Joe Biden has made some audacious claims about the state of the U.S. economy and how it has improved under his watch. It’s easy for those of us on the right to laugh at the things Biden is saying, but how true are his statements?
Earlier this week, while everybody here in the U.S. was thawing the turkey, mixing dressing, and baking pecan pies, the BBC performed a fact check on Biden’s claims about the economy. Let’s take a look at what they discovered.
On Nov. 23, Biden said that “We’re experiencing the strongest economic recovery in the world.” That’s a heady claim, no matter who says it. The thing is, Biden’s somewhat right. The U.S. GDP has risen by 6% since he came into office.
And the American economy has rebounded from the pandemic in a robust way, but the vast majority of the recovery happened while Donald Trump was still in office.
In that same Nov. 23 speech, Biden said that “our economy has created a record 5.6 million jobs since I became President on January 20th.” He’s actually spot on there because as of October, the U.S. economy has added 5,583,000 jobs, which is the largest number of jobs created in the first 10 months of any presidential term since 1939.
But the BBC noted, those impressive numbers come with a caveat: in April 2020, the U.S. unemployment rate was at its highest since the Great Depression, with a whopping 22 million jobs lost in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There’s also still a high level of turnover in the American workforce, particularly in certain areas of the country, as people leave lower-paying jobs for ones that offer better compensation, while others are leaving the workforce altogether.
So while we can naturally expect Biden to crow about these job numbers, it’s worth diving deeper to gain the proper perspective.
Biden has also bragged about how wages are on the rise for Americans. On the surface, he’s right. Overall, U.S. wages are up 4.9% between October 2020 and October 2021, which is worth nothing. But, in the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast.”
Inflation is up 6.2%, which is enough to wipe out any growth in wages. When you factor inflation into the equation, earnings have decreased 1.2% over the past year.
On Nov. 23, Biden also spoke about gas prices, noting that the average price per gallon in the U.S. is $3.40, but he tried to point out that the rest of the world is suffering as much as we are with higher prices at the pump:
This is a problem not just here in the United States, but around the world. The price of gasoline has reached record levels recently in Europe and in Asia.
In France, at the end of last month, it reached about $7 per gallon. In Japan, it’s about $5.50 per gallon — the highest it’s been in years.
He specifically mentioned two countries where gas is higher than it is in the U.S., but the BBC points out that in Russia and the OPEC states, gas prices aren’t quite as high. The BBC also notes that the president’s comparison of the U.S. to France isn’t exactly apples to oranges because of fuel tax differences.
The fuel tax here in the U.S. is $.18, while the average state gas tax is $.30. Compare that to the European Union fuel tax of $2.40, and that difference between fuel prices in the U.S. and France isn’t so vast.
Biden also spoke about making a difference in the supply chain crisis. He said, “In the past three weeks, the number of containers sitting on docks, blocking movement, are down by 33 percent.”
That decrease of a third in the number of shipping containers is due to the fees that the Port of Los Angeles imposed on shipping companies that left containers on the docks. The port authority has placed those fees on hold and will not reconsider them until at least Nov. 29.
In the meantime, the port is facing a different sort of backlog: an 18% increase in the number of empty containers waiting to go back out to sea. There’s still a record number of ships in a holding pattern in the harbor — 84 as of Nov. 6. In other words, our supply chain crisis is far from over.
Biden has made some bold claims about the strength of the American economy and the state of the supply chain, as well as some excuses about what’s going on with gas prices. While he’s said some things that sound positive and are true to an extent, when you look deeper into the truth about the U.S. economy, reality is much different from the picture Biden is trying to paint.
Thanks to the BBC for pointing out the truth to the world.