Graphic designed by Evan Brooks.
It has been almost a year since Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States. Since then, the image of our country to the world has changed, the state of our economy has evolved and how this country addresses COVID-19 has shifted. Biden is no longer the mildly popular president he was when he entered the office, and the United States is no longer seen as a complete failure in terms of its COVID-19 response by the rest of the world. A lot has changed in the year since the presidential election, but where do we currently stand?
Starting with a reflection on the overall image of the United States around the world, since President Biden has taken office, the way the world views the U.S. has seen a positive change. According to the Associated Press, the view of the U.S. declined “…considerably during Donald Trump’s four years as president,” but has since rebounded after Biden entered the office. In 2020, partner countries “like France and Germany” neared all-time lows in terms of “positive views of the U.S.” but have since grown by “as much as 30 percentage points since last year.” Since Biden has taken office, our foreign partners have started to look more positively on the United States, solidifying our trust and possibility of collaboration in the future.
Part of the reason why the image of the U.S. has rebounded is because of how the world’s view on the U.S. COVID-19 response has also risen in positivity. As shown on the chart by the Pew Research Center, titled “Increasingly, people say the U.S. is doing a good job dealing with the pandemic” from 2020 to 2021, most U.S. partnered nations have a positive net change in percentage of individuals – from each respective nation — that views the U.S. as having done a “good job” in response to COVID-19.
Reasons for the increase in those that view the U.S. COVID-19 response as good can be attributed to the revamped vaccine rollout, and new found confidence in the leadership of the response efforts. A factor that could be keeping the overall outlook regarding the U.S. COVID-19 response, could be the comparisons drawn from each of the other nations own responses. In general, while the U.S. still has a long way to go in properly containing the pandemic, and reaching a good level of confidence, headway has still been made and should continue to be made as the vaccination rates continue to rise. According to the New York Times interactive map and COVID-19 statistics, cases seem to be on the rise again, mostly along the Northern part of the U.S. which is why it is still important to proceed with caution, wear your mask, wash your hands and ensure you are vaccinated.
Lastly, how is the U.S. economy currently doing? The unemployment rate has reached a low of 4.6%, which is edging closer to its pre-COVID rate of about 3.5%, and is down from its high of about 14.8%. According to thebalance.com, the economy grew by 6.3% “in the first quarter of 2021,” by 6.7% “in the second quarter,” and by 2.0% “in the third quarter of 2021.” Each of the quarterly growth percentages are measurements of the GDP or Gross Domestic Product of the United States. Inflation for September was at about 5.4%, and 6.2% in October, both of which are above the previous 2019 average of 1.81%. Lastly, the stock market has been relatively steady and climbing; so overall, the economy has been doing relatively well, with the exception of the inflation rate.
How all of the above metrics translate into Biden’s approval rating would be a steady decline from a moderately approved of administration, to a moderately disapproved of one. This decline is nothing special and is on par with the decline that both former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump saw during their first year in office. Understanding each of the metrics above, the synopsis is the U.S. is on a relatively steady path to COVID-19 recovery, the world has found a new belief and resolve in the American government and the economy has stabilized and continues to grow. The state of our nation is not one of perfection, but rather of improvement and if we continue on the path that we have forged in the past year, then we are looking at a better, not perfect, tomorrow.
Approval Rating: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/biden-approval-rating/
Evan Brooks is a fourth-year Business Management major with minors in Economics and Civil & Professional Leadership. EB916132@wcupa.edu