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In State of the Union, Biden Will Cheer the Economy and Draw a Contrast With Trump – today news

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President Biden enters his State of the Union speech on Thursday with an economic record that has defied forecasters’ gloomy expectations, avoiding recession while delivering stronger growth and lower unemployment than predicted.

But polls suggest voters know relatively little about the legislation Mr. Biden has signed into law that seeks to boost the economy through spending and tax breaks for infrastructure, clean energy, semiconductors and more.

They remain frustrated over high prices, particularly for groceries and housing, even though the rapid inflation that defined Mr. Biden’s early years in office has cooled. Mr. Biden consistently trails his predecessor and likely November opponent, former President Donald J. Trump, on economic issues.

His speech on Thursday will try to make the case for the success of “Bidenomics.” Mr. Biden will begin to hint at what his agenda might bring in a second term, including efforts to increase corporate taxes and to reduce the cost of housing, one of the most tangible examples of what Mr. Biden calls his attempts to build an economy that prioritizes workers and the middle class.

Mr. Biden’s State of the Union speech will “discuss the historic achievements he’s delivered for the American people and lay out his vision for the future,” Lael Brainard, who heads the president’s National Economic Council, told reporters ahead of the speech. She stressed recent wage gains, low unemployment and new factory construction that she said were linked to Mr. Biden’s agenda.

Ms. Brainard and other administration officials said the president would try to draw sharp contrasts with Mr. Trump on economic issues during his annual speech, including on tax policy and reducing consumer costs. Mr. Biden’s aim is to cast Mr. Trump and his Republican Party as allies of the wealthy and large corporations instead of Americans who are struggling with rising costs.

Those contrasts will include policy departures from Mr. Trump’s legacy. Mr. Biden will propose raising the corporate income tax rate to 28 percent, up from the 21 percent rate that Mr. Trump signed into law in 2017. He will also call for increasing a new minimum tax on large corporations, which Mr. Biden signed into law in 2022, to 21 percent from 15 percent.

Mr. Biden will also propose ending the ability of corporations to deduct compensation costs for any employee who is paid more than $1 million per year.

The president’s allies in Washington diverge on what economic issues he should focus on in this week’s speech. But they roundly agree that he should claim credit for measures of economic strength on his watch, while promising to fight more to tame prices.

“He’s got economic growth, he’s got wage growth, inflation’s coming down,” said Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, a former chief global economist for the Ford Motor Company who is now a senior resident fellow at the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way.

Mr. Biden should stress those trends, she said, along with the manufacturing investments spurred by his agenda. Her advice to the president is to “keep repeating” those wins.

Third Way’s latest polling in February illustrates Mr. Biden’s struggles to sell voters on his economic record. On some metrics, the president’s stewardship of the economy is as strong as — or better than — Mr. Trump’s. But those views are dogged by voter frustration with inflation. That polling finds that respondents trust Mr. Trump over Mr. Biden by a nearly 20-point margin on the economy — and on related issues like supporting manufacturing and reducing the cost of oil and gas.

A new group funded by Democratic donors released polling on Wednesday suggesting that Mr. Trump is vulnerable to attacks on tax policies that favor the wealthy. The poll, by Blueprint, found that two of the top five voter concerns about the former president were the possibility that he would let rich tax cheats “off the hook” and cut taxes for the wealthy but not working-class families. Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts delivered a large share of their gains for corporations and high earners, but also cut taxes for typical workers.

In a memo released on Thursday morning, Blueprint said its polling suggested that three in five voters “say that lower prices on the costs of goods and services is the aspect they’d most like to see improved in the economy” — but fewer than a quarter see it as Mr. Biden’s top economic priority.

Progressive groups are also calling on Mr. Biden to target costs aggressively, including blaming corporate greed for some rising prices. They also want him to vigorously defend the power of government spending to boost the economy, including in pivotal areas like affordable housing.

The Center for Popular Democracy, a progressive advocacy group, released a memo on Wednesday asking Mr. Biden to call for $1 trillion in new government funding to create 12 million “high-quality, permanently and deeply affordable, green homes that are publicly owned or under democratic community control.” White House aides did not preview any new proposal of that scope.

Republicans have largely countered Mr. Biden’s messaging by accusing him of unleashing high inflation with the spending measures he has signed into law. They have previewed similar attacks ahead of the State of the Union speech.

“President Biden’s reckless spending agenda is a threat to our national security and America’s way of life,” Republicans on the House Budget Committee said in a release on Wednesday. “It threatens to destabilize today’s economy and rob future generations of Americans of the blessings of liberty that make our nation exceptional.”

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