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2 Important Moments Lost In The Panic Over Joe Biden’s Performance

The post-debate chatter is all about how President Joe Biden looked and sounded. That’s fair. Communication is a big part of the president’s job. Biden on Thursday night was lousy at it, and in ways that raise deeper questions about his leadership capabilities.

But enacting policy is also a big part of the president’s job. And there were two important, if barely noticed, moments Thursday night that revealed a lot about Biden’s ability to handle that responsibility ― and how it compares to former President Donald Trump’s.

One came right near the beginning, following a discussion of the economy and inflation. CNN debate co-host Jake Tapper asked Trump about his signature economic policy proposal, an across-the-board tariff on imported goods.

Tapper wondered whether the tariff would raise the prices of goods; Trump said it wouldn’t. Economists disagree. Strongly.

One recent analysis, from the nonpartisan Peterson Institute for International Economics, found that the higher prices on consumer goods would raise costs for the average middle class family by $1,700 a year ― while also “inflicting massive collateral damage on the US economy.”

The analysis also pointed out (as have many economists) that tariffs tend to hit the poor and middle-class more than the wealthy, because they spend more of their income on retail goods.

It says a lot about Trump that he’d push such a proposal anyway, and it’s consistent with what he did while he was in office ― namely, cutting taxes in ways that disproportionately helped the wealthy.

Biden on the other hand has a record of enacting policies that skew towards helping the people who are struggling most financially. And that was the takeaway from the second key exchange, which happened so

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