Despite the economic boom: Is the USA risking the biggest crisis in its history?

This article is an acquisition from Capital, Capital's premium digital offering.

Despite the economic boom: Is the USA risking the biggest crisis in its history?

This article is an acquisition from Capital, Capital's premium digital offering. For you as a stern PLUS subscriber, it is available exclusively here for ten days. It will then be available again exclusively for Capital subscribers at www.capital.de/plus. Like stern, the business magazine Capital belongs to RTL Deutschland.

The gate in front of the hall is rusty on its hinges, and the barbed wire around the area is cracked. Inside, in his cluttered, windowless office down the hall, union manager Jason Sangster has set up a cheap space heater. It can get cold in Arizona in the winter, even when the sky is a pristine blue. The building in the dreary commercial area on the outskirts of the capital Phoenix is ​​poorly insulated.

The union has had barren decades, and Sangster, a steelworker like his father, has witnessed its decline. He was a foreman at steel manufacturer Schuff Steel for more than ten years. “I know more shade than sun,” he says. But the trade unionist is convinced that better times have now dawned for the young. “We are now experiencing a boom.” Framed, glossy photos of construction sites hang in the anteroom: the steel frame of an elegantly curved bridge. A gigantic iron skeleton in front of the Phoenix mountain backdrop, from which the new factory of the chip manufacturer TSMC is growing.

Previously, many of Sangster's colleagues had to work far from home because jobs in the region were rare. Today they can eat with the family in the evening: "Everyone is happy, everyone is at home." The Navajo indigenous man has pinned an American flag to the woven carpet behind his desk. Sangster seems at peace with himself and the world. And also with the President in Washington: "Joe Biden has delivered," he praises, adding almost regretfully: "He doesn't get enough credit for it."

It is the core question that concerns Democrats across the country: Why can't Biden score points? Hardly any president has done so poorly in the polls at the beginning of the election year, even though the US economy shines in international comparison. Unemployment is at its lowest level in half a century. Economic growth – most recently over three percent in the quarter. The stock market rushes from one record to the next. The many economists who predicted a recession would now have to "meekly take back their words," teases Finance Minister and former Fed head Janet Yellen. Harvard economist Jason Furman calls the economic recovery since the pandemic “spectacular.” What took a decade after the financial crisis "now took only months or a year or two." The soft landing appears to have been successful, "and that is nothing short of a miracle," praises Furman.

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