President Biden, desperate to provide lift to his sagging approval ratings, has released his "plan for fighting inflation" and it’s a doozy.
For too long, the president didn’t have a plan, because it served his interests to say inflation was only “transitory.” “Who you gonna believe,” he seemed to ask us, “me and [Federal Reserve Chair] Jay [Powell], or your lyin’ eyes at the grocery store?”
To reassure us that he’s serious about this, he took to the pages of The Wall Street Journal.
Biden’s first exaggeration appears in the opening line of the third paragraph: “In January 2021, when I took office, the recovery had stalled.…“ In that and succeeding paragraphs, he takes credit for all manner of things: “The job market is the strongest since the post-World War II era," “A higher percentage of Americans reported feeling financially comfortable at the end of 2021 than at any time since the survey began in 2013," “Business investment is up 20%," “The U.S. is in a better economic position than almost any other country," and “The U.S. economy may grow faster this year than China’s economy for the first time since 1976.”
Biden’s assertion that the economy had “stalled” is important. So is the presence (absence?) of the dog that didn’t bark – that is, the shutdown-induced retrenchment in the economy. Together, they build the foundation for the rest of his argument.
A weak foundation it is.
First, by what measure does Biden allege the recovery “stalled”?
A look at U.S. economic growth on a month-by-month basis reveals important data. Before the coronavirus arrived, the economy was humming along nicely, hitting a peak of $21.92 trillion at the end of February 2020. Then came the shutdown-induced retrenchment, driving our economy to a low point of $18.51 trillion in April 2020. That was followed by a robust recovery, so much so that the economy had recovered fully, and surpassed its previous peak, reaching $22.02 trillion by the time Biden arrived in January 2021.
During those nine months of recovery, in only one of them – November 2020 – did economic growth “stall.” In the other eight months, the economy was roaring back, full steam ahead.
Second, in virtually all of the things he takes credit for, he fails to mention that each metric is relative, not absolute, and is compared to what came before – where “before” is the trench at the bottom of the retrenchment. Measuring from such a low starting point has the effect of enhancing the achievement.
For instance, Biden claims credit for the strongest job market since World War II, and for the fact that “manufacturing jobs are growing at their fastest rate in 30 years.” But he fails to mention that the shutdown-induced retrenchment cost us 22 million jobs. When you’re starting so far behind, even 30 miles per hour looks like Indy-car speed.
Perhaps most insulting is the assertion that our economy may grow faster than China’s in 2022 for the first time since 1976. For what does he take us? Biden drops that on us as if he and his economic team had anything to do with that, when, in reality, if that actually comes to pass, it will be because of a slowdown in China’s economic growth, courtesy of policies imposed by the Chinese Communist Party – because of which, China’s shutdown-induced retrenchment is hitting it in 2022 rather than two years ago, when it hit the rest of the world.
Then comes Biden’s biggest mistake, cloaked as an achievement – his renomination of Fed Chair Jay Powell.
As Fed chair, Powell was the government official most responsible for keeping inflation under control.
Overseeing the worst inflation in 40 years is, to put it mildly, failing at keeping inflation under control.
Yet Biden chose to renominate Powell for another four-year term at the helm of the Fed. There’s no amount of window-dressing that can hide that fundamental fact.
All in all, it’s the standard drivel we’ve come to expect from Team Biden. Save yourself the effort, and put your time to better and more productive use – go see “Top Gun: Maverick.”
Jenny Beth Martin is honorary chairman of Tea Party Patriots Action.