Joe Biden went on prime time this week to promote his COVID-19 plans. For a guy who promises to be honest with the public, he’s off to a terrible start. Since mainstream media fact-checkers are now on their four-year vacation, we’ll set the record straight on several key claims he made.
1) “You will see it very clearly if you examine what the twin crises of pandemic and this sinking economy have laid bare.”
Sinking economy? Where has Biden been for the past six months? As the Bureau of Economic Analysis has already reported, the economy grew at a stunning 33.4% in the third quarter of this year – well above anyone’s expectations. The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow pegs growth in the fourth quarter at a very strong 7.4%. (The last time GDP grew that much in a quarter was during the Reagan boom.) Unemployment, which was supposed to be close to 10% now, according to mainstream economists, is down to 6.7%. What’s more, as of November, 17 states had unemployment levels at 5% or lower. That’s not to say we are out of the woods, but the idea that the economy is “sinking” is a figment of Biden’s imagination. Either that, or he’s purposely misleading the country to justify another $1.9 trillion in stimulus spending.
Over the weekend, a Biden aid claimed the economy was “spiraling downward.”
2) “Moody’s, an independent Wall Street firm, said my approach will create more than 18 million good-paying jobs.”
It is true that Moody’s economist Mark Zandi claimed in a report that Biden’s economic plan would create millions of jobs. But as we noted in this space earlier, Zandi is a partisan with a poor track record.
It was the same Mark Zandi who predicted that if Trump won the election in 2016, he’d cause “a lot of lost jobs, higher unemployment, higher interest rates, lower stock prices.”
Zandi predicted that in Trump’s first term the unemployment rate would be 5.7% in 2019, and climb from there. Actual result: Unemployment was 3.5% at the end of 2019, and falling.
He said there’d be 146 million jobs in 2019. Actual result: 152 million.
Zandi said the economy would eke out just 2.8% real GDP growth from 2016 through 2019. Actual number: 7.7%.
Referring to this figure without providing context is highly misleading.
3) “ But, the vaccine rollout in the United States has been a dismal failure thus far.”
This is another Big Biden Lie that we exposed on these pages a while ago. Currently, the U.S. leads the world in the number of vaccinations administered and the number who’ve been fully vaccinated, and ranks behind only the United Kingdom among western nations on a per capita basis. What’s more, daily vaccination rates continue to skyrocket in the U.S., topping 747,000 on the day Biden made his speech.
So why is Biden claiming the rollout has been a dismal failure? One reason is to bash President Donald Trump, but the bigger reason is to justify a massive new spending program to “fix” the problem.
4) “This gets money quickly into the pockets of millions of Americans who will spend it immediately on food and rent and other basic needs. As the economists tell us, that helps the whole economy grow.”
Biden was talking about his plans to cut another stimulus check of $1,400 to Americans, which would be on top of the $600 checks people are getting right now, thanks to the last $900 billion COVID-19 bill, as well as the $400 boost in weekly unemployment checks.
But “economists” are hardly all in favor of these measures. CBS News reported that “economists are split over whether increasing the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 per person is a good idea.”
Liberal economist Larry Summers called the $2,000 payments a “big mistake,” saying that “there is no good economic argument for the $2,000 checks” and that, in fact, they risk overheating the economy.
As for the unemployment bonus, some economists have noted that making unemployment nearly as, if not more, lucrative than holding a job will – not surprisingly – discourage people from finding work. No matter what Biden thinks, that’s not how you grow the economy.
Finally, it’s far from clear that people will “spend it immediately.” Some 60% of the money sent out through the CARES Act was either saved or used to pay down debt, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Analysis.
5) “A growing number of top economists has shown, even our debt situation will be more stable, not less stable if we seize this moment with vision and purpose.”
There are some economists on the left who figure that, with interest rates so low, why not borrow trillions more to “invest” in liberal wish-list items.
But it’s hardly a consensus, and we seriously doubt that it’s “growing.”
Manhattan Institute economist Brian Riedl explained the folly of this thinking:
“First, the debt is already set to soar in the absence of any new spending. And second, these bloated debt levels will mean that any future rise in interest rates could bring a full-scale debt crisis.”
Meanwhile, Forbes reported earlier this month that “the debt load governments like the U.S. are taking on to fund such stimulus measures could stall economic growth for years to come, the World Bank warned Tuesday, echoing concerns among experts worried inflation could trigger another recession.”
As the Committee to Unleash Prosperity notes, Biden’s would be the fifth – or it is sixth? – virus-relief bill enacted in less than a year, and would bring the total to almost $5.5 trillion.
And Biden’s plan is stuffed full of liberal wish-list items that have nothing to do with COVID. A Biden adviser tried over the weekend to defend the plan’s inclusion of things like $20 billion for public transit, $9 billion for cybersecurity, and a federal $15 minimum wage.
“Only a half-wit would ever support this monstrosity,” the Committee wryly observes, “which means it is likely to romp through the House and Senate.”
So there you have it. A $1.9 trillion stimulus plan built on lies and misinformation. Joe “No Malarkey” Biden is not off to a good start.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board