since the 1970s, the decline of unions, increases in imports and immigration, poor educational outcomes at the bottom end of the economic spectrum, the effects of automation in destroying middle-income jobs, and the decline of purchasing power of the minimum wage have helped make income inequality worse.