Americans are responding favorably to a populist undertone that permeated President Biden’s State of the Union speech and was stirred up by unsettling economic situations throughout the world, The Hill reports.
It’s the perception that people are “being ripped off,” as Biden called it, by an unjust economy. Biden used the term “fair” nine times in his prepared speech.
Biden’s speech touched on a recurrent annoyance in “American economic life: how the deck feels stacked” in favor of huge businesses and institutions against regular taxpayers and consumers. This annoyance ranges from irksome fees levied by giant retail banks to profound, structural inequalities in the U.S. tax system that benefit affluent individuals and large organizations.
“Big Pharma has been unfairly charging people hundreds of dollars [for insulin] — and making record profits,” Biden said during his speech Tuesday, as cited by The Hill.
Biden commended the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act from last year, which included the $35 insulin price ceiling for Medicare-enrolled seniors. The government’s fight against excessive prices, which is primarily the Federal Reserve’s job, has employed price restrictions sparingly thus far.
He also praised the efforts made by his government to combat so-called “junk fees,” exorbitant fines levied by banks, financial institutions, and other companies for things like late payments, inadequate cash, or an attempt to discontinue service.
“I know how unfair it feels when a company overcharges you and gets away with it,” Biden said when talking about overdraft bank fees.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will adopt a new regulation that will aim to limit bank overdraft fees to $8, as the Biden administration also stated last week (CFPB).
Although several big banks have already eliminated overdraft fees, bank lobbyists and supporters of the industry see the fines as a helpful and well-liked tool for customers to spread out costs.
The CFPB warns that payday lenders typically do not take borrowers’ capacity to pay back the loan into account when making these short-term, expensive loans for tiny sums of money.
Biden may have emphasized the unfairness of the tax law the most during his State of the Union speech out of all the references to economic injustice.