“Few pieces of legislation have done more in a critical moment in our history to lift us out of a crisis.” That was how President Joe Biden, early in his State of the Union address, described the $2 trillion “American Rescue Plan.” It’s hard to know where to begin in unpacking why this is so incredibly wrong.
But Biden himself provided one answer by spending much of his speech talking about how he’s going to fight rising inflation. The very inflation that the “American Rescue Plan” unleashed.
Put another way, what Biden said is that Americans need relief from Biden’s “rescue.”
How about his claim that this bill did more than anything in history of “life us out of a crisis”? Let’s review.
First, the country wasn’t in an economic crisis. Not by a long shot. When Biden signed his deficit-financed spending spree into law, he did so more than a year after the recession had ended, and almost at the exact moment that GDP had regained all the ground it lost during the pointless COVID lockdowns.
Unemployment was plunging — much faster than expected — and prices were steady. And even some prominent liberals warned at the time that dumping $2 trillion in borrowed cash onto a fast-growing economy would spark a surge in inflation.
What’s more, the economy has been underperforming ever since Biden enacted his “rescue,” as each month brings another “unexpected” miss. Last year’s growth came in well below what the Congressional Budget Office predicted it would be in June 2021. The Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s GDPNow estimate for the current quarter stands at close to 0% growth.
Another way to gauge just how much good his “rescue” plan did is to ask yourself this: Are you better off today than you were last March 1?
We recently added up the many ways that the country is worse off (“Are You Better Off Than You Were A Year Ago?”), but it’s worth repeating here, as Biden and his media minions try to put a happy face on the growing misery.
Inflation is up. The year-over-year inflation rate in January was 7.5%. A year ago it was 1.4%. For the second half of 2021, prices jumped 6%, a rate higher than any year since Jimmy Carter’s stagflation gripped the nation.
Wages and disposable income are down. Biden keeps claiming that wages are climbing. And they are. But inflation is climbing faster. As a result, after adjusting for the rapid rise in prices, average weekly wages are down 3% from a year ago.
So is disposable income. Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show that real household disposable income was lower in December 2021 than it was at the start of the year, and back down to where it was in November 2020.
The Misery Index is up. When Biden took office, the Misery Index – which simply adds the unemployment and inflation rates together – stood at 7.7 and it was falling fast. It is now at 10.94, with increases in inflation swamping the decline in unemployment.
Consumer confidence is down. The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment has been nosediving since last spring and this month hit a low not seen since 2011 – when Biden was vice president.
Dissatisfaction is up. An ongoing Gallup survey finds that nearly two-thirds of the public are dissatisfied with the state of the nation, up from 55% in January 2021. The year before that, only 29% said they were dissatisfied.
Then there’s the fact that Biden promised that his “rescue” plan would deliver the country from COVID.
When he announced his “American Rescue Plan” in January 2021, Biden claimed it was “a whole-of-government COVID-19 response plan that will change the course of the pandemic by ensuring we have necessary supplies and protective gear, increasing testing to mitigate spread, vaccinating the U.S. population, safely reopening schools, and addressing COVID-19 health disparities.”
In the year since Biden made that statement, the CDC has recorded more than 521,000 COVID deaths, which is well over the number that occurred during the Trump administration.
The only reason cases are falling now is because that’s how infectious diseases work. They always peak and then fall off. COVID has been going through peaks and valleys since the first cases emerged. The vaccines didn’t stop it. Biden’s free COVID tests didn’t stop it. His mask mandates didn’t stop it.
Biden wants the public to believe that today’s hard times aren’t his fault. He’s counting on the public being more mentally decrepit than he is.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board