Biden: People make money "clipping coupons on the street"

Joe Biden often says odd things, sometimes daily, out on the campaign trail. It’s hard to understand exactly what is going through his mind as he speaks to his supporters. Tuesday in Iowa, Biden brought up a reference to clipping coupons as a way to make money. That would have been enough to make a person question his statement but then he topped it – he said that people are making money “clipping coupons on the street.”

What is the first thing that comes to mind with that statement? For me, I envision a person with a pair of scissors in hand and a newspaper supplement, scanning the grocery ads for a good price on chicken or avocados, or maybe a household cleaning product. I don’t think about clipping a coupon to collect interest payments from bonds.

Coupon clipping refers back to a time when these fixed-income securities came printed with coupons on them. To receive the interest payments, the bondholder would clip off each coupon as its payment came due and redeem it for cash.

These days bond interest payments are handled electronically, so there is no need for anyone to actually get the scissors out.

I would say, “Ok, boomer” to Uncle Joe but he’s older than baby boomers. It’s just Joe being Joe, I guess. This must be a regular reference for him because he’s done it before and did it during a Democrat debate while he was talking about the capital gains tax. In a clip I watched on Twitter, I saw Biden use the reference while he was talking about tax rates. He talks about “rewarding work, not just wealth”, which is a line he often uses, but from there it’s just a word salad.

The ages of his audience members looks to be mixed so it wasn’t just old folks who understood the reference. I’m guessing most of them didn’t know what the heck he was talking about, like me. The “on the street” part of the statement is just weird. A person can see a lot of things on the street but coupon clipping isn’t one of those things.

This is a blip on the campaign trail, sure, but it goes back to the questions a lot of people have about Joe’s mental vitality. All of the slips and odd statements add up. Biden has been making campaign speeches for himself and others for more than 40 years. He should be a lot better at it than he is. This is 2020 and transactions for investments are handled electronically.

The audience didn’t visually react to what he was saying, though, so perhaps this kind of incident just goes without saying. It’s expected. Biden’s still leading in most national polls, though he is – for the first time – in second place in the CNN national poll behind Bernie Sanders. With Bernie and the other senators running for president tied up in Washington for impeachmentpalooza, perhaps he’ll be able to change that poll back to a first place showing next time.

There was another gem from Tuesday in Iowa – this time during an event in Fort Dodge. Joe Biden claimed that “we don’t need standing armies” while talking about cyberwar. “The idea that we are going to cut the defense budget, we can cut it some. We don’t need standing armies. We need to be smarter than we’re dealing now.” Again, he’s not the most articulate, but President Trump has increased military spending. He created the Space Force for satellites and cyber activity. Biden doesn’t offer anything new. He does remind us that the Obama administration in which he served made thousands of drone attacks, though. Is that what he was going for? I don’t think progressives were particularly in favor of those at the time.

I think our military members in “standing armies” may be surprised to learn that good old Joe doesn’t think we need them so much.