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Poll: After Three Years of ‘Bidenomics,’ Granite Staters Still Struggling To Pay Bills

It may be the holiday season, but New Hampshire households aren’t singing “Hallelujah” over the state of the economy under President Joe Biden.

Thanks to rising prices, high interest rates, and gasoline hovering above three bucks a gallon, Granite Staters say their household budgets are hurting. In the new BIA Report on Consumer Confidence, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, 46 percent said their household family condition was worse off than a year ago, while just 15 percent said it was better off.

That 46 percent number is nearly twice as high as March 2021, just after Biden took office (24 percent). UNH polling director Dr. Andrew Smith said inflation is the culprit.

“Inflation just permeates across the entire economy, and it hits lower-income people hardest,” Smith said.

According to the survey, 55 percent of Granite Staters with an annual household income below $75,000 said they were worse off than they were a year ago, as compared to 37 percent of those earning $150,000 or more.

“And more than two-thirds (69 percent) of those with a household income below $75,000 say they struggled a lot in the past twelve months to afford basic necessities like food, clothing, and electricity,” according to the UNH survey.

That starkly contrasts the “Bidenomics” message from the White House and from Democrats who gathered for the state party’s Eleanor Roosevelt fundraising dinner Friday night.

“President Joe Biden has an incredible track record of success,” said U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.). “Under President Joe Biden, wages are up, inflation is coming down, and more than 14 million private-sector jobs have been created.”

In August, Rep. Annie Kuster cheered how “congressional Democrats and President Biden took action to lower costs, strengthen the workforce, and get our economy back on track.”

According to the survey, that is not the view of most Granite State residents, and Gov. Chris Sununu said he wasn’t surprised by the numbers.

“The national inflation crisis is real and has hit everyone hard. Whether it’s buying a car or home or just managing credit card debt, people across this country are suffering because of bad policies driven by the Biden administration. Elections can have terrible consequences, and families across the country are now feeling the financial pain,” Sununu said.

“Luckily, in New Hampshire, we offset the challenges of inflation by not adding additional unnecessary tax burdens to our citizens. That approach is exactly why New Hampshire continues to lead the country through such tough economic times.”

Even as New Hampshire’s economy grows, the record high housing costs are a major contributor to the financial squeeze felt by all, said Michael Skelton, President and CEO of the BIA.

“New Hampshire’s strong economy continues to provide great opportunities for workers,” Skelton said. “But the scarcity of housing continues to keep rent and home ownership difficult for many, especially those with moderate to low incomes. The high cost of housing also makes it more difficult to pay energy costs in New Hampshire, which are among the nation’s highest. These remain top issues for our elected leaders to tackle to expand prosperity.”

Democrats argue that, with inflation closer to 4 percent than the 9 percent it hit last year, the problem has been solved. Smith said that misses a key part of the story.

“Prices aren’t declining; they just aren’t going up as fast as they were before,” he said.

Increasing interest rates to slow inflation made matters arguably worse. High interest acts as a ratchet on the economy, Smith explained. High rates mean people are spending more to borrow for cars homes, and even pay off credit card balances. Those added interest payments mean people have less to spend on basics.

Smith said that high interest rates, unaffordable homes, and expansive gasoline are all reminiscent of the economic malaise of the 1970s.

“That wasn’t a pleasant time.”

Republicans running in the First in the Nation presidential primary say they are hearing these concerns from Granite State voters firsthand. They argue the solution starts with a change at the top.

“In January, Granite Staters have the chance to reverse Bidenomics and elect Nikki Haley to be our nominee. She’ll unleash American energy and create an economic revival across the nation,” said Haley spokesman Ken Farnaso. “She’ll lower costs, cut taxes, and put more money into our wallets. With Nikki on the ticket, America is one step closer to making Joe Biden a one-term president.”

DeSantis spokeswoman Lindsey Curnette says DeSantis is focused on lowering energy costs which will have a major impact on inflation.

“Ron DeSantis has a detailed plan to restore American energy dominance. He will crush Bidenomics and support working Granite Staters by unleashing oil and gas exploration and development, pipelines, and infrastructure on day one.”

Illegal Immigrant Pleads Guilty in Dover Burglary Bust

According to investigators, a young Dover girl hid under her bed, scared for her life, as Jheisson Rizo Suarez broke into her home during a burglary.

Now, Suarez, 39, from Colombia, is facing his second deportation after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Concord to one count of reentry after deportation.

Suarez is the third high-profile illegal immigrant arrested in New Hampshire in recent months, including a convicted mass murderer and an alleged human smuggler. It is part of a national crisis that has reached from the U.S. border in Texas and Arizona to New Hampshire’s border with Canada.

Some seven million undocumented migrants have poured into the U.S. since President Joe Biden took office, But Democrats like Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), who sits on the Homeland Security Committee, have declined to take any action.

Suarez was arrested in 2021 in connection with the burglary. Police responded to the residence when the girl, alone at the time of the break-in, called 911. According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Hampshire, she reportedly whispered to the 911 operator that an unknown person or persons had forced their way into her home.

Dover police officers soon had Suarez in custody and discovered it wasn’t his first sojourn to the United States. Suarez had been previously deported in 2013, according to prosecutors.

Suarez, due to be sentenced in January, faces up to 10 years in federal prison. His plea comes weeks after Mexican national Reynaldo Velasco-Velasco, 36, was arrested at the Canadian border for allegedly smuggling people into New Hampshire.

Velasco-Velasco had already been deported from the U.S. in 2011 when U.S. Border Patrol agents caught him this month. According to court records,  Velasco-Velasco was illegally leading four other Mexican nationals across the northern border into New Hampshire. 

The smuggler allegedly had two cars ready for the people he was bringing through, and Border Patrol agents stopped the cars as they were trying to flee the border region.

And last month, federal agents raided a home construction site in Rye to arrest wanted killer Antonio Jose De Abreu Vidal Filho, 29. According to federal sources, Filho was in the U.S. illegally after overstaying his visa. The former Brazilian military police officer entered the country legally in 2019, even though he was fleeing prosecution for his role in the Curio Massacre.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Filho was recently convicted along with three other military state police officers of 11 murders, plus charges of attempted murder and physical and mental torture, for his role in the 2015 massacre in the Curio neighborhood in Fortaleza.

El Globo, a Brazilian news outlet, reported the murders had been retaliation for the death of a Brazilian police officer in Fortaleza. Four of the 11 people murdered were teens under age 18; three were between 18 and 19, according to El Globo.

Filho was ordered to serve a 276-year prison sentence for his part in the massacre.

The arrests come as New Hampshire’s northern border is in crisis. This month, Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Swanton Sector — which includes the New Hampshire border with Canada — announced more apprehensions in the past year than in the previous decade.

“Over 6,100 apprehensions from 76 different countries in just 11 months, surpassing the last ten years combined. Swanton Sector Agents are resolute and determined to hold the line across our 295 miles of border in northeastern New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire,” Garcia said via social media.

Gov. Chris Sununu has been raising the alarm for months and keeps getting turned down when he asks President Joe Biden’s administration for help. This month, Biden’s team rejected Sununu’s request that the federal government restore millions of dollars in border security funding New Hampshire received during the Trump administration. The funding, through Operation Stone Garden, gave the state resources to backstop federal border enforcement actions.

Sununu has not gotten any help from New Hampshire’s all-Democratic federal delegation. Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, as well as Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas have been MIA, according to Sununu.

“I haven’t heard from them. I haven’t heard of any action that they’ve taken with the administration. I haven’t heard of any actual action or results that they have even attempted to bring to the table,” Sununu told NHJournal after the latest Biden rejection.

Asked Monday by NHJournal what they planned to do about the border chaos,  Shaheen, Hassan, Kuster, and Pappas all declined to respond.

While prominent elected New Hampshire Democrats have been silent, state party Chairman Ray Buckley spoke for them, reposting a social media message calling Ayotte a “fascist fearmonger” for focusing on the border.

Presumably, Buckley was not hiding under a bed when he posted that message.