My First (And Probably Last) Sermon

Last Sunday (July 30) All Souls Episcopal Church was in a desperate situation. Our last rector had walked out in a huff some time ago,  our interim rector had recently taken a new job, and no “supply priests” were available. Our Junior Warden bravely stepped up to lead the service and asked me if I would take on the sermon–or “reflection on the Gospel” as he called it. To my surprise, I enthusiastically accepted. It is true that I had received a Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1968. It is also true that Embry and I have hung in as loyal church people for all these years, but no one had ever asked me to preach a sermon. And for good reason. With regard to  theological matters,  I am  something of an outlier. But these were desperate times.

I did not know what the Gospel reading was until two days before the service. It turned out to be  five parables in the Gospel of Matthew, which talk about what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. (Matthew 13:24-33) Oh my goodness, I thought, how on earth could I ever talk about that? The Kingdom of Heaven was described by Matthew as a mustard seed, yeast, a treasure hidden in a field, fine pearls, and a fish net with the bad fish thrown into a furnace of fire. 

Here is what I came up with:

This reading is about the “Kingdom of Heaven.” What does Matthew mean by “The Kingdom of Heaven”? He uses the term over 30 times and is the only gospel writer to use that term. Mark and Luke use the term “Kingdom of God.” Are they the same? Matthew also uses the term “Kingdom of God” but only eight times, so there must be a difference in his thinking, and scholars have spent many hours wrestling with this question.

So, here are the questions that pop up…

  • How is the kingdom of heaven a mustard seed?
  • How is it like yeast?
  • Or how is it a treasure hidden in a field?
  • Or a merchant in search of fine pearls?
  • Or a net thrown into the sea with good fish and bad fish with the bad fish thrown out? And if we are bad fish at the end of the age, angels will come and throw us into the furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth?

Recalling my days as a student at Union Seminary in NYC, I spent a good bit of time preparing for this “reflection” going over commentaries by dozens of Biblical scholars. There does not seem to be any consensus on the meaning of the Kingdom of Heaven parables. The conservative scholars tend to argue that the meaning of the parables is that if we are not true followers of Jesus, we will burn in hell. The more liberal scholars are more nuanced but to me not convincing. These parables of the Kingdom of Heaven—at least for me–remain a mystery.

But there are some clues to making some sense of this.

First, do not make the mistake of thinking that the experience of the writers of what became the New Testament was  like the experience of us 21st Century humans.

Keep in mind that the Gospel of Matthew was written after the fall of the temple in 70 CE. (Mark was written first probably about 10 years earlier. Luke came 10-15 years later and the Gospel of John much later, probably just before the turn of the century.) The Gospel of Matthew is the only synoptic gospel to use parables to describe heaven.

And all the gospels relied on stories and oral history. The vast majority of people could not read or write, no more than between 3% and 5%. There is nothing written by Jesus, and many scholars believe he was illiterate. Except possibly for Mark when he was very young, none of the writers knew Jesus.

In other words, it can be dangerous to think that what was written over 2,000 years ago necessarily applies to our postmodern world in a literal way. Sometimes it is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

And the world at the time of Jesus was a very different place from what it is now. No video games, no smart phones, no computers, no AI. No Kepler, Hubble or Web telescopes.

But the questions of the meaning of life are just as real now, as I suspect they were then—perhaps more so. And the story of Jesus has resonated over the centuries providing clues to the answers.

Ultimately, the religious quest to find answers involves mystery, and this includes Christianity. We humans are hard wired to ask the question “why.” Why are we here on this planet? A small, blue planet in a run-of-the-mill solar system in a nondescript galaxy.

 Astronomers with the help of the Hubble, Kepler and Web telescopes now estimate there are over 100 billion stars in our galaxy and over 200 billion galaxies in the universe. A significant number of scientists now believe our universe is simply one of an infinite number of universes, which they call “the multiverse.” Astronomers estimate that there are in our galaxy alone over six billion rocky planets, about the same size as the planet Earth, which orbit their star in the “Goldilocks zone” where it is not too hot or too cold—the same kind of conditions that allowed our planet to develop life.

If understanding what this all means is impossible for us humans today, it was surely the case 2,000 years ago when everyone believed the Earth was flat and the sun and stars circulated around it, and that all of creation happened in six days. Trying to understand the world and the universe and our place in it and what it all means, I believe, is where science and religion begin to merge.

 And the big questions we ask today are what humans have been asking from time immemorial– what is the ultimate meaning of our lives? Of life itself? Why does evil exist? And how do we connect with the Divine, the spiritual dimension of life “which passes all understanding”?

So, is there even such a thing as heaven? Christianity seems to be clear on this. The creeds we say tell us that yes, there is eternal life and there is a heaven where  life continues (in some form) in the presence of God. But the skeptics in the room would ask, ok, where is it. Over 2,000 years ago when the New Testament was written, of course, there was no understanding of what all those twinkling lights overhead in a clear sky meant or why they were there. The powerful new telescopes we have now may show us distant galaxies, but no specific place that we could call heaven.

Perhaps we are framing the question wrong when we think of heaven as some kind of specific place where we—or at least some of us—supposedly go after we die. Rather, perhaps it is a dimension of life where we get hints of the Devine  in our Earthly lives– if we pay attention.  This dimension of human experience—the experience of the Divine– is present and accessible in the here and now– something we can experience while we are alive—in a mysterious way. It is a feeling of connectedness with something far greater than we can begin to articulate but deep down know is real.

In other words, heaven can best be described as  connection with the Divine, for some rarely experienced in their lives on Earth but still real, and for others a more central part of their lives. And where faith comes in is the belief—and hope– that in some mysterious way this connection with the Divine will continue even after we die.

And who is to say definitively that in this vast, expanding universe, a relationship with God, the Creator, is not possible? Who is to say that there is no such thing as a spiritual dimension to life? Who is to say that there is no eternal aspect of this spiritual dimension? The fact is no one knows all the answers. How do we explain the Big Bang? How do we make sense out of the over 100 billion stars in our galaxy? How do we make sense out of the over 200 billion galaxies in the universe, and that just maybe our universe is part of a multiverse? These become religious questions alongside the scientific ones.

Could there be room in this vast universe for something we humans call heaven? Could there be room for something we call eternal life? This is where faith comes into the picture. And as long as we are alive on this small, blue planet, the answer will be shrouded  in mystery. But where there is mystery, there is also room for hope.







Advice to Dems: How to Bring Back the White Working Class

The polls tell us the Democrats have lost a large share of what used to be part of our base—white people (a majority being men) with no college degree, in other words the white working class. Many evangelicals, subject of my last blog post, fall into this category. For the reasons noted in my last blog post, a large percentage of the white working class has bolted to Trump and are now MAGAs. While it is unrealistic to think that we will be able to bring a huge number back—especially the evangelicals with their culture war agenda– every vote counts. Plus, other than providing a platform for airing complaints about the world, the country, the economy, Hunter Biden, wokeness, DEI, the President, and all Democrats, the Republicans have no message or platform. There is nothing positive or hopeful in anything they say or do.

Most important, Republicans have done nothing to help working class, lower income people. Their trickle-down economic policies favor the rich and the privileged. The Republican message is a classic bait and switch: vote for us if you hate the liberal elites, the privileged, and the woke agenda, but don’t ask us questions about how the trickle-down policies championed by us Republicans helps you.

We Democrats have done a poor job of promoting how we are for the Little Guy. But despite all the complaining by Republicans, under President Biden the Democrats in Congress have accomplished a lot in Biden’s first 30 months.

Here is what the Dems need to do to recapture the white working class (or at least some of them):

  1. Broadcast the accomplishments under Biden which help the struggling working class:
    • Lowered healthcare and drug costs (part of the Inflation Reduction Act).
    • Job creation in fighting climate change (also in the Inflation Reduction Act). Over nine million new, good paying jobs will be created over the next decade, many blue collar.
    • Huge investments in mental health (part of the Safer Communities Act)
    • Huge investments in American Industry and Manufacturing focusing on high tech manufacturing like microchips, which also produce good paying, blue collar jobs (the CHIPS and Science Act).
    • Massive help to working families during and post covid. (The American Rescue Plan) This act provided $1,400 to most working families and expanded the child tax credit payments plus provided billions for beefed up unemployment benefits, food assistance, subsidies to small businesses, and money for rental and childcare assistance.
    • Creation of construction jobs through new infrastructure projects in every state. Almost 7,000 specific projects will happen this year and beyond, and some Republicans are even bragging about this to their constituents even though they voted against the bill. (The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act). Over the next several years 2,800 bridges will be repaired, 3,000 airports expanded, the power grid modernized, resulting in thousands of new, good paying jobs.
    • Financial assistance to over 15 million households to enable them to get high speed internet. Republicans who voted against this are also taking credit for the subsidies in their rural red states.
    • Reduction in the cost of gas and energy costs for everyone by releasing oil from the National Strategic Reserve. Without this action, gas prices would have gone through the roof.
    • Improved healthcare for veterans affected by Burn Pits. (PACT Act) affecting over 3.5 million veterans.
    • Steps toward making Big Business and Fat Cats pay their fair share by establishing minimum taxes that all profitable, big corporations now must pay.

Most working people either do not know about or have forgotten these accomplishments. And Biden gets poor marks on how he has handled the economy.  A majority of Americans think that the economy is in bad shape, and many say they think a recession is beginning. These attitudes are due to  the negative messages by Republicans and rightwing media. They are deceiving and inaccurate.

We Dems have done a bad job in setting the record straight. Unemployment remains near historic lows, and the incomes of lower paying jobs have increased over 20 percent during the Biden Administration—the first significant increase in 40 years. Yes, inflation has been a factor, but our inflation is lower than the experience of most developed countries, and at last it appears to be going down and getting close to the Fed target.

Come on, Democrats! Get the message out. Let working class Americans know the truth—let all Americans know what has been accomplished. Hey, Joe Biden and the Democrats have done a great job given the hand they were dealt!

Now there are other important things that have been accomplished under Biden like stronger gun safety laws, reforming the US Postal Service, the Respect for Marriage Act protecting same sex and interracial marriages, protecting women from domestic violence (Violence Against Women Act), appointing the first black woman to the Supreme Court, pardoning people from simple marijuana possession charges,  standing firm behind Ukraine, helping unite NATO, and policies to fight global warming. These accomplishments also are important but not the most important message to the alienated, white working class, which is this: “It’s the economy stupid”: jobs, jobs, jobs.

  1. Present a clear and compelling vision of the future and how this vision will help working people.

 Identify the major initiatives that Biden and the Dems hope to accomplish in a second term. Most important in my thinking would be these:

    • Tax Reform reducing income inequality and cutting the deficit. The big hitters must pay their fair share.
    • Continuing initiatives spurring job growth.
    • Support for Education Reform and education equity including free community colleges and expanding trade skills and apprenticeships.
    • Strengthening labor unions.
    • A national minimum wage that makes sense and is a living wage. The current $7.25/hour is so far out of line that it is rarely even used anymore.
    • Breaking up the monopolies and encouraging more competition.
    • Expanding support for working families including affordable childcare and funding more affordable housing.
    • Continued focus on curbing climate change.
    • Fair elections and strengthening the election process—and assuring democracy will survive.
    • Efforts to bring the American people together. (I know, fat chance.)

All these initiatives could benefit from being simplified around themes and “grand ideas,” which I will leave to the experts. (Remember the New Deal, the Square Deal, the New Frontier, and the Great Society?) Biden has gotten a good start by his expanding the economy “from the middle out and the bottom up.”

  1. Challenge Republicans to Offer Alternatives.

The biggest weakness of the Republicans is that they do not have an economic plan. Traditional conservatives promoted trickle-down economics, but the MAGAs do not appear to have any plan at all. Their focus is all about culture wars. Make them show their hand and tell the American people what they are actually for, other than fighting culture wars.

  1. Go to the mat on culture war issues that Democrats can win and downplay the ones we can’t.

Despite how awful the Trump-packed Supreme Court is today, they have embraced two culture war issues where the Democrats can win white working class votes: unreasonable restrictions on abortions and affirmative action based on class/income rather than race. Now I am not suggesting that we Dems abandon racial equality and civil rights issues or that I agree with the Supreme Court decision, but rather this is an opportunity to expand the issue of justice and fairness to social class and income. This will be tricky, and expert help will be needed to get it right. And as for abortions most Americans are uncomfortable with the draconian restrictions that are now in place in many red states. We can beat the Republicans on the abortion controversy.

We should not retreat from sexuality issues either, just not make a big deal of them at this time if we want to get the white working class vote. The key is to fight hard on the culture war issues we can win and where Republicans are weak.

I am sure focus groups with working class voters will be used a lot and probably are already underway. There may be other areas like gun safety that might have support, especially from working class women. 

  1. Make the election about saving democracy.

I know, it sounds dramatic. I also concede that this may not be a big winner with the working class voter, especially those who are hard core MAGAs, who will never vote for a Democrat anyway. Yet the message of saving democracy is probably the most important of all. On January 6. 2021 and all the failed, stolen election accusations that followed, we came a hair’s breadth from losing it.

Paint the Republicans as extremists, which they are. Their  anti abortion and  anti gender identity initiatives are not popular with a majority of the American people. I know their anti woke and anti DEI issues have more support, but still  I believe the majority of Americans want us to make progress in these areas. They do not want to see extremists from the Left or the Right imposing their values on the rest of us. 

We find ourselves at a time in history where we are dangerously close to losing democracy as we have known it and that we have taken for granted. What if Pence have caved on January 6 and had sent the election results back to conservative state legislatures to decide? What if the mob had hung him and Nancy Pelosi as some say they intended?

We do not know who the Republican candidate will be, but even if it is not Trump, DeSantis and most of the others could be as bad or worse. It certainly will be the highest stakes election in my lifetime.

And there is one more thing, which applies to all target audiences not just the white working class: Give Kamala Harris more exposure to the American public. Biden is old, and age is an issue for many, like it or not. If DeSantis or another younger person is the Republican candidate, it will be a huge issue. People will be quietly wondering who Kamala Harris really is; and if the worst happens, does she have what it takes to take over should Biden not make it.

However, despite the ominous clouds on the horizon, as one who tends to be pessimistic from time to time, I am leaning optimistic on the next election and on the future of our country. I believe that if Biden and the Democrats can mount effective campaigns, the Democrats will win the Presidency, and we have a good shot at taking both Houses. I believe we will move forward as a country and as a planet, despite the grave threats of global warming.

Of course, nothing is a given, and all kinds of things could happen before the election (and after). What if Biden has a serious health issue? What if the Ukraine War widens into involving NATO, or if the Russians take over Ukraine? Or in desperation Putin pulls the nuclear trigger? What if the adversarial posture with China worsens? What if natural disasters due to global warming become far worse than expected? What if another pandemic arrives? What if the extremist, hate groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers grow and become more violent? And what about AI and how that will affect our lives? What if? What if…?

Yes, we face big challenges, but I am optimistic we will come through them. The future generations of Americans who will be taking the baton from the Silent Generation and the Boomers offer great hope. We humans are resourceful when we put ourselves into tackling tough challenges, have good leadership, and work together. And Lord have mercy, there are plenty of problems to solve.

Some years ago, I remember talking to a good friend, a classmate from Union Seminary and a famous civil liberties lawyer, now retired, who said this: “The thing that I fear most about dying is not being around to see what happens next.” Now as an octogenarian I know exactly what he meant.



Why Are White Evangelicals Overwhelmingly Supporting Trump?

Over a decade ago, before the MAGA movement and The Donald, I had a warm spot in my heart for evangelicals. Once while deplaning in San Juan on my way to a week of sailing in the British Virgin Islands, I was sitting a few rows behind a large group of teenagers who were all wearing bright red “Jesus Saves” t-shirts and white hats with the sign of the cross. Their leader, a guy in his mid 40s, about my age at the time, and dressed like his charges, saw me and headed toward me, smiling broadly. He embraced me with vigor and proclaimed, “I love you, brother, I love you!”

How nice, I thought, but good heavens, what is going on?

“Your shirt,” he said. “We are brothers.”

I was wearing a shirt with the insignia “Amazing Grace” on the front pocket. I sheepishly thanked him but could not help telling him that “Amazing Grace” was the name of my sailboat.

“Oh,” he responded with an embarrassed look. “Well, I guess I love you anyway.” Then he quickly returned to his group.

While my religious beliefs are about as far a as you can get from what evangelicals believe, I admit that in those days of innocence I appreciated their enthusiasm, commitment, joy, sincerity, and authenticity. If they got involved in rightwing extremist politics, I was not aware of it. And for me anyway, they seemed like basically good people. Many probably still are. (Remember Hillary’s unfortunate comment that all who support Trump are not “deplorables”?)

So why have so many white evangelicals become MAGAs? Why do so many believe that the election was stolen? Why do many support the January 6 insurrectionists? Why do some carry arms and threaten to use them? Somewhere along the line, something happened. Of course, it is not just evangelicals who support Trump. Afterall, he got almost half the vote in the last election. Yet evangelicals are the religious group that has jumped in whole hog.

The answer to the question of why so many are following Trump is that their behavior has little to do with their religious beliefs. It has to do with their human nature. We humans are a flawed species. Homo sapiens may be at the top of the food chain, but we are still creatures like every other mammal.

 What do our brothers and sister creatures of the animal world do when they feel threatened? They—and we— do one or more of three things:

  • We run away and hide. Maybe it’s not under a rock, but it is some safe haven to avoid a predator or unfriendly creature. When we recently adopted our seventh–and I suspect last—cat, it took us three days to find out where he was hiding, and our two bedroom apartment is not all that big. (He was behind the luggage in a closet we hardly ever use.) This instinct, for example, is what drives immigration.
  • We fight back. Think about what lions or tigers do when cornered. They roar and swat. Before we humans figured out how to use spears and rocks for weapons, a good roar from a lion or tiger fighting back usually meant a good meal to follow, but that was many thousands of years ago. This instinct, however, remains with us humans.
  • We group together and follow the leadership of an Alpha Male. This is what our closest ancestors, the Great Apes, still do. Many other species do as well. We humans are essentially herd animals. Without strong leadership, countries fall; and when a country has a terrible leader, the results are often catastrophic. With strong leaders, we humans tend to fall in line. When they turn out to be authoritarian and oppressive, that is when things can go south very quickly. Think of rulers over the centuries that have done great damage. Think of authoritarian leaders in our lifetimes– Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Franco, Mussolini, Castro, Kim Jon Un, Putin, and Xi. The list is long.

In other words, while evangelicals and other people of faith may claim that religious beliefs and Christian faith are their primary motivator, they are wrong. When feeling threatened, we run and hide, we fight back, or we form groups and follow an Alpha Male. Often we do all three.  Evangelicals and other MAGAs are only doing what  humans do when threatened.

(Yes, it can go both ways. With strong, compassionate, and enlightened leaders, our better and gentler nature can come out. Think of Gandhi, Mandela, Churchill, both Roosevelts, Kennedy, King, and Obama. That list is also long. Unfortunately, that is not what is happening with the MAGAs.)

So why are evangelicals feeling threatened?

It has more to do with social class and education than with belief in God or adherence to religious dogma.  It has to do with feeling they have been left behind by social changes over which they have little control. The primary factor—but certainly not the only factor—for white, working class supporters of Trump is that they have had to compete with minorities for good paying jobs with benefits. The old jobs which used to be secure and paid a living wage are diminishing. Lifestyles have also changed, and social norms have been turned upside down. They see a country where white people will soon cease to be the majority and where “unacceptable behavior” on sexuality issues abound. Churches of all types have lost members, and it is harder to claim we are a Christianity country. They see a country run by the rich and the liberal elite, who they believe look down their noses at them. They believe they have been dealt a bad hand and are mad about it. The shared grievances of those in the white working class and others who feel threatened by social change are what unites them. It has little to do with religious beliefs.

They have found in Donald Trump their Alpha Male leader. Trump is not the cause, just an immoral opportunist who has been able to exploit the anger of those who feel cornered to advance his own ambitions.

However, the America the MAGAs want to make great again is history. As they say, “That train has done left the station.” We are not going to return to the “good old days” of Jim Crow, segregated housing, segregated schools, segregated institutions, and intolerance of people who are different from us in race, ethnicity, immigration status, or sexuality. We are not going to return to Victorian era manners and decorum.

The election of 2024 will determine the outcome of the path our country chooses to follow. There is no assurance right now as to how it will turn out.

Stay  tuned for a follow up on what the Dems need to do…..

Back to Politics: Bidenomics


Did you see Biden’s Chicago speech on “Bidenomics,” which happened last Wednesday, June 28? I happened to turn on the TV around noon just to check on what was going on in the world just as his speech was starting. I watched the whole thing and thought it was terrific.

Now we all know that Biden is not an inspiring speaker. Now in his 80s, his voice is hoarse, and he tends to slur words and occasionally stumble through sentences. Part of this may be due to his childhood stutter, which he has struggled with in the past and mostly overcome, and part to his age.

(I am nine months older than he is and know what aging is like. Would I consider a run for president, assuming incorrectly that I was qualified? Heavens no! Nor would anyone I know who is my age, but, hey, we are not going there in this blog post.)

In any event, Biden is surely no John Kennedy or Barack Obama. However, if you can get past his delivery and listen to what he is saying, he often makes sense. And in my view, he has been an effective and good president. Actually, taking into consideration the hand he was dealt with all the MAGA backlash and Republican Trump-sycophants and election deniers, I would say he has been a great president. And in this speech on economics, I believe he nailed it. We Dems finally may have a message which might be a compelling rallying cry going forward.

So what is Bidenomics? This was originally a derogatory term, coined by the Wall Street Journal when referring to Biden’s economic policies, which they despise. The scary thing for us Democrats is that polls currently show a majority of Americans agreeing with the Wall Street Journal, think our economy is in bad shape, and give Biden low marks on his economic agenda and on his presidency. Not fair if you ask me but also not a good sign if you are trying to get reelected. The Biden speech on Wednesday transformed the negative and pejorative meaning of the word to a positive one and directly challenged the Republicans on the economy.  He compared Bidenomics with the “Trickle Down Economics” of the Republican Party. Here were his main points:

  • Biden’s economic agenda, Bidenomics, involves funding large projects which address our aging infrastructure like roads, bridges, and mass transit, which among other things create good paying jobs for blue collar workers. It means making investments in new technologies like microchips. It means funding climate change initiatives like wind and solar farms, which also produce new, green jobs. And it means getting the rich to pay their fair share to support these programs and social programs for the disadvantaged.

 Miraculously, in an era of extreme division along party lines, Biden was able to get enough support from Republicans to get three major laws passed–the Inflation Reduction Act, a huge infrastructure bill, and the CHIPS Act. These legislative accomplishments are just beginning to produce tangible results that will help average Americans. During Biden’s 30 months in office, 13 million new jobs have already been created. Despite dire forecasts, the economy has grown at two a percent this year, higher than expectations of around 1.5%.  Over 800,000 new manufacturing jobs have been created– more than double in two years what happened under Trump in four years.

  • The Republican’s alternative to Bidenomics is Trickle Down Economics, which has been the Republican approach starting in 1980 under Reagan and continuing under every Republican president. This approach subsidizes big business and the wealthy by cutting income taxes for the rich and for corporations, cutting regulations, getting rid of inheritance taxes, while assuring the average American that somehow the benefits will “trickle down” to ordinary people. Biden proclaimed that this has not worked.

I fully agree with Biden on this. Trickle Down Economics has produced billionaires but hurt ordinary people, who have gained very little in inflation adjusted income. Many good jobs have been shipped overseas while corporate profits have soared. The average income for working families has remained stagnant since 1980 when adjusted for inflation while the incomes of the top 10 percent have skyrocketed. In 2021 the median wage was just under $57,000. In 1980 in today’s dollars, it was $54,000. The difference in pay between CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies and the average worker in these companies was about 50 to 1 through the 1970s, a number that was considered high at the time. Now it is more than 200 to 1. For all corporations it is even higher—400 to 1. Now the gulf between the rich and most Americans is the most extreme in U.S. history.

The huge $1.5 trillion tax cut passed under Trump in 2017 did not produce huge numbers of new jobs or help his base. It created more wealth for the rich. To cover the cost of public investments which produce good paying jobs and grow the economy and to reduce deficits, tax revenues need to be increased—but not on  households with incomes below $400,000 under Biden’s plan. Bidenomics targets the  super rich and the big corporations. They are not paying their fair share. CEOs of a Fortune 500 Company typically pay a smaller percentage of their incomes for taxes than their secretaries and security guards. This is not right. Under Bidenomics the super rich and the big corporations would pay their fair share producing funds to reduce the deficit and to encourage economic growth and fund important new initiatives like subsidies to fund childcare and affordable housing.

  • Bidenomics is also about strengthening labor unions and giving the average working class American more power. Trickle Down Economics is all about keeping wages low, profits high. It has done and will do little to help the average worker.

The best thing about the speech for me was the mantra Biden used many times in his speech: Bidenomics expands the economy “from the middle out and from the bottom up,” not from the top down!

Biden did not talk much about inflation, which, of course, has been the huge downside to the post covid, economic recovery made in the last two years. Inflation, however, has started to go down, now averaging around 4.5%, but it still has a long way to go to get to the Fed target of 2-3%.

Will Biden’s populist message make a difference to white people without a college degree and to many in the white working class who have moved into the Trump camp? Doubtful. For the time being the Republicans seem to have abandoned any serious talk about the economy—except to harp on inflation, balancing the budget, and reducing the deficit. Their focus is on divisive social issues—anti woke, anti LGBTQ, anti-trans, anti-abortion, anti-affirmative action, anti-books that talk about racism or sexuality, anti-climate change initiatives, anti immigration, and anti-essentially all progressive programs. Scariest of all is the autocratic leaning of the  Republican party. In 2024 democracy itself may be at risk.

While it is not a sure thing that Trump will be Biden’s opponent—he could be in jail by the election—the other contenders are not a whole lot better, and some like DeSantis are even scarier.

But the “build the economy from the middle out and the bottom up ”is a great slogan and a good start, and Bidenomics is surely a better direction than another round of Trickle Down. Way to go, Joe!