Joe Biden picked a rough year to be president.

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Approximately nine months and 37 million years ago, it appeared Joe Biden had picked a goldilocks moment to become president of the United States. The country still faced significant difficulties in the early spring, but they all appeared to be moving in the right direction. Unemployment was still high, but job growth had begun to boom after a winter slump. The pandemic was still with us, but case counts were falling as the vaccination drive ramped up.

Taken together, this looked like a best-case set of circumstances for Biden, who stood to reap political rewards for solving problems that were already turning round, and who was wisely taking decisive steps to build on the momentum he inherited. He accelerated the vaccination program the Trump administration left behind, and quickly passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to keep the economy juiced through the…

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