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July 6, 2021

Grilling Biden’s Economy

A cookout costs $0.16 less than last year, says the White House. Can we get a fact-check?

As Americans return to work after celebrating Independence Day, it’s worth surveying the economy.

First of all, more Americans are indeed returning to work. Last Friday’s June jobs report was decent, showing that employers hired 850,000 people. The headline unemployment rate ticked up one notch to 5.9%, which is arguably a good sign because more people are looking for jobs. With 9.3 million openings, that shouldn’t be hard — at least for anyone not making more money by remaining unemployed.

“None of this happened by accident,” crowed Joe Biden. “It’s a direct result of the American Rescue Plan.” No, economic growth is in spite of Biden’s spending and government policies.

Perhaps Biden would like to explain why, if his policies are so effective, the places where the economy is revving up are the red states where governors are doing their best to ignore or work around his policies.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board highlights one significant way Democrat policies are distorting not just the job market but supply chains:

As businesses bid up wages, more workers are quitting for higher-paying jobs. The number of workers who voluntarily left their jobs to look for other work increased by 164,000 to 942,000. High worker turnover makes it hard to run a business, and the labor shortage is causing supply-chain problems and pushing up prices. Inflation has eroded wage gains in recent months.

We’ve recently noted the tax of rising inflation, as well as the problems in the supply chain caused by employment shortages.

Nevertheless, we’re told all is well. The White House put out a social media boast prior to our weekend celebrations: “The cost of a 4th of July cookout in 2021 is down $0.16 from last year.”

The claim uses data from the American Farm Bureau Federation, but, to borrow a label from the Leftmedia “fact-checkers,” it’s “missing context.”

For one thing, fewer Americans were doing anything last July because of a certain pandemic. Second, the cost of a cookout is 8% higher than in 2019, when everyone was still living normally. Third, apparently a can of pork and beans is down 13%, but if you needed (ahem) gas to drive anywhere for your Fourth of July BBQ, you spent 7% more. Even at that, many stations were experiencing shortages over the weekend.

The point here isn’t to say the economy is in dire straits. Clearly, the recovery is happening. The problem is that it’s going in fits and starts because it’s being hindered by government spending and market distortions, as well as remaining restrictions on activity in heavily populated blue states. More taxes and more spending are not the answer.

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