Biden makes series of false claims as he addresses labor unions and gets angry as he slams 'lies'
Category: News & PoliticsVia: gregtx • 2 weeks ago • 10 comments
By: Stephen M. Lepore
President Joe Biden told the largest federation of labor unions on Tuesday that he's working to rebuild the U.S. economy around workers - while at one point falsely declaring that families have less debt and more savings than when he took office.
The speech before the AFL-CIO convention in Philadelphia was the president's attempt to reset the terms of the debate on the economy as his own approval ratings have slid while consumer prices - and the cost of gasoline - have surged.
'Since I took office, with your help, families are carrying less debt nationwide. They have more savings nationwide,' Biden said.
But despite the president's pronouncements, data from the Federal Reserve shows that household debt has increased by over $1.5trillion since Biden took office in January 2021.
And the country's credit card debt is at record highs as well after jumping nearly 20% during the month of April to $1.103 trillion. The previous pre-pandemic record was $1.1 trillion.
Americans' savings accounts have also shrunk by more than $9,000 over the past year - from $73,100 in 2021 to $62,086 in 2022 - according to a survey from wealth management company Northwestern Mutual.
The country's current economic outlook is largely due to inflation, which is at a more than 40-year high. This has caused voters to sour on the economy, despite a mixed recovery after 2020's pandemic-induced downturn that has led to robust hiring and a healthy 3.6 percent unemployment rate.
The president on Tuesday tried to remind his audience of the food lines and layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic that preceded his presidency, contrasting that with the improvements in household balance sheets under his watch.
He also took aim at widespread 'lies about reckless spending' - an apparent reference to the many critics of his COVID stimulus package, which most experts believe at least partially fueled rising inflation.
Household debt has increased by over $1.5trillion since Biden took office in January 2021
Inflation is at a more than 40-year high - which has caused voters to sour on the economy, despite a mixed recovery after 2020's pandemic-induced downturn that has led to robust hiring and a healthy 3.6 percent unemployment rate
President Joe Biden told the largest federation of labor unions on Tuesday that he's working to rebuild the U.S. economy around workers, but stretched the truth when he talked about the federal debt and how much families have been spending
Even some Democrats who align with Biden politically have suggested that government spending has been a problem for middle class families.
Economist and former Obama administration official Larry Summers predicted as much back in February 2021.
'There is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels than normal recession levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation, with consequences for the value of the dollar and financial stability,' he wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post.
'This will be manageable if monetary and fiscal policy can be rapidly adjusted to address the problem. But given the commitments the Fed has made, administration officials' dismissal of even the possibility of inflation, and the difficulties in mobilizing congressional support for tax increases or spending cuts, there is the risk of inflation expectations rising sharply.'
Economist Ellen Gaske of PGIM Fixed Income said that this was exactly the mistake the Biden administration made.
'In retrospect, it was more than what was needed,' Gaske told the Associated Press. 'It was not just the size of the (relief) packages, but those direct cash payments to households added purchasing power very directly. And when you pushed that up agai
Biden, however, counters those claims by asserting that social spending has reduced the deficit by $350billion - and will cut the deficit by up to $1.6trillion by the end of 2022.
The president continued to rail against his critics regarding spending during his Tuesday speech: 'I don't want to hear any more of these lies about reckless spending. We're changing people's lives. And because of the fact, this year, we're delivering the biggest drop in the deficit in the history of the United States of America.'
But even though the economy has quickly amassed jobs, high inflation has left many workers feeling worse off as wages have not kept up with the costs of living. The Labor Department said Friday that average hourly earnings, after adjusting for inflation, have fallen 3 percent over the past year.
Inflation has left Biden and Democrats' control of the House and Senate vulnerable in the upcoming midterm elections.
Biden claims that social spending has reduced the deficit by $350billion and will cut the deficit by $1.6trillion by the end of 2022
The price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States continues to skyrocket under Biden's watch
Prices of everything from gas to travel to hotels have gone up by double digtis since January 2021
Republican lawmakers have blamed the president's $1.9trillion coronavirus relief package for causing inflation to start rising last year.
GOP lawmakers also say the Biden administration has been too restrictive on domestic oil production.
'Working families´ budgets took a back seat to the far-left's wish list,' Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a Monday speech.
Biden says the GOP is focused on cutting taxes for companies and the wealthy.
Republicans argue that their 2017 tax overhaul created a firmer base for growth by reducing corporate tax rates, making U.S. companies more competitive.
Republican lawmakers have blamed the president's $1.9trillion coronavirus relief package for causing inflation to start rising last year
They say enabling companies and individuals to hold on to more of what they earn will boost growth, while Biden counters that laws enabling unionization and boosting child care benefits for families will lead to growth through a stronger middle class.
Biden has tried to take specific aim at a proposal by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., that suggests all Americans should owe federal income taxes.
Many Republican lawmakers have either disowned the proposal or offered caveats, since tax credits are a means of financial support for poorer and middle class U.S. families.
'Republicans have it all backwards: Their plan literally calls for increasing taxes on middle class and working people and cutting taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans,' Biden said. 'I believe in bipartisanship, but I have no illusions about this Republican Party, the MAGA party.'
The three main stock exchanges in the United States all plummeted on Monday - with the S&P 500 officially entering bear market territory amid deepening concern that the country could soon be entering a recession.
The S&P 500 sank 3.9%, bringing it more than 20% below the record high it set in January and erasing all of the market gains experienced since President Joe Biden entered office in January 2021. The Dow Jones index sank a stunning 900 points on Monday as well.
'Republicans have it all backwards: Their plan literally calls for increasing taxes on middle class and working people and cutting taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans,' Biden said. 'I believe in bipartisanship, but I have no illusions about this Republican Party, the MAGA party'
The president also focused on a longtime priority during his Tuesday speech: boosting union membership.
But he faces an uphill battle to restore the labor movement, which has declined for decades as it became harder to organize workers and many factory jobs moved away from communities with a history of unionization.
Only 10.3 percent of U.S. workers belonged to a union last year, down from 20.1 percent in 1983, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The nature of who belongs to unions has also changed over time as nearly half of union members work for the government. Just 7.7 percent of manufacturing workers and 12.6 percent of construction workers hold a union card, as the movement's blue-collar roots have diversified into white-collar professions.
Despite the decline in unionization, the movement still generates value. Government figures show that the median unionized worker earns about $10,000 more annually than a worker without a union.
'We should encourage unions,' Biden said. 'I'm not just saying that to be pro-union. I'm saying it because I'm pro-American.'