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OPINION

Biden’s Biggest Lie at the State of the Union Address

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Jacquelyn Martin, Pool

President Biden’s State of the Union Address missed an opportunity to foster unity and cooperation. Instead of bridging the divide between political parties by appealing to the concerns of Republican members of Congress, who now control the House of Representatives, the president opted to attack them, all while making extremely misleading or downright false claims about his achievements.

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For example, Biden dishonestly claimed that Republicans are calling to “sunset” Medicare and Social Security, a move that would eliminate two of America’s biggest social safety nets — even though Republican leadership has consistently said that they have no intention of doing that.

Biden also misleadingly suggested, “Inflation has been a global problem because of the pandemic that disrupted supply chains and Putin’s war that disrupted energy and food supplies.”

Although inflation has undeniably been impacted by supply chain problems and the war in Ukraine, the most significant cause of inflation has been the massive amount of government spending that has occurred over the past three years — the period during which the federal government spent and created more money than any other in US history.

Government spending, not wars on the other side of the world and supply chain problems, has been the primary catalyst for inflation, a reality proven by the fact that our current inflation crisis began before Russia invaded Ukraine but after the supply chain crisis was at its worst (during the coronavirus pandemic).

But of all the dishonest statements made by the president during his latest State of the Union Address, the biggest and most outrageous of them all was the absurd claim that his administration has “created a record 12 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years.”

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Biden’s claim of “creating” 12 million jobs is wildly misleading. The actual number is much lower. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy has only seen an increase of 2.7 million new jobs since Biden’s first full month in office, in February 2021. The remaining 9 million jobs were recovered after the COVID-19 lockdowns ended, not because Biden “created” them, but rather because pharmaceutical companies developed vaccines while President Trump was in office that alleviated many of the fears held by policymakers and the public. Businesses that had long been shuttered or were running at partial capacity were suddenly able to reopen or expand, spurring an inevitable recovery.

The fact is, Joe Biden had absolutely nothing to do with most of the job growth that occurred in 2021. Any president, regardless of his or her ideological views or governing abilities, would have experienced a similar result.

To accurately gauge President Biden’s impact on job growth, it’s important to look at data from the past year only, since much of the growth in the first year of the Biden administration was due to the pandemic ending. Over the past 12 months, job growth has been consistent but not exceptional. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy added 1.4 million full-time jobs from January 2022 to January 2023. This figure is lower than the 2.6 million jobs added in President Trump’s second year in office.

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The cost for these “created” jobs has been substantial, however. Biden’s reckless spending programs and the implementation of countless new regulations and restrictions on fossil fuels have caused energy prices to rise at breakneck speed and inflation to soar.

For example, from January 2015 to February 2021, Biden’s first full month in office, average monthly gas prices never surpassed $3 in the United States, and thanks to President Trump’s focus on energy independence and domestic oil and gas drilling, gasoline prices declined in the second half of his presidency, including before the pandemic started.

Since Biden entered the White House, however, gas prices have rapidly increased, from $2.33 per gallon in January 2021 to $3.39 in January 2023, with several extremely sharp increases between those two periods. (In June 2022, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $4.92, an all-time high.)

High energy prices have helped to contribute to the ongoing inflation problem. The Consumer Price Index, a widely used inflation gauge, indicates that $100 in goods or services purchased on the day of Biden’s inauguration would, due to inflation, cost more than $113 in December 2022, just two years later.

The average cost of chicken, bread, milk, ground beef, natural gas, electricity, and other everyday items and services has skyrocketed under President Biden. The average price of eggs rose by a whopping 189% from January 2021 to December 2022.

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Wages have indeed grown under the Biden administration, yet another statistic the president loves to brag about without providing proper context, but wages have not increased enough to keep up with inflation. Most Americans are earning much less, relative to what it costs to live and work than they were just a few years ago. Millions of people are poorer than they were under Donald Trump.

Joe Biden would have you believe that the economy is booming and that America is in the midst of an unprecedented period of growth — a new golden age. But the data and common sense tell a very different story.

Justin Haskins (Jhaskins@heartland.orgis the director of the Socialism Research Center at The Heartland Institute and a New York Times bestselling author.

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