President Joe Biden’s declining approval ratings come despite the popularity of his signature policies, a new report from Civiqs shows. In fact, seven of 12 Biden policies surveyed by Civiqs have majority support and another three have plurality support from the public. But “Although item by item, Biden’s agenda is popular, most Americans (57%) do not feel that they have personally benefited from Biden’s policies. Indeed, many voters (45%) feel that they have been personally harmed by the Biden administration. Just 37% of Americans say that the Biden administration has done anything to help them personally.”

That’s an interesting and important belief held by a majority of people, and it is completely wrong for most of them. That tracks with plenty of polls and research showing that many people understand help from the government as something other people get, and don’t recognize the vast array of benefits going to people like them—or richer than them. That is, of course, a highly racialized view, and often an outright racist one.

All that has to be taken into account when we’re thinking about who understands that they’ve been helped by President Biden’s policies and who thinks they’ve been harmed. And how people understand their own situations is very important. When we’re talking about U.S. politics and how to win more people over to the policies that will help the most people, it damn well matters if the people who’ve been helped understand that fact. 

But when it comes to Biden’s record, let’s consider some numbers:

Around 159 million households got checks, most of them for $1,400, from the American Rescue Plan, which Biden ran on and pushed hard to get through Congress.

The households of more than 65 million children got the American Rescue Plan’s expanded child tax credit, which sent $250 a month to children 6 and over and $300 a month to younger children. Millions of households also got expanded child care assistance.

The American Rescue Plan increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits until September … and then, the Biden administration made changes to the overall program that will increase assistance for all 42 million beneficiaries on a continuing basis.

Those are extremely direct benefits flowing to tens of millions of U.S. households. But let’s say you personally did not get a direct payment from a plan advanced by President Biden. What about you? (Is it all about you?) Well, it turns out there’s a damn good chance you, too, benefited from something he did.

Schools received $122 billion in funding. Maybe that money is going to educating your kids. Maybe you don’t have kids in school. You know what? Even so, it’s helping protect your community from the pandemic by keeping kids and teachers safe in the schools. It’s helping your local economy by preventing job losses in education.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund provided $28.6 billion to 101,000 restaurants. Even if that didn’t save your job, it might have saved your favorite restaurant.

The Biden administration invested tens of billions of dollars in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing and other mitigation strategies, helping to control the pandemic for all of us. 

Biden brought the U.S. back into the Paris climate agreement, the first step in fighting the climate change that will threaten millions of lives in the coming years.

Biden withdrew U.S. troops from Afghanistan, doing the right thing and ending a massive ongoing expense for a nation in which politicians always claim that there’s no money to help people while always finding the money to pay for wars.

Biden has cancelled $9.5 billion in student debt. There’s much, much more to be done, and he should be doing it. But what he has done affects hundreds of thousands of people.

Oh, and then there was that little, small, minor vaccination effort. Maybe you’re not on SNAP. Maybe you weren’t unemployed at any point since March. Maybe your income is too high for you to have gotten a relief check or the expanded child tax credit, and maybe you don’t care that your local schools and economy and restaurants benefited. But hundreds of millions of people have been vaccinated, which is not only keeping those people safe from serious illness or death but also keeping hospitals from being even more overwhelmed than they already are.

So, me? I don’t think Joe Biden is perfect. Far from it. But I know damn well that I’ve benefited from his presidency in direct, personal ways.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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