Joe Biden's year was ruined. Whose fault was that?

But when it comes to the issues that are most likely driving the majority of public dissatisfaction right now—such as gasoline inflation, supply-chain snafus, and the rise of Delta and other coronavirus variants—the president’s circumscribed powers are best analogized to a small rudder turned by a captain amid an angry sea.

“It’s likely that things will be in better shape a year from now, but most of the economy’s problems can only be solved with time,” Furman said. “That’s a really hard thing to say as president.”

Biden inherited an economy he didn’t build, sundered by a pandemic he didn’t start. He oversaw the distribution of a vaccine he didn’t develop, and his inoculation campaign ran headfirst into vaccine resistance he couldn’t control. He was slammed with a viral mutation he didn’t ask for, then got punished by an international supply-chain mess, which slammed into domestic logistics problems overseen by private-sector transportation companies he can’t command, compounded by trucker shortages and port inefficiencies he couldn’t go back in time to fix.

And then there’s gas. Strong evidence shows that voters reserve special hatred for rising gasoline prices. But this is another phenomenon that is largely out of Biden’s control.