Months after President Joe Biden supposedly “rescued” the country from the COVID-19 pandemic and promised that he’d bring the country together, how is the nation doing? Well, there are several indicators on the rise. Unfortunately, they are all indicators of trouble.
The news Thursday that the GDP gained 6.5% in the second quarter (the first full quarter since Biden signed his American Rescue Plan) is good. But it is well below economists’ forecasts. The Blue Chip Consensus forecast was above 9%, and other surveys pegged Q2 growth at 8.5%. It was also just barely above the gain in Q1 — which was before any of Biden’s policies had taken effect.
Still, other things are on the rise under Biden, too, many of them well above expectations.
The misery index is up, for example, so is inflation, pessimism, and financial stress. Illegal border crossings are up and murders are way up. Oh, and cases of COVID-19 — the disease Biden said he would slay — are increasing again.
Naturally, while taking credit for the good GDP number, the Biden administration is trying to pin the blame for all these other things on President Donald Trump. But how convincing can that be, when Biden ostentatiously broke with just about every one of Trump’s policies and did so in ways that had an immediate effect?
We’ve put together eight charts that help tell this story, starting with the inflation rate.
Even liberal economists were warning that Biden’s spending spree — coming after two historically large stimulus bills under Trump and long after the COVID recession had ended — would set off an inflation spiral. And what do you know? Energy costs, food costs, and the costs of most everything else are climbing at a rapid clip, despite promises from Biden that the current spike is transitory.
While prices are rising, Biden’s unemployment bonuses and other payments to non-workers have kept people from taking jobs. Biden himself all but admitted as much when at a recent town hall, but told employers just to raise their wages. As a result, after falling rapidly under Trump, the unemployment rate has held steady since the beginning of the year.
The combination of high unemployment and soaring prices back in the 1960s gave rise to the Misery Index, which is derived simply by adding the inflation rate to the unemployment rate. As we reported recently, the Misery Index has climbed every month since Biden took office.
Despite the fact that the recession ended more than a year ago, and the economy had already made up most of the ground it lost during the lockdown when he took office, Biden talks endlessly about how he’s “rescued” an economy that was “on the brink.” He then rattles off lots of seemingly cheery statistics, crediting his $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” and other government largesse for them all.
We’ve already detailed how this boast is based on a series of lies. But more to the point, if handing money out willy-nilly was supposed to rescue the economy and make families whole, why are people feeling more financial stress now than they were a few months ago? The IBD/TIPP Financial Stress Index has been on the rise since April.
Not only are people worried about their current financial condition, but they are also more pessimistic about their prospects for the coming year. An ABC News/Ipsos poll found pessimism about the way things are going shot up from April to July of this year.
The increase in pessimism and stress could be the result of the fact that wages haven’t been keeping up with inflation. The chart below shows the inflation-adjusted average hourly earnings for private-sector workers so far this year. Notice that this trend is not up.
Biden can hardly blame Trump for the sharp rise in violent crime, either, although he and his fellow Democrats keep insisting that it’s all because of insufficiently strict gun control laws. The real cause, of course, has been the demonization of the police by Democrats (up to and including Biden), and the often successful attempts to cut police department funding while hamstringing officers. The result has been a huge increase in murder and assaults in the nation’s major cities.
Biden also blames Trump for the crisis at the southern border. But as we’ve written about in this space already, Biden created a crisis where none existed by promising to throw open the border and grant citizenship to millions of people here illegally. Then he put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of “fixing it,” and started blathering on about “root causes.” The results speak for themselves: an unprecedented flood of illegal immigrants, including unaccompanied children, many of whom are being released into the country.
And to top it off, the one thing people apparently trusted Biden to do was tackle the COVID-19 virus. He said he had a plan. He and his fellow Democrats rushed through a massive new spending bill to carry it out. But now vaccination rates have stalled and new cases are growing again thanks to the Delta variant.
Biden and Co. have been busy trying to pin the blame for this on Republicans, but as we reported recently, it’s minority groups and other Democratic constituencies who are least likely to be vaccinated. And, because Biden has spent so much time raising the hysteria level about COVID, he can’t just admit that this virus will be with us forever and tell people to “live with it,” as Trump once (correctly) advised. Instead, he’s pointing fingers and fumbling about with new mask mandates, forced vaccinations, and other draconian measures.
It is true that Biden has been in office for only six months. It’s also true things could turn around. But we don’t see that happening unless Biden changes course.
We have no doubt that Biden was very much hoping one day to tell the public how he killed COVID and saved the economy (just as he once bragged that “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive” while he and President Barack Obama where in the White House).
The way things are going right now, Biden might one day have to admit that “the economy is dead, but COVID is alive.”
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board