Jeffries Lies About Biden's Record on Inflation, Growth, Wages and Deficits
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries clearly took a page out of the White House’s book of false talking points while speaking with reporters on Thursday about the economy under President Joe Biden.
“Here’s the Biden track record on the economy: Economic growth is up, inflation is down, wages are up, gas prices are down,” the Democrat said during a news conference.
“Job creation is up,” he continued. “More than 10 million good-paying jobs created during President Biden’s first two years, a record in modern American history.”
Hakeem Jeffries begins his press conference by flat-out lying about the economy.
FACTS: Since Biden took office, inflation is HIGHER, real wages are DOWN, and gas prices are UP. pic.twitter.com/HdUqfpb8sK
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 26, 2023
Jeffries then pivoted to chastising “extreme MAGA Republicans” for wanting to address the nation’s unsustainable deficit spending.
“They want to lecture us about fiscal responsibility. Twenty-five percent of the nation’s debt was incurred during the four years of the Trump presidency,” he said.
“What is the Biden administration’s record on fiscal responsibility? Cut the deficit by $1.7 trillion in the last two years, another record in American history,” Jeffries claimed.
Hakeem Jeffries repeats the debunked lie that Biden’s policies “cut the deficit.”
Moody’s Analytics: “The actions of the administration and Congress have undoubtedly resulted in higher deficits, not smaller ones.” pic.twitter.com/7bBOnt9H88
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 26, 2023
To borrow a Reaganism, so much of what Jeffries said just isn’t so.
Let’s take his claims one by one. Jeffries made all these assertions about the economy under Biden, which of course means they must be compared to the economy under his predecessor, Donald Trump.
“Economic growth is up.”
During Trump’s last full quarter in office in 2020, the gross domestic product grew 4.3 percent. In the quarter that he left office, before any of Biden’s policies would have had a chance to take effect, the economy grew 6.4 percent. In the second quarter of 2021, the GDP ticked up 6.7 percent.
However, by 2022, the economy dipped into a recession with two quarters of negative economic growth. In the fourth quarter of last year, the GDP grew 2.9 percent, which is significantly below the rate when Trump left office.
So no, Jeffries, economic growth is not up under Biden.
“Inflation is down.”
When Trump left office in January 2021, the inflation rate was 1.7 percent. Last month, it was 6.5 percent. That’s a significant increase from 45’s time in office.
It is a decrease from over 9 percent in June following a Democratic deficit spending spree and Biden’s decision to curtail domestic oil production.
“Wages are up.”
Technically yes, but due to inflation, Americans’ spending power is actually down.
“Over the past two years — the entirety of Biden’s presidency — wages have cumulatively risen by 10 percent while inflation has risen cumulatively by 14 percent. So wages have trailed inflation for this period as well,” Politifact’s Louis Jacobson reported.
“Gas prices are down.”
Wrong. The average price of a gallon of gasoline was $2.40 when Trump left office. It’s now $3.40 per gallon.
That’s because after Biden took office, he all but shut down oil exploration on federal lands — which make up over one-quarter of the country (with far greater percentages in the oil-rich states of Alaska, New Mexico, California and Colorado) — and offshore.
As of October, the last figure available, the U.S. is still producing nearly 600,000 barrels of oil per day less under Biden than at its peak (prior to the pandemic) under Trump.
“More than 10 million jobs created under Biden.”
Those jobs, in large measure, don’t really represent new jobs created under Biden. It took until this past September for the number of jobs in the U.S. to reach the pre-pandemic level it was at under Trump, according to FactCheck.org.
Robert Frick with Navy Federal Credit Union told Marketplace there is still much ground to be made up.
“Yeah, we’re back to the pre-pandemic level,” he said. “But if you look to the pre-pandemic trend, we’re 4 or 5 million jobs below that.”
Biden and the Democrats fiscally responsible?
Jeffries’ claim about Democrats being the party of fiscal responsibility takes the cake.
It’s true that in 2020, the nation had its largest deficit ($3.1 trillion), but that was due to the overwhelmingly bipartisan COVID relief spending.
When Biden became president in January 2021, the economy was well on its way to recovery. The unemployment rate had dropped from a pandemic high of 14.7 percent in April 2020 to 6.3 percent. It’s 3.5 percent now.
Nonetheless, the Democrats passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which former Obama administration Treasury Department official Steven Rattner identified as the “original sin” contributing to the subsequent spike in inflation.
It pumped hundreds of billions into an economy already in recovery mode and paid people not to work, which exacerbated the labor shortages.
Not surprisingly, fiscal year 2021 saw the second-highest deficit in American history of $2.8 trillion.
The American Rescue Plan garnered no Republican support because so little of it had to do with directly responding to the needs created by the pandemic.
In the fall of ’21, Democrats also tried to pass Biden’s Build Back Better proposal for an estimated $4.9 trillion in new spending over the next decade, but that legislation stalled in the Senate.
Finally, with inflation running wild and the midterm elections approaching, the Democrats eased up on the spending accelerator somewhat, so the deficit for FY 2022 was $1.4 trillion. Hence the supposed “record” $1.7 trillion reduction in deficit spending under Biden that Jeffries bragged about.
Give me a break.
Biden and the Democrats’ economic record is one of 50-year high inflation, decreased spending power for the American people and massive deficits.
No matter how Jeffries tries to spin it, that’s the reality.
A version of this article originally appeared on Patriot Project.
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