June 15, 2022

About That ‘Extraordinary Progress’ Under Biden…

Progress doesn’t necessarily mean going in the right direction, as we can all see in today’s economy.

In remarks to the AFL-CIO yesterday, Joe Biden trotted out some of his favorite economic lies and tropes. Taxes, deficits, spending, jobs, you name it — he lied about it.

A few examples:

Do you remember when our economy was like — what it looked like before we took office? … Twenty million Americans had lost their jobs under the last guy.

Folks, we need an economy built from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down. … So we went to work… It started with the American Rescue Plan.

We brought down COVID deaths by 90%. We opened schools and businesses that were shuttered. It all created the greatest job recovery in American history. … Since I’ve become president, we’ve created 8.7 million new jobs in 16 months. An all-time record.

Since I took office … families are carrying less debt … [and] they have more savings.

Republicans like to portray me as some kind of big spender. We have spent a lot of money, but let’s compare the facts. Under my predecessor, the deficit exploded, raising — rising every single year. … Under my plan, last year we cut the deficit by $350 billion.

I don’t want to hear any more of these lies about reckless spending! We’re changing people’s lives!

Under my plan for the economy, we’ve made extraordinary progress. We put America in a position to tackle a worldwide problem that’s worse everywhere but here — inflation.

We interrupt this propaganda for an important message about the truth.

To hear Joe Biden tell it, Donald Trump wrecked the economy and killed people with COVID. The ChiCom virus wasn’t Trump’s doing, of course, and most of the economic damage was done by Democrat governors who shut down their states and kept them closed. Yes, Trump signed off on a ridiculous amount of spending and ran up the deficit, but Biden’s oft-repeated “reduction” lie is due to an accident of timing and his failure to pass his own big-spending agenda.

All those jobs Biden “created”? That was just people going back to work after COVID.

To the extent we can thank vaccines for reducing COVID deaths, Biden didn’t do that, despite his attempts to claim credit. Trump did.

So, to the 800-pound gorilla known as inflation. Biden used the word just three times in his remarks — twice passively as if he had nothing to do with it, and the other time by way of telling us what he’s going to do about it: “bring the other costs down,” whatever that means.

He did say something true about inflation, though he wasn’t talking about inflation: “It started with the American Rescue Plan.” That $2 trillion boondoggle overheated economic demand by injecting way too much money into the market. Prices immediately began to skyrocket, and inflation has exceeded 5% on an annual basis for a year now. It accelerated to 8.6% last month, the highest since 1981, and it shows no signs of abating. In fact, the Producer Price Index, which is in some ways a forerunner of where the Consumer Price Index is going, sped up to 10.1% last month.

The people hurting most are retirees on fixed incomes. A close second are lower-income workers. “Middle out and the bottom up,” indeed.

Team Biden blames inflation on “corporate greed,” Republicans in Congress, and Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but inflation topped 7% in December, two months before that invasion, and no Republican voted for the American Rescue Plan.

The average gas price has surpassed $5 a gallon for the first time, and Biden’s plan is to keep blocking drilling while releasing oil from the strategic reserve, which has done nothing for prices and weakened our national security.

In related news, Biden in recent months has taken to claiming that we’re “approaching record levels of oil and natural gas production.” No surprise, but that’s a manipulation of statistics. The U.S. is still a couple million barrels per day short of 2019 production, all while demand is even higher.

Team Biden says pump shock is due to “Putin’s price hike.” But does anybody have a Biden “I did that” sticker handy?

A few other economic bullet points from this week:

  • As the stock market plummets into bear territory, markets have now lost all gains made since Biden took office. Biden boasted a few months ago about all his “record” gains. Will he take the blame for all the losses? Not according to his inept press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre: “The way that we see this is that the American people are well positioned to face these challenges because of the economic historic gains that we have made … under this president in the last 16 months.”

  • This market drop means more Americans will be forced to put off retirement. And it’s partly responsible for flipping Biden’s debt/savings claim on its head. Federal Reserve data shows household debt has increased $1.5 trillion since Biden took office, including record credit card debt of $1.103 trillion in April. Savings, meanwhile, fell by $9,000 over the past year.

  • The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates today by either 50 or 75 points. That’s necessary chemotherapy of sorts, and it could drive us toward recession. Many business leaders and economic experts think that’s exactly where we’re headed.

  • Consumer confidence is plunging, and we expect they’ll take it out on the responsible political party that’s in charge of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Indeed, Biden’s polling average keeps dropping to new record lows. The biggest news from his 38.9% approval rating, though, is that 38.9% of Americans are that blind, ignorant, or willfully foolish — as were the (ahem) 81 million voters who chose Biden and saddled us with this mess.

“I think, actually, that if you had the right set of policies put in place, we could avert a recession. We could get back on a good path,” economist Stephen Moore argues. “I think what worries me, and also worries the financial markets, is there’s not a hint out of this White House that they’re going to change strategies. None.”

Biden is changing people’s lives, alright. For the worse. And yet his message is, Shut up and be thankful.

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