Biden misleads on inflation

by Jack Elbaum, Contributor

Earlier today, the White House posted a graph on Twitter depicting inflation over time with a caption reading, “Great news: Today’s inflation report shows annual inflation is now at the lowest level since March 2021, and less than half of what it was last June. This is giving families real breathing room.”

As we can see on the graph, inflation peaked in mid-2022 when it reached approximately 9% year over year. New numbers show that, last month, inflation was 4% year over year. This still means prices rose over the past year, just at a slower pace than they previously were.

It is accurate to characterize this development as good news; after all, if one is concerned about inflation, then it is better for prices to rise by 4% than by 9%. However, the statement that “This is giving families real breathing room” is just not accurate for the simple reason that prices are still rising.

It seems that the White House just added this last line about it really benefiting families for dramatic effect because, in practical terms, there is no way this has provided relief for any struggling families. If a given good was $10 in May 2022 and now, after May 2023, is $10.40 — which is what a 4% inflation rate looks like — then it is essentially just as difficult for that family a year later, even after we consider wage growth.

It should be no surprise that the Biden White House put out this misleading graph, though. It consistently misleads the public, particularly on economic issues.

For example, the White House touts the fact that 13 million jobs have been created during President Joe Biden’s tenure, which is “more jobs in 28 months than any President has created in an entire 4-year term.” However, some simple context — namely, the significant pandemic-related job losses and subsequent recovery — puts things into perspective. It is not as if President Joe Biden is some sort of job-creating wizard. Rather, he just happened to be president as the country was opening up again after COVID-19.

There is a similar story when it comes to deficits. The White House writes that “President Biden cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion during his first two years in office — the largest decline in American history.” However, the important context here, too, is the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress engaged in unprecedented levels of deficit spending that was designed to be temporary during 2020 and 2021. As such, there was always going to be a reduction in the deficit once the out-of-control pandemic-related spending ceased. This would happen no matter who was president. And the truth is that spending still hasn’t even come close to returning to pre-pandemic levels, and likely never will.

So, no. Falling inflation is not “giving families real breathing room.” President Joe Biden does not have some secret formula to create jobs that other presidents just couldn’t figure out. And Biden is not uniquely fiscally responsible. In fact, he is quite the opposite.

I have no doubt that the Ivy Leaguers working the White House’s social media understand all of this. But, in the end, politics is all about perception — and they certainly understand that as well.

Please follow and like us:

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *