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President Joe Biden has a well-documented history of exaggerating his accomplishments while downplaying his failures. But in recent months, the president has taken this dishonest strategy to a whole new level, routinely misleading the American people to score political points, especially on topics related to economic growth.
The following are four of Biden’s biggest lies about the economy, as well as the data you need to prove to friends and family that the White House has not been nearly as successful as it has been claiming.
Lie 1: America’s inflation problem is improving.
When Biden entered the White House in January 2021, inflation was a miniscule 1.4%. Then, Biden signed into the law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and a $1.1 trillion infrastructure package. Shortly thereafter, inflation skyrocketed.
Despite rising inflation, Biden and his Democratic colleagues for months inexplicably chose to ignore the data and instead push for more spending programs, in the process claiming that the sudden surge in inflation was merely “transitory.” Many in the administration also said that inflation would subside by late 2021. They were wrong.
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Today, two years into the Biden era, inflation remains stubbornly high. The 12-month increase in the consumer price index was 6.4% in January. But rather than acknowledge that his policies have failed, Biden has repeatedly claimed inflation is improving and prices are going down.
Although it’s accurate to say the rate of inflation has eased compared to the record numbers in the summer of 2022, inflation remains at historically high levels. What would have cost $100 in January 2020 costs nearly $116 today. The rate of increase in prices may have dropped in recent months, but overall, prices are still much higher.
Most importantly, there has been no sign that we’re headed toward price deflation anytime soon. And without deflation, prices will continue to be much greater than they were prior to Biden becoming president.
Lie 2: Biden “created 12.7 million new jobs.”
Throughout his two years in the Oval Office, Biden has made exaggerated or outright dishonest claims about resurrecting America’s labor market. For example, in his recent State of the Union Address, Biden said that he has created “12.7 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years.”
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Although the figure is technically accurate, it’s wildly misleading without being put in its proper context. In March and April 2020, the U.S. economy lost more than 22 million jobs due to economic shutdowns issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to Biden entering the White House, many states had already started to reopen their economies. As a result, businesses were recovering jobs at a record-setting pace.
Biden did nothing to spur additional job creation during his first two years in office. The millions of jobs added during his first year as president were due almost entirely to state governments choosing to lift economic restrictions put into place at the start of the pandemic, as well as the development of vaccines that limited the number of coronavirus-related deaths.
If anything, Biden’s anti-energy policies, tax increases, huge spending bills, and overregulation hindered what could have been an even more vigorous job recovery.
Lie 3: Biden “cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion.”
The White House has on numerous occasions claimed that Biden has made significant cuts to government spending. Most recently, it suggested Bident has reduced the deficit by $1.7 trillion. Like Biden’s jobs claim, this assertion is incredibly misleading and dishonest.
In 2020, the deficit skyrocketed as Congress passed several multitrillion-dollar COVID-19 relief bills — all of which had received significant support from Democrats. By 2021, when Biden became president, some of the emergency spending started to come off the books, automatically reducing the deficit.
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Over his first two years in office, Biden has consistently pressed for trillions more in additional government spending programs, including unnecessary handouts like “canceling” student loan debt.
Biden deserves absolutely no credit for deficit reduction. In fact, he has been the most fiscally irresponsible president in history. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the country is now on track to add an average of $1.6 trillion to the national debt every year for the next decade — adding far more to the national debt than in any other era of U.S. history, excluding the recent pandemic period.
Lie 4: Biden said he wouldn’t and hasn’t raised taxes on any American family earning less than $400,000 per year.
During his campaign for the presidency in 2020, Joe Biden promised that he would not raise taxes on U.S. households earning less than $400,000 annually. This was a lie, one that he continues to repeat despite numerous evidence that earners who fall below the $400,000 threshold are paying more in taxes, directly or indirectly, because of Biden’s policies.
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For example, Americans for Tax Reform, a nonpartisan think tank, reports that the Inflation Reduction Act alone “raises taxes by more than $750 billion and includes a number of new energy taxes on natural gas production, crude oil and coal that will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher gasoline prices and energy bills.” These energy taxes, and many others too, will be one way or another by virtually all American families, including millions who are living paycheck to paycheck.
President Biden’s foolish policies have made the U.S. economy substantially weaker and driven the national debt to levels we’ve never seen before. And unless he changes direction on numerous policy positions soon, things are only going to get worse from here.
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Chris Talgo (Ctalgo@heartland.org) is editorial director and a research fellow at The Heartland Institute.