As TV screens showed the Dow Jones tumbling on inflation and renewed COVID fears, President Joe Biden took to the podium Monday to brag about how great the economy is doing and why he deserves all the credit. It was a remarkable act of prestidigitation for such an old man.
Biden said that “it’s true that the economy was sputtering before I got here.” That’s provably false.
He said that: “We’ve gone from 60,000 jobs per month to … more than 600,000 jobs per month since I took office.” That’s grossly misleading.
He went on to boast that: “Look, we’ve brought this economy back from the brink.” That is a bald-faced lie.
Biden’s intent with his remarks is to argue that his $1.9 trillion “rescue” bill saved the economy, and the even bigger spending bills he wants Congress to pass will keep it going. No one should believe a word of it.
Take his claims about jobs. It is true that the average job gain in Donald Trump’s last three months in office averaged 60,000. But Biden is seriously cherry-picking his data.
The average monthly job growth from April 2020 to January 2021 was 1.5 million. That’s the average. Per month. The labor market had regained 60% of the jobs lost by the time Trump left office.
Compared to that, the 600,000 monthly job gains under Biden looks paltry.
Job growth was so fast in Trump’s last nine months in office that the unemployment rate plunged from 14.8% in April 2020 to 6.3% by January 2021. That was far below what the economic experts Biden loves to quote had expected.
By comparison, the unemployment rate under Biden has gone down only three-tenths of a percentage point, from 6.2% in February to 5.9% in June (which was up from May’s 5.8%).
Here’s another measure of the relative success of the labor market under Biden:
The number of people who weren’t in the labor force – not working and not looking for a job – exploded as a result of the lockdowns. But then it came quickly down as 2.8 million rejoined the workforce from April to December. From January until June of this year, in contrast, just 435,000 rejoined the labor force.
So much for Biden rescuing the labor market.
How about his claim that the economy was “sputtering” and “on the brink” when he took office?
Look at the data.
GDP growth in Q3 of last year was a stunning 33.4%. In Q4 it climbed another 4.3%, and another 6.4% in Q1 of this year. How is that “sputtering,” exactly?
As to the economy “on the brink,” the National Bureau of Economic Research — the official recession scorekeeper — reported on the same day Biden made his remarks that the recession ended in April. That’s April of 2020! That’s back when Biden was hiding in his basement. It’s officially the shortest recession in U.S. history!
And by the end of the first quarter of this year, the GDP had regained all the ground it lost after the shutdown. All of it, plus a little more.
Remember that Trump was still president at the start of Q1, and Biden didn’t sign his “rescue” bill until March 12, which was just 19 days before Q1 ended.
There’s more. Republican-led states have driven the job recovery, not the ones that have been following the lockdowns and restrictions pushed by Biden. (Remember, it was Biden who called Texas’ reopening “Neanderthal thinking”.)
As it stands, eight of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates voted for Trump in 2020. Nine of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates voted for Biden. And the states that refused the $300 weekly unemployment bonus included in Biden’s “rescue” plan are recovering faster than those handing out the Biden bonuses.
There’s also the inconvenient truth that the vaccine, which Biden says is one of the big reasons for the economic boom, was developed under Trump – and developed faster than anyone, including Biden, expected – thanks in part to Trump’s Operation Warp Speed.
Biden has achieved one thing on the economy: he’s brought inflation back. It’s climbed each month this year, and now his own people are warning that it could last. In his remarks, Biden dismissed the rising CPI as transitory and that it was fully expected as the economy recovered. That’s not true, either. Nobody in his administration was predicting the spike that is now underway, and now Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is saying it will go on “for several more months.”
To review: The data show that Biden’s “rescue” plan had zero, zip, nada to do with the economic rebound, and that Biden is bending the truth to the breaking point to claim otherwise. So, where is that army of media fact-checkers when you need them?
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board