‘When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ — Humpty Dumpty, ‘Through the Looking Glass‘
Last week, the Biden administration tried to convince the public that inflation was a thing of the past and the southern border was secure. Before that, the president attempted to redefine inflation. It’s been a running theme of this administration, one Joe Biden never gets called on because the press is too busy accepting whatever meaning he chooses.
So here, as a reader service, is a collection of how Humpty Dumpty Biden is choosing what words will mean.
“Zero Percent:” Last week Biden stood behind his presidential podium and declared that “we received news that our economy had 0% inflation in the month of July — 0%.” In a statement, he went further, saying “overall, prices have been essentially flat in our country these last two months: that is welcome news for American families.”
That depends on what 0% means. Food prices were up 1.1% in July and 0.8% in August. Housing costs climbed a total of 1.3% over those months. Medical care was up 1.2%. The only reason the overall inflation rate didn’t climb in July and August was because of a sharp drop in gasoline prices. That’s little comfort to those trying to put food on the table or pay rent.
Year over year, prices in August were 8.3% higher than the year before, which were 5.3% higher than the year before that.
“Welcome news” must also mean something different to Biden than everyone else in the country.
“Secure:” Last week also saw Vice President Kamala Harris insist that the southern border is secure – a claim Biden officials have been making since January 2021. White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated that point.
Secure, eh? Since Biden took office, 3.7 million illegals have crossed the border. More than a million have done so just since March.
“Success:” Sure, more than a dozen soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack. And yes, thousands of Americans and friends of the U.S. were left stranded in Afghanistan. And the images coming out of the country during Biden’s pullout were chaotic. Sure, he lied about the advice he got from military brass about the dangers. Oh, and a drone strike that was supposed to target a person responsible for the soldiers’ deaths hit the wrong target.
But this is what Biden chooses “extraordinary success” to mean. Or as he put it, “The extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill, bravery, and selfless courage of the United States military and our diplomats and intelligence professionals.”
“Pandemic:” Over the weekend, Biden declared the pandemic is over. Nobody knows how Biden defines this term. Last year he called it the “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” until people who’d been vaccinated and boosted started getting COVID – including Biden. Just days ago, it seems, team Biden was warning about a winter surge. We welcome this declaration that the pandemic is over, which should have been issued long ago. But trust us, as soon as it’s politically convenient, Biden will change the meaning of pandemic so he can say it’s back.
“Affordable:” This month, the White House issued an “economic blueprint” touting all the “successes” of the Biden-Harris administration. One of them is “making food more affordable for families.” In it, the report says “the Biden-Harris Administration is also increasing access to affordable, nutritious foods.” That might seem like an odd claim, given that food costs 15% more today than it did when Biden took office, according to the Consumer Price Index. (That’s more than the previous eight years.) Feeding America, a national umbrella organization for food banks, reported a 15% increase in demand in early summer.
So, how has Biden made food “more affordable”? By that, he chooses to mean that he increased the amount of money that food stamp recipients get by $36 a month.
“Recession:” The economy is not in a recession, Biden insists, even though it’s suffered two consecutive quarters of decline in GDP, which has been the definition of a recession for many, many, many years. The Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s GDPNow indicates that the third quarter could also be negative. Even now the White House wants to brag about Biden’s “leadership” on the economy.
“Jobs:” Biden has repeatedly boasted that he’s created more jobs than any president in history. Even the press hasn’t been able to stomach that one. Almost the entirety of the job growth under Biden has been making up jobs lost during the pointless COVID shutdown. And Biden has done far worse than Trump on that score, as we’ve pointed out in this space. In the last nine months of Trump’s presidency, the economy added back 12.5 million of the 22 million jobs lost. In the 19 months since Biden took office, the economy regained 9.7 million jobs.
“Jim Crow:” After Georgia passed a set of entirely prudent election integrity reforms, Biden declared it “Jim Crow on steroids.” The law, he and countless other leftists insisted, was nothing more than a voter suppression scheme cooked up by racist Republicans. Turns out that voting during Georgia’s primaries this year shattered records, including among minorities, with 8 million more votes cast than in 2018.
We could go on, but you get the picture.
In “Through the Looking Glass,” Alice responds to Humpty Dumpty’s declaration about words by saying: “The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things.” To which Humpty responds: “The question is, which is to be master — that’s all.”
Our guess is the Biden administration used this exchange as a tutorial instead of a warning.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board