Black Friday spend-a-thon doesn’t lift gloom about economy

Nearly 200 million American shoppers took advantage of deals over Thanksgiving weekend and broke spending records of previous years.

On Black Friday alone, shoppers spent at least $9.6 billion, while spending on Cyber Monday was the highest it’s ever been, with around $12.4 billion in purchases, as the Deseret News reported.

The White House is happy to take credit for the return of the ready-to-spend consumer, while pointing to the success of “Bidenomics,” the nickname for President Joe Biden’s economic plan, even though voters have only grown more pessimistic about the economy.


Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jared Bernstein noted the consumer spending trends, including on Black Friday, that are “driving the economy forward,” in an interview on Fox News.

“We are moving in the right direction. We’ve got more work to do for it to reach average Americans, who by the way, are telling us through their consumer behavior that they’re feeling pretty good about their own financial conditions,” Bernstein said.

Last Monday — the same day Biden pardoned the national Thanksgiving turkey — White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted inflation was slowing and record consumer spending in the lead-up to Thanksgiving was proof.

“As we start preparing our Thanksgiving meals, grocery inflation is at its lowest level in over two years, with prices for eggs, milk, bacon and fresh veggies lower than last year,” she said in her press briefing on Nov. 20.

She cited the American Farm Bureau’s annual Thanksgiving dinner cost tracker, saying, “Prices are down for turkey, stuffing, peas, cranberries, pie crust and whipping cream.”

“Because wages are rising, this Thanksgiving dinner is the fourth-cheapest ever as a percentage of average earnings,” Jean-Pierre said.

This record spending coincides with credit card debit reaching nearly $1.08 trillion, the highest since the Federal Reserve Bank started tracking it in 1999.

EJ Antoni, a research fellow for the Heritage Foundation, specializing in fiscal policy, blamed the Biden administration for the 40-year-high credit card debt.

“As prices rose much faster than wages, people’s purchasing power, or what they can buy with their earnings, plummeted,” he wrote in an article. “To make ends meet, Americans resorted to buying necessities, like groceries, with credit cards.”

Wells Fargo economists in their latest report said spending levels over Thanksgiving weekend are expected to last through the end of the year, before slowing down in early 2024. Rising housing costs, interest rates and credit debt paired with lower savings could play a role in this shift.

Wells Fargo economists said inflation is receding, but, they also noted overall declining consumer confidence in the economy, as the Deseret News reported.

Recent polling also suggests American voters aren’t happy with “Bidenomics.” One October survey from Bloomberg News found that only 26% of voters from swing states approved of Biden’s economic policies while 51% said the economy was better under former President Donald Trump.

The latest Fox News poll found that three-quarters of voters say the economy is in bad shape. Around 66% said they don’t see any signs of improvement.

Even Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee has chimed in, saying on Sunday, “Have you had enough of Bidenomics?” in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.


In another post on Nov. 15, the Utah senator said the whole country is taking “intro Bidenomics and class is terrible!” Alongside, he attached a graphic, which said, “Biden inflation is costing Utah families $1,213 more per month.”

Lee’s disapproval of Biden’s economic agenda is shared by some Democrats as well. The Washington Post’s Leigh Ann Caldwell said the Democratic Party needs to move away from Biden’s economic messaging during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press”

“‘Bidenomics’ has really become a negative word,” Caldwell said, “especially among Democrats because it’s not working.”

The reporter said she texted some Democratic lawmakers over the holiday weekend, who don’t think it’s “looking good for President Biden.”

“These members said that it is just not looking good for President Biden politically out there, that he would probably lose some swing states if the election were held today,” Caldwell said.

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