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Op-Ed: Biden's Economic Claims Would Make Orwell's Ministry of Truth Proud

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While many presidential administrations play it fast and loose with the truth, none resemble more closely George Orwell’s ironically named Ministry of Truth than the Biden administration. Its recently released “economic blueprint” is a perfect example.

The document is a combination of outright falsehoods and numerical half-truths, perfectly illustrating the old saying that if you torture the data enough, it will confess to anything.

Consider some of the administration’s “achievements.”

The blueprint claims Biden achieved the “fastest job market recovery in nearly 40 years — creating 9.7 million jobs.” Biden must suffer from severe memory loss. His immediate predecessor recovered 12.5 million jobs in less time, averaging 1.4 million jobs per month to Biden’s 500,000. Forget 40 years — it’s not even the fastest recovery in four years.

The White House also asserts that there has been “faster wage growth for the bottom 50 percent than in past recoveries,” but that is only nominally true. While wages have risen, prices have risen even faster, wiping out all those nominal gains and then some.

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Inflation has crushed the middle and working classes, driving real wages down, not up. Additionally, it’s ironic to cite lower-income earners since they are hit the hardest by the hidden tax of inflation.

Another deception is that the administration is making “food more affordable for families.” By what metric? People are flocking to food banks because food prices are rising at double-digit rates annually. Having to increase food stamp handouts because of rampant inflation is not a sign of “food affordability” or whatever other euphemism the administration uses.

The blueprint doesn’t stop there. It asserts that the Inflation Reduction Act — another purposeful misuse of language — will bring down Medicare (public) drug prices by giving the government negotiating power. But what the law actually does is index public drug prices to a percent of the price in the private market. That merely gives drug companies a double incentive to raise prices in the private market: It limits losses in the public market while making up for those losses via higher prices in the private market.

Far from “taking on Big Pharma,” as the blueprint claims, this is a giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry. As always with the Ministry of Truth, the situation is exactly the opposite of what Big Brother is saying.

Is the Biden administration hurting the economy?

If the White House cannot even be accurate looking at past data, its projections certainly should not be trusted, and this blueprint is no exception. Despite reiterating the tired talking point of not raising taxes on “those making less than $400,000 a year,” that is exactly what will happen with a wave of new IRS audits, courtesy of an $80 billion infusion. If these auditors are really aimed exclusively at high-income earners, why was an amendment to codify that in statute voted down on party lines?

Likewise, the recent imposition of a minimum tax on corporate income does not primarily affect the wealthy. Corporate taxes are paid by employees through lower pay, customers through higher prices, and shareholders (anyone with retirement savings) through lower returns. In other words, the corporate minimum tax is an indirect tax that — much like inflation — is a way for the government to tax the middle and working classes without their knowledge.

This administration’s economic claims would be right at home in the Ministry of Truth. But that’s expected from the people who have tried to redefine every word from “woman” to “transitory” to “vaccine” to “recession.”

Unlike most people, who consider Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” a warning, the Biden administration reads it as an instruction manual.

E.J. Antoni is a research fellow for regional economics at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis and a senior fellow at the Committee to Unleash Prosperity.

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