Joe Biden used this line or a variation on it quite a bit during the closing days of the 2020 campaign. He had taken it out of the rotation, but here we are in a presidential campaign year and somehow it's back. Here it is, in "Remarks by President Biden at a Political Event with United Auto Workers Members," February 1, 2024, Warren, Michigan: "To me, it's a basic, basic thing. And I mean this sincerely. You know, Wall Street didn't build the middle class. Labor built the middle class. (Applause.) And the middle class built the country. Really."
This is such phony nonsense. Who does Biden think floats the stock and bond offerings of all those unionized companies? Who does Biden think manages retirement funds for the unions and for the members of the middle class? Who securitizes mortgage debt to make housing widely affordable for the middle class?
Biden claims to be a unifying figure. It's hypocritical to go around poisoning public opinion against Wall Street and somehow pitting it against labor in a zero-sum battle for credit in building the "country." It's easy to take the U.S. capital markets for granted or to try to score political points by belittling the role financial institutions play in our economy and in widespread prosperity. Biden bashing Wall Street, though, is demagoguery. With Biden bashing Wall Street and Trump bashing banks, it's a testament to the underlying strength of the U.S. economy—and the weakness of our competitors—that the markets haven't suffered more.