“Inflation is the bane of our existence,” President Biden lamented last week to talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. Unfortunately, he was referring to inflation’s effect on presidential approval ratings, not the plight of average Americans brutalized to pay for gas and groceries.
The president’s speech Tuesday to the AFL-CIO was another Team Biden pity party that hard facts were not permitted to interrupt.
CLAIM: Biden boasted that he “put America in a position to tackle the worldwide problem that’s worse everywhere but here: inflation.”
REALITY: Were Joe’s speechwriters using “Common Core” math that makes all bad numbers vanish? Inflation is 8.6% in America and 5.4% in South Korea, 5.1% in Australia, 6.8% in Canada.
CLAIM: Biden continued blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for price hikes here in America.
REALITY: But National Public Radio reported earlier this year that “between 2019 and 2021, the US saw one of the biggest inflation-rate increases in the world, behind only Brazil and Turkey.” Inflation had increased fourfold under Biden — reaching 7% — before Russia invaded Ukraine. Wholesale price inflation last month was almost 11% — signaling worse times ahead for US consumers.
CLAIM: Biden on Wednesday accused US oil companies of making excessive profits. He ordered them to “take immediate actions to increase the supply” of gasoline and diesel fuels.
REALITY: Biden’s own policies have disrupted energy markets. The American Petroleum Institute issued a list of 10 steps Biden could take to reduce supply disruptions, including ending obstruction of permitting on natural-gas projects, lifting development restrictions on federal lands and waters and ending Trump-era steel tariffs.
CLAIM: Biden apparently thinks that public raving can restore confidence in his leadership. He literally screamed at the AFL-CIO audience: “I don’t want to hear any more of these lies about reckless spending. We’re changing people’s lives!”
REALITY: Federal Reserve analysts estimated that Biden’s deluge of handouts added 3% to the inflation rate by late last year. The Federal Reserve has boosted the money supply by 40% since the start of the pandemic, helping fuel price surges across the board.
CLAIM: The president told the AFL-CIO he wants to fight inflation by offering new subsidies for child care. In Chicago, Biden said, “It costs you 12 to 14 thousand dollars a month for child care.” Does that include limousine service to and from the day-care facilities or what?
REALITY: The White House Press Office silently corrected the official transcript, adding “[year]” after the word “month.” But it couldn’t fix the logic that a deluge of new federal handouts would miraculously lower prices.
CLAIM: Perhaps the biggest howler in Biden’s speech was his plan to fight US food price hikes by building temporary grain silos in western Ukraine and eastern Poland to facilitate wheat exports.
REALITY: Diddling with silos will be too little, too late for consumers in America or anywhere beyond Europe. Pathetic talking points in presidential speeches are no substitute for bread.
CLAIM: Biden bragged about cutting the federal deficit by almost $2 trillion in his first two years.
REALITY: But that is almost entirely because the 2020 baseline was a tsunami of deficit spending tied to the pandemic. The Congressional Budget Office predicts deficits averaging $1.6 trillion per year from 2023 to 2032, concluding with the highest ratio of federal debt to GDP in American history.
CLAIM: Biden claimed that he had “created the greatest job recovery in American history. . . . Since I’ve become president, we’ve created 8.7 million new jobs in 16 months.”
REALITY: Does it count as a “new job” if it was “created” solely because politicians ceased prohibiting people from going to work? Almost all of the Biden “success story” is simply jobs returning from the pandemic shutdowns and disruptions. According to Statista.com, nationwide employment this year will be roughly the same level as 2019.
CLAIM: Biden boasted, “We opened schools and businesses that were shuttered.”
REALITY: It was the teachers unions that did more than anyone else to keep schools closed, and those unions have been an arm of the Democratic Party for decades. Democratic governors were far more aggressive in locking down state economies.
CLAIM: Biden portrayed his COVID policies as part of his economic success story: “We brought down COVID deaths by 90%.”
REALITY: More than 600,000 people have died from COVID since Biden became president, 50% more than died during the Trump administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was reporting more than 1 million new COVID cases a day in January. Biden better hurry with his latest COVID victory lap since the White House forecasts up to 100 million new COVID cases this coming fall and winter.
Biden alternates between claiming credit for everything good that happens in America and swearing to be an innocent bystander to an economy going off the rails. There are plenty of slanted fact-checking websites waiting to absolve progressive policies and Democratic politicians. But there is no cure for the grim numbers that Americans see every day at the gas pump. Perhaps Biden’s only hope is that the fact checkers can persuade people: “Don’t believe your lying eyes!”
James Bovard is the author of 10 books and a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors.