Biden’s six favorite lies about inflation and the economy
Every modern president has stretched the truth now and then, and the media loved to torch Trump nearly every other day for lying. But Biden’s routine misstatements about money and the economy seem to go unchallenged.
In recent months, as the economy has slipped into a soft recession and with inflation at 9.1 percent the Biden whoppers keep coming fast and furious.
Here are six of the most economically consequential deceptions of the Biden administration.
- Nobody making under four hundred thousand bucks will have their taxes raised. Period.
This one was reminiscent of the infamous George H.W. Bush claim in 1988 “read my lips: no new taxes.” Biden didn’t say he wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class once or twice, but routinely throughout the campaign — and he even STILL says it.
Except that inflation is a tax that hits the middle class and the poor hardest and over the past year, prices have outpaced wages and salaries by roughly four percentage points. With the average worker wage and salary at roughly $60,000 per year (that’s a lot less than $400,000) this means a $2,400 per worker Biden inflation tax and as much as double that for families with husband and wife both working.
- Inflation is worse everywhere but here.
Biden claimed this most recently in a speech in Philadelphia as an excuse for high inflation here at home. It is hogwash. Inflation is lower in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and many other countries.
- The economy had stalled when I entered office.
The reality is that Biden was bequeathed an economy with robust growth coming out of the pandemic. In the second half of 2020, the economy grew more than $1.5 trillion at an annualized rate. The growth rate for the second half of 2020 even with COVID was almost 15 percent.
Moreover, when Biden entered office, the economy was prepped for an enormous tail winds gust because of the Trump “operation warp speed” vaccine that was just hitting the market and allowing businesses to reopen and workers to return to the job.
- I am responsible for the strongest job creation economy in modern times.
This is more an exaggeration than a bold-faced lie.
On jobs, we will give the president his due. This has been an impressive hiring spree over the past 14 months and the jobs are out there for those who want them. But this is NOT the strongest period for job creation. That hiring record was set in 2020 under Trump who presided over the initial recovery following the government-imposed lockdowns.
Job growth under Trump from May 2020 to Jan 2021 averaged 1.4 million jobs per month, for a total of 12.5 million people returning to work. But under Biden, average job growth per month has been cut by more than half, down to 542,000 with 8.7 million people returning to work. That means Biden has added 31 percent fewer jobs in 16 months than Trump did in nine.
- Since I took office, families are carrying less debt, their average savings are up.
This is a strange and oft-repeated White House claim.
The amount families are able to save each month has utterly collapsed, falling 74 percent since Biden took office, while the personal savings rate has plummeted from 19.9 percent to just 5.4 percent. Likewise, the claim about declining debt is equally untrue. Household debt has risen by $1.29 trillion in just the first 15 months of Biden’s presidency. Credit card debt, which decreased over $100 billion during the pandemic, is now exploding at the fastest rates on record as families run out of savings and fall into debt.
Put simply, they cannot afford to live in Biden’s America. Biden also ignores a stock market selloff that has evaporated some $10 trillion of Americans’ wealth and savings. This is one of the greatest periods of savings disappearing.
- I’m doing everything I can to lower gas prices.
We wonder if ANYONE actually believes this claim.
The folks at Institute for Energy Research have identified 100 separate Biden executive orders, regulations, and laws that have impeded oil and gas production and raised prices at the pump. These range from killing pipelines, to expanding EPA regulations on oil and gas drilling and refining, to taking hundreds of thousands of acres of prime oil and gas lands on public lands and in areas like the Gulf of Mexico off-limits for drilling. Economist Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago estimates that these policies have reduced oil and gas drilling by 2 to 3 million barrels a day. That increased production would bring gas prices down at the pump.
Perhaps none of these half-truths and outright fibs should be too surprising. What should we expect from the administration that first denied inflation, then said inflation was transitory, then claimed it was only a high-class problem? Biden has done another about-face, decrying inflation as bad but now it is Russia’s fault or greedy businesses, like meatpackers or oil companies and even mom-and-pop gas station owners.
C’mon Joe. We’re not that dumb. Give us a little more truth.
Stephen Moore is a distinguished visiting fellow in Economics, and EJ Antoni is a research fellow for Regional Economic in the Center for Data Analysis, at the Heritage Foundation. Moore is a cofounder of Committee to Unleash Prosperity, where Antoni is a senior fellow.