Like Nero bragging about rebuilding the Circus Maximus after it burned down, President Joe Biden took to the stage Tuesday night to take credit for fixing several of the problems he created.
At the top of his State of the Union address, the president boasted that he had “created more jobs in two years than any president has created in four years.”
No president — not Joe Biden, not Donald Trump — creates jobs. But Biden’s debate was exceptionally confusing, because he inherited an economy that had been unplugged by an artificial, state-induced shutdown. If the government forces businesses to close, it does not “create” jobs while allowing them to open.
On multiple occasions during the night, a mercurial Biden claimed that COVID-19 had shut down the economy. No, the states did. Politicians did.
Biden has been an aggressive proponent of those shutdowns. During the 2020 presidential campaign, the president regularly attacked Republican governors for opening too early and ignoring federal health officials. Even in August 2021, after it became clear that the shutdowns were not saving any lives, Biden still criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for rejecting a new round of Covid-19 authoritarianism, telling him to “get out of the way.” Trying to “do the right thing”.
Three years ago, the unemployment rate was 3.5%. Today, Biden reminded us that it was at a historic low of 3.4%. More than 30 million people have lost their jobs in the COVID-19 lockdown. Biden claims he has “created” 12 million jobs over the past two years. A big difference is that the labor-participation rate has not yet returned to pre-COVID-19 numbers. It’s great that people are working again. But millions are in the market for fewer jobs.
Biden also boasted that Americans have seen “near” historic unemployment lows for black and Hispanic workers. This historic low was achieved before the COVID-19 lockdown. So, if Biden deserves credit for this, doesn’t Trump? Of course, there are no specific Biden economic policies that have brought near-historic unemployment lows for our minorities or an unemployment rate 0.1% lower than the previous administration.
Washington has wasted trillions of dollars propping up an economy it previously shut down.
Speaking of spending, Biden claimed that the absurdly misnamed “Inflation Reduction Act,” which you might recall was initially known as “Build Back Better,” helped lower spiking prices. Only when inflation became “temporary” and a politically problematic issue did Biden begin to argue that more spending would reduce inflation.
And only then did Democrats rename their bill, which was tied to the same spending, corporate welfare, pricing, and tax hikes—all long-desired progressive wish-list items.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is also the most important investment in climate change,” Biden said in his speech, as if the sentence made any sense.
Presidents are often unduly blamed or given credit for economic events beyond their control. But it’s no sudden inflation as Democrats have pumped hundreds of billions into an overheated economy (with help from Senate Republicans in the “infrastructure” bill) and exacerbated the expected problems with policies that discourage work and reduce energy production.
All this led to the biggest inflationary increase since 1982. We are still at historic highs. A number of products that consumers rely on still remain generally expensive, and fears of additional price hikes have begun to seriously erode consumer confidence.
Biden lied that “25%” of the national federal debt was spent by the previous administration, when most of that debt was driven by entitlement programs, which were passed, expanded and honored by Democrats.
And he misled the nation by claiming that his administration “cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion — the largest deficit reduction in American history,” when in fact, those “cuts” were sunsetting pandemic emergency spending that Democrats complained weren’t enough.
Biden then went into his well-worn platitudes and myths about how the rich don’t pay taxes—”No billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a school teacher or a firefighter!” – and proposed higher rates on the wealthy and corporations. He has promised to micromanage the economy with a slew of new regulations that will interfere with the voluntary contracts struck between employees and employers and consumers and businesses.
There were countless lies, half-truths and deceptions. There were many old economic concepts and slogans. But, surely, the president’s biggest false claim of the night was “I’m a capitalist.”
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