(The author is a consultant for American Values 2024).
Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. reflects, “It’s hard to believe that a blue-collar worker with a high school education could once support a family, take vacations, and even save for retirement.” He asks, “Why is life poorer, not richer, than in the sixties when technology has made our productivity more significant? Why do people accept that their lives are gradually getting worse?”
As a Latino immigrant, I was curious about the links between RFK Jr.’s economic platform and the interests of the Latino community. To learn more, I interviewed Libio Amaury Matos Cordero, a business leader and certified public accountant who has relationships with hundreds of owners of Latino small businesses.
Libio’s home is in Philadelphia, where he is a well-known financial planner, credit counselor, and business consultant. His expertise is based on 35 years of work with over 3,000 small businesses. He was eager to talk to The Kennedy Beacon about RFK Jr.’s candidacy.
“I would like to thank the American Values 2024 super PAC for allowing me to contribute my expertise and economic knowledge to this important article,” he began. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has quickly gone from being an unknown independent presidential candidate to a true national leader, already making a remarkable mark in all polls.”
I asked him about the current economic conditions for the Latino community and the country. “The Latino community,” he said, “is suffering the most serious consequences of the economic mistakes of the Biden administration. The US public debt has increased with all administrations but currently exceeds $31.4 trillion.” He blames both parties, as Democrats and Republicans both “have abused the power given to them by citizens, to take control of institutions and reach agreements that negatively impact the country.”
“In my office,” Libio observed, “most clients express deep discontent with President Joe Biden’s economic policies. Hispanics have a pessimistic outlook on the economy because they believe President Biden’s economic policies do not work for them.” This business consultant’s experience in his community aligns with recent survey findings that the main obstacle to Biden’s reelection in 2024 is the deterioration of the American economy.
In September 2023, the Libre Institute conducted a survey demonstrating Latinos’ rejection of the economic policies of the Biden administration, also known as “Bidenomics.” According to the study, only 29% of Hispanic voters think the country is heading in the right direction, while 71% think it is heading in the wrong direction. Most Hispanics disapprove of the president’s overall job: 69% of those surveyed said they dislike Biden’s work, while only 31% said they approve of his administration. Only 21% rate the current state of the economy as excellent or good, while 79% rate it as fair or poor. Regarding the future, most are pessimistic:
- 38% expect things to stay the same in 2024.
- 42% expect things to worsen.
- Only 21% believe the economy will improve.
The most significant concern among Latinos is inflation: 84% of those surveyed agreed that their quality of life has been negatively impacted by inflation. Worries about inflation extend beyond political affiliation: 91% of Republicans, 88% of independents, and 79% of Democrats agreed that inflation has hurt their lives. This undoubtedly contributes to the economic pessimism among Hispanics and their disapproval of Biden’s policies.
Many Latinos connect with Kennedy over the economy because he first suggests reversing the mistakes of the last 50 years. “We can restore the American middle class,” he promises. “The massive amount of military machinery has almost bankrupted this country. As workers have left the middle class, rampant corruption in Washington has put corporations in charge, enriching the wealthiest. Although official unemployment is low, most new job opportunities are in the service sector, paying low wages.”
“The country’s wealth disparity has peaked in the last century,” Kennedy laments. “Over 60% of US citizens rely on daily income and lack emergency funds. Since Biden took office, net income after inflation and taxes has decreased by 9%. Under Biden’s leadership, mortgage rates have doubled, and the price of an average home has increased from $250,000 to $400,000. Rents have followed the trend, putting more and more people in jeopardy. But we can change it. It is unnecessary to work more hours to have a decent life, so we propose higher wages and lower bills.”
According to Libio, Latinos support Kennedy’s proposals for reducing living costs in the United States and promoting economic healing. To understand the interest of the Latino community in Kennedy’s economic healing proposals, Libio emphasized that it is necessary to appreciate how much our community contributes to the US gross domestic product (GDP).
He cited data from “The 2023 Official LDC U.S. Latino GDP Report,” prepared by the nonprofit Latino Donor Collaborative (LDC), stating that between 2011 and 2021, the economic contribution of Latinos in the United States represented 20.9% of the country’s GDP. If Latinos were a nation, we would be the fifth largest economy in the world, surpassed only by the United States, China, Japan, and Germany. The latest Latino GDP is $3.2 trillion, and Latino purchasing power is $3.4 trillion.
Libio said the Latino economy is expected to compete with China’s growth rate soon. He added that the Latino economy has maintained an annual growth rate higher than all other communities converging in the U.S. economy, at 4.7% compared to 1.9%.
Pointing out that the Latino workforce is also essential to the success of individual state economies, he cited the millions of Latinos recently hired in Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona. He also noted that the rate of Latino labor force participation in the US is 5.4% higher than that of non-Latinos.
There has been a significant recovery from the employment crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the Latino community was among the most affected – in April 2020, the unemployment rate among Hispanics skyrocketed to 18.1% after hovering around 4% before the pandemic. However, much more economic recovery and healing is needed, and Latinos dissatisfied with Biden are finding a lot to like in RFK Jr.
Restoring the American economy is the main objective of Kennedy, an independent candidate who has the support of the American Values 2024 Super PAC. The economy is the basis of his campaign platform. He maintains that those who work hard should be able to afford a decent life, something significant to Hispanic business leaders and their larger communities.
“The Latino community has been fluctuating between the Democratic and Republican parties, “not supporting either but contributing to a punitive vote. They do not vote for one candidate but against another. It is obvious that Latinos are connecting with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s proposals, based on the structural changes needed in the American economy and society, because such a productive community as Latinos requires a president who restores American values and focuses all resources on the economic healing proposed by RFK Jr.” concluded Libio Amaury Matos Cordero.