How well are the president's policies actually helping the economy?

How well are the president’s policies actually helping the economy?

Feb 15, 2023 by AFP

In his State of the Union address last week, President Biden declared:

“I ran for president to fundamentally change things, to make sure the economy works for everyone so we can all feel pride in what we do. To build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down.”

Yet most of President Biden’s proposed policies are just that — top-down ideas that are failing to expand freedom and opportunity.

How do we know? From what we saw this past year during our True Cost of Washington Tour, the president’s policies haven’t helped “build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out” — because you told us so.

Americans have been loud and clear about how inflation is hurting them

We saw the struggles that rising inflation and low paying jobs caused for people. As our True Cost road team traveled from gas stations to grocery stores to restaurants and other small businesses across the country, numerous Americans shared stories of how they were struggling to keep up with rising costs.

Here are a few stories:

  • In Atlanta, Georgia, we heard from a contractor who said the cost of lumber is hitting him “coming and going.” Many people are holding off on projects due to the strain of inflation on gas and food. What jobs he does get he makes less on, due to the high cost of materials. We also heard from a young man who said he recently got his dream job but couldn’t afford the gas to get there.
  • In Las Vegas, Nevada, Molly told us gas prices and grocery bills were cutting into her budget so much that she was looking into picking up a side hustle in addition to her full-time, 60-hour-a-week job.
  • In Greensboro, North Carolina, we met an expectant mother who shared she was working extra hours just to meet their basic needs and prepare for her baby.
  • In Steubenville, Ohio, we met Chris. He and his wife have long commutes to work and, after tallying their monthly budget, found they were spending more on gas than their mortgage each month.
  • And in Dayton, Ohio, Beverly, a nurse who provides home care, shared that fuel prices were having a direct impact on her and her coworkers. Along with their own inflation pains, the high prices of groceries were hurting her patients, particularly those on fixed incomes.

These stories of economic hardship — high prices making it hard to just get by — are backed up by data showing not all the president’s claims made in his State of the Union address are true.

Fact-checking President Biden’s State of the Union claims

In his address, President Biden said,

“Inflation has been a global problem because of the pandemic that disrupted supply chains and Putin’s war that disrupted energy and food prices.”

But we know this isn’t entirely true.

  • As AFP’s Senior Fellow for Fiscal Policy Kurt Couchman has pointed out before, the inflation we’re experiencing is driven by Washington’s unsustainable spending – lawmakers have pumped trillions into the economy over the last several months.
  • Regarding energy prices, the Biden administration has done plenty to drive them up with its red tape and burdensome regulations.

Other related claims by the president during his speech deserve closer scrutiny:

  • Claim: “We have created… 12 million new jobs”
    Fact: Many Americans are coming back to work, but these aren’t “new” jobs. When the pandemic hit, employers laid off millions of Americans. Over the last two years, many of those who were unemployed have come back to the workforce. Additionally, to deal with the effects of inflation, many people have picked up additional work, or even come out of retirement to make ends meet.
  • Claim: Inflation was caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
    Fact: The COVID-19 pandemic was declared on March 19, 2020. At the time of President Biden’s inauguration in January 2021, annual inflation was only 1.4%. Over the past two years that number has skyrocketed. from 2021 to 2022 (prior to the Russian invasion) we experienced a 7% inflation rate, and from 2022 to 2023, 6.5%.
  • Claim: “Inflation has fallen every month for the last six months, while take-home pay has gone up”
    Fact: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from December 2021 to December 2022 real average weekly earnings decreased by 3.1% overall.

Our conclusion? While inflation is “coming down” from the state the Biden administration’s policies elevated it to, living in America is still far too expensive.

Not only does this economy not “work for everyone”, but it also doesn’t serve anyone well. And this administration’s policies certainly are not bottom up or middle out.

Biden did get one thing right, however.

“We are not powerless before the forces that confront us. It is within our power, of We the People. We are facing the test of our time and the time for choosing is at hand.”

The time for choosing is at hand, for us and our lawmakers.

Will the president double down on pushing extreme policies that hurt our ability to get out of this economic crisis?

Will Congress forgo partisanship and toxic political theater and instead pass real, effective solutions that put America on the path to prosperity again?

Will you fight alongside us and concerned citizens across the country to pass the policies that will benefit your community and our country?

Join us in holding lawmakers accountable for making life more affordable for all Americans.