Biden is spinning his economic record ahead of the election

Biden is spinning his economic record ahead of the election

WASHINGTON — As President Biden and his administration have said in recent months, America has the fastest-growing economy in the world, his student debt forgiveness program passed Congress by a margin or two, and Social Security benefits have become more generous thanks to his leadership. .

None of that was true.

President, who was long thought to embellish the truth, has recently exaggerated its impact on the economy, or omitted key facts. This week, Mr. Biden praised himself for giving retirees a raise during a speech in Florida.

“On my watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are getting bigger Social Security checks,” he declared. Problem: That increase was the result of an automatic increase in the cost of living fueled by the fastest inflation in the last 40 years. Mr. Biden did nothing to boost retiree checks — it was just a byproduct of the rising inflation the president has promised to fight.

During visits across the country in recent weeks, Mr. Biden also took credit for reducing the federal budget deficit — the gap between what America owes and what it earns.

“This year, under our leadership, the deficit is coming down by $1.4 trillion,” he said last week in Syracuse, N.Y. “Ladies and gentlemen, the largest single-year deficit reduction ever in American history.”

Left unsaid is the fact that the deficit was so high primarily because of pandemic relief spending, including the $1.9 trillion economic relief package the president pushed through Congress in 2021 that has not been renewed. Mr. Biden actually claimed credit for not going through another round of EMS.

White House officials claim that strong tax revenues, which helped reduce the deficitthey are largely the result of strong economic growth supported by Mr. Biden’s economic policies.

It’s common for presidents to spin economic numbers to improve their opinion of voters. Like many of his predecessors, Mr. Biden has emphasized economic indicators that suit his record, including low unemployment and a record pace of job growth in his first two years in office — a focus aimed at winning over an American public that remains deeply pessimistic. on the issue of the economy, public opinion surveys show.

But as he approaches the by-elections that will determine the fate of the rest of Mr. Biden’s legislative agenda, the president’s hype has grown to include exaggerations or misstatements about the economy and his policies.

White House officials have at times been forced to awkwardly correct Mr. Biden’s claims. The second time they doubled them.

Senior administration officials have acknowledged that some officials have occasionally inadvertently misrepresented the economy, but denied that Mr. Biden or his administration had ever tried to mislead the public about the economy. They said his record did not warrant an overstatement.

“The president’s economic agenda has given us an economy with historic job creation, unemployment falling faster than previous recoveries, and private sector investment in new industries across the country,” said Abdullah Hasan, a White House spokesman. “Where we have occasionally erred, as every man is permitted to do from time to time, we have admitted and corrected or clarified such honest errors.”

Mr. Biden’s economic exaggerations generally pale in comparison stories told by his predecessor, President Donald J. Trump. The former president, whose lies included insisting that he he did not lose the 2020 election and that the Capitol had not been attacked by his supporters on January 6, 2021, regularly boasted of “the largest economy in the history of the world” – a statement not based on any facts. And Mr. Trump had his say a gigantic package of tax cuts paid for himself when he didn’t, and he relied on it unusual projections of economic growth to balance their budgets.

Jason Furman, an economist at Harvard University and a former economic adviser to the Obama administration, said some of Mr. Biden’s recent claims appeared to be the types of “leaps of logic” common during election seasons. As an example, he cited the president’s claims about reducing the deficit and overseeing the increase in Social Security payments.

“This is not like making things up,” Mr. Furman said. “It’s just making a rather far-fetched and outlandish causal argument around true facts.”

He added that Mr. Biden’s message did not compare to the untruths that Mr. Trump has been telling about America being among the highest-taxed nations in the world, an incorrect statement given the far higher tax rates in countries such as France, Denmark and Belgium.

“With President Trump, you had complete factual errors,” Furman said.

Mr. Biden’s mission was centered on the idea that he is leading a post-pandemic transition to steady economic growth and that if Republicans take control of Congress, he will seek to reduce social safety net programsshut down the government and weaponized America’s need to borrow money to pay its financial obligations.

But as the United States has struggled to contain inflation, the Biden administration has at times resorted to cherry-picking the most favorable data or omitting key context. In some cases, it was about presenting graphics that don’t tell the whole story.

For example, a White House chart late last year showed the drop in gas prices over the course of a month as a significant drop. However, the rows of levers showed a drop of only 10 cents.

Inflation has been the most slippery topic, with Biden administration officials often focusing on different measures while looking for silver in the monthly reports.

Cecilia Rouse, chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, appeared to get the numbers wrong in an interview with CNN last month when pressed about why “core” inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, was at a 40-year high in September .

“So if we look at it month-over-month, it’s actually been flat,” Ms. Rouse said.

The monthly rate actually went up by 0.6 percent, a significant increase. The administration said Ms. Rouse was mistaken and meant to say that core inflation had been unchanged for two consecutive months, not zero.

Mr. Biden comment by Jimmy Kimmel in June that America’s rapid economic growth was the fastest in the world contradicted a July report by the International Monetary Fund that showed several countries in Europe and Asia were growing faster than the United States this year. At the time, the fund predicted that the United States would grow by 1 a slow 2.3 percent in 2022 and further downgraded its outlook last month. In this case, the administration said Mr. Biden was referring to the pace of America’s recovery from the pandemic compared to other major economies.

A recent presidential statement at the forum in October that the student debt relief program passed Congress was perhaps the most head-scratching. It was in stark contrast to the reality that Mr. Biden had launched the initiative through executive action and that it was being challenged in the courts. A White House official said Mr. Biden was referring to the Inflation Reduction Act, which did not include student debt relief.

And when Mr. Biden said in September that gas prices were averaging below $2.99 ​​a gallon in 41 states and the District of Columbia, they were actually $1 higher. The White House corrected the transcript his remarks.

The Social Security mistake has been shown across the spectrum as the biggest mistake.

Mr. Biden’s suggestion that an increase in Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment was a sign of economic health drew confusion from Democrats and scorn from Republicans after the White House confirmed it in a tweet from its account on Tuesday.

“The only thing the White House can take credit for is the historic inflation that led to the need to increase Social Security payments,” Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee said in a statement.

By Wednesday afternoon, the White House had deleted the tweet.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, tried to explain its removal by saying the message lacked key information about other ways older Americans were saving money through lower Medicare premiums.

“See, the tweet was not complete,” she said. “Usually when we post a tweet, we post it with context, and he didn’t have that context.”

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