Biden Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: “What we’re trying to say, what I’m trying to say to you, is that the economy is in a better place than it has been historically.”
Gas prices are averaging nearly $5 in Wisconsin – a historic high – while in October 2020, they were under $2. What used to be a $30 dollar fill is now over $70. Inflation, the highest in more than a generation, has eaten away at family budgets while real average weekly earnings have gone down 4% this year. Gas is up 48.7% from a year ago, electricity 12%, groceries 11.9%, and rent 5.9%. Even if you are lucky enough to make more money at your job, Biden’s inflation is eating up all of your raise and more.
And today, the Fed announced the largest hike in interest rates in nearly 3 decades, following smaller hikes this spring. That’s pushing mortgage and car loans, the biggest sources of consumer debt, even higher.
There is nobody who isn’t feeling the effects of the worsening economy as the stock market plunges into a Bear Market.
Nobody except President Biden. In a “fiery” speech before his Big Labor buddies this week, Biden touted his economic accomplishments and how much he has changed the lives of Americans. This was clearly an attempt by the White House to reset the current economic misery conversation and belittle the press into pushing his select “facts” that all is well in America.
Unfortunately, the President made numerous misrepresentations about our economy and his record. As we all wait for PolitiFact to give Biden’s speech the same treatment they did any tweet or off-the-cuff remark of President Trump, we thought it would be helpful to provide an actual analysis of his remarks and provide the facts lacking in the President’s scripted remarks.
1. ‘Since I took office, families have less debt and more savings.’
Early in the pandemic, flush with stimulus checks, Americans paid down some credit card debt, decreased the use of their credit cards, and saved some funds. But that’s all in the past. Consumer debt has gone up over a trillion between 2019-2021, an 8.3% increase, and personal savings are down over $9,000 in the past year. And it’s no wonder – Mortgage debt is up 7.6% and auto debt is up 8.9%. Coupled with inflationary increases that have more than doubled the cost for necessities, Americans are taking on more debt and raiding their savings accounts just to get by.
Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York also shows that the President is wrong and misleading in his statements.
According to this analysis, total household debt is $15.84 trillion, an increase of $266 billion since last year. The only type of debt that has NOT increased is credit card debt. So, perhaps President Biden is trying to take credit for lower credit card debt. However, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York points out that the lower credit card debt is “in line with seasonal trends typically seen at the start of the year” and that credit card balances “declined significantly in the first year of the pandemic” at a time when credit card use also declined significantly. If the President was referring to credit card debt when he said “since I took office, families have less debt,” the President’s economic policies did nothing to lower credit card debt. When public health and President Biden closed down the national economy and put many out of work, Americans decided for themselves that it was not wise to put a bunch of purchases on the credit card. Further, if the President is specifically referring to only credit card debt, given how much all other forms of household debt have increased, that would be a very underhanded and deceptive way to attempt to garner credit for families having less debt.
Total household debt has increased, mortgage debt is up, auto loan debt is up, student loan debt is up and the list goes on and on.
But, somehow the President expects us to believe that your family’s debt is down and his policies are responsible for it.
On the savings side of the President’s statement, the accuracy of his remarks are no better. Americans’ savings accounts have also shrunk by more than $9,000 over the past year – from $73,100 in 2021 to $62,086 in 2022 – according to a survey from wealth management company Northwestern Mutual.
2. President Biden slammed the “lies about his reckless spending.”
President Biden got the most animated in his scripted speech when he talked about our national debt. “Republicans like to portray me as a big spender. Yeah, I spend a lot of money but let’s compare the facts. Under Trump, the deficit exploded, rising every single year. Under my plan, last year, we cut the deficit by $350 billion dollars. By the end of this fiscal year, we will have cut the federal deficit by another $1.6 trillion dollars – in one year. Almost $2 trillion dollars in deficit reduction.”
First off, only a lifelong DC insider would try to portray himself as both a big spender and a deficit hawk. With a non-critical and adoring press, certain politicians believe that they can fool the public into thinking that reckless spending will lead to fiscal prudence and financial stability. President Biden wants to dramatically increase spending across the board, not cut spending or even hold spending increases within reason.
Second, President Biden is correct that the deficit exploded under President Trump and that is not a good thing. But, the fact that the deficit increased so much at the end of Trump’s term is exactly the reason that it looks like it is getting better in the first two years of the Biden administration.
Reason and Heritage did an outstanding job showing why the President is only telling the American public half the story.
“Indeed, this year’s deficit is expected to be less than half of last year’s $2.8 trillion shortfall. Smart reporters and commentators have pointed out, correctly, that this drop in the deficit is a mirage created by the end of the federal government’s COVID-19 emergency spending, which blasted the budget deficit to never-before-seen levels during each of the past two fiscal years.”
“You can see the big drop-off from fiscal year 2021 to fiscal year 2022 that the White House has been talking about. What hardly anyone is discussing is the gap between the red bars and the grey bars in every year over the next decade. That gap is the result of deficit spending that Biden signed into law over the past 16 months, including the American Rescue Plan, the bipartisan infrastructure package, and spending increases included in the federal budget that passed in March.”
So, technically the President is correct that the deficit is coming down this year, but it is NOT coming down because he decided to take a hard stand against runaway spending. We wish President Biden was a “moderate” Democrat who worries about passing along mountains and mountains of debt to our children and our grandchildren so we could give him all the credit in the world for being fiscally responsible. Sadly, he is not. In fact, it is literally becoming almost impossible to find anyone in the Democrat Party who cares about reckless spending and the legacy of financial irresponsibility we are leaving to future generations.
The deficit is coming down because the fiscally reckless and unsustainable COVID spending has thankfully come to an end. The President’s own fiscally reckless spending plan, while technically “paused” this year, then immediately adds to and makes the deficit significantly WORSE.
Finally, the President happily calls himself a big spender but refuses to acknowledge the basic economic principle that printing all of that new money would automatically lead to higher prices and steep inflation. With so many dollars chasing a limited supply of goods during a time of supply chain crisis, prices started to climb…and they have not stopped.
Even a few from within Biden’s own party warned him what lie ahead. President Obama’s top economic advisor, Larry Summers, commented on the stimulus plan before it passed that “There is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels than normal recession levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation.”
3. President Biden, “I’ve done everything in my power to blunt Putin’s gas price hike. Just since he invaded Ukraine, it’s gone up $1.74 a gallon, because of nothing else but that.”
Feeling pressure in the primary race to secure the Democrat nomination for President, Biden was very clear on his plans for US domestic oil production and the energy sector in general.
“No more subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, no more drilling on federal lands, no more drilling, including offshore, no ability for the industry to continue to drill,” Biden declared. “It ends.”
He even went so far as to say to one little girl on the campaign trail, “ I guarantee you, I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuels.”
That is exactly what he did as soon as he took office. On day one of his administration, President Biden signed an executive order ending the Keystone Pipeline, which would have carried oil from Canada to refineries in the United States. President Biden then issued another executive order directing the Secretary of the Interior to “pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices.”
In addition, bureaucrats from his own Administration and lawsuits from the President’s radical environmental base are holding up thousands of drilling leases which would have increased oil production.
Finally, remember when President Biden released oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to combat rising gas prices? The President said that gas prices would go down 10-35 cents. The price of gas has only gone up since then. Today gas sits at approximately $4.91 a gallon.
And while there’s no end in sight to the burden of historically high gas prices, there’s more pain to come. Last year, before he reached nearly $5 dollar a gallon gasoline, the federal government estimated that heating bills would jump 54% compared to last year. A colder winter could drive increases even higher.
4. Elsewhere in the speech, the President also insisted that his administration “created the greatest jobs recovery in history.”
This is a fine piece of revisionist history.
The extended, forced closure of businesses crippled economic productivity, forced over 3 million people into poverty and caused job losses from which we have not yet recovered. This is why we detest politicians so much. They caused the significant job loss in the first place by locking down the economy and closing “non-essential” businesses. Then those same politicians take credit for expected hiring when businesses start to make a comeback after the government finally stopped trying to suffocate the businesses.
According to Harvard’s Economic Tracker, the nation’s employment rate now is just 1.5% lower than when Biden took office – hardly the greatest jobs recovery in history.
In fact, when Biden came into office with vaccines already rolling out and COVID infections in decline, his focus was not on getting children back in school, reopening businesses and spurring economic recovery.
His focus was equity.
Biden’s first Executive Order was on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, and other EOs from that week focused on allowing workers to refuse employment, raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 per hour, expanding collective bargaining for federal workers, and gender identity discrimination. The White House Talking Points on Biden’s initial EOs mention equity and inequality 6 times, race and color 3 times, and the economy 4 times, only once not tied to race or equity.
It’s not surprising that when the President’s eye was on race, equity, unions, and gender identity, he missed opportunities to get the economy back on track. What is surprising is his utter lack of regard for the facts, and his hyperbolic insistence that his administration has made the lives of Americans better.
The gurus at PolitiFact have been much slower on the draw in factchecking the White House since January 2021. Perhaps it’s because the supply chain of falsehoods coming from the Biden Administration is so robust they struggle to focus. But as we await what one can only assume will be numerous pants-on-fire ratings from this single speech, we wanted to shine light on the facts.