By SEAN QUINTAL
Will Rogers once observed: “You can’t fool all the people all time. But it isn’t necessary.” This seems to be the GOP’s approach to messaging about the U.S. economy: keep lying about how things are, and hope that enough people don’t bother to pay attention.
Republicans keep blaming the Biden administration for a bad economy, even though by many metrics, the U.S. economy is performing demonstrably better under Biden than under Trump. More importantly, Biden has just successfully made into law an enormous investment in American workers and the American economy. But the GOP can’t admit they typically ruin the economy when they’re in control, so they mass-market propaganda about Biden and the Democrats.
Today, Republicans performatively hyperventilate about inflation. Prices, of course, are mainly a reflection of supply and demand. Because of the COVID pandemic’s layered effects on all sectors of the global economy, supply is simply not keeping up with demand. Worker shortage and supply-chain disruptions have collided with consumers who want to spend money.
Capitalism demands that a healthy economy grow. Trump recognized this, since he appointed the current chair of the Federal Reserve Board, and repeatedly demanded of the Fed to keep interest rates low.
Trump and the GOP didn’t care about inflation when they clamored for higher stock prices. Neither did they care about inflation when they sent out several rounds of stimulus payments to Americans. Nor was inflation a concern for them when they passed massive tax cuts that disproportionately favored the wealthy over the middle classes. They weren’t worried about rising prices, because they know the flip side of inflation is an economy that’s growing rapidly, and unemployment that’s falling fast.
And on growth and jobs, the evidence shows that it’s the Biden administration that is the better steward of the economy.
Trump relentlessly touted his economic success by claiming he improved two things: jobs and stock prices. So how do Biden and Trump compare on those counts? Trump rarely shut up about how the stock market performed so fantastically with him as president. Interesting then, that in Biden’s first 10 months, the S&P 500 has grown 37%, compared to 21% increase under Trump. Biden’s increase exceeded that of even FDR. Trump also loved to boast his economy was “the greatest” because of the number of all-time high prices on the S&P 500. Well, under Biden, the S&P has hit all-time highs 63 times, compared to 52 under his predecessor.
What about jobs? Since Biden took office, the number of folks working in the U.S. has increased by approximately 6 million. That’s a much larger jump than in Trump’s first year in office. In fact, Biden has added more U.S. jobs in just 10 months, than Trump did through 31 months. The truth is, due partly to Trump’s wretched mismanagement of the COVID pandemic, he oversaw a net loss of approximately 2.9 million jobs over the term of his presidency.
Now, the economy and working Americans stand to benefit even further from passage of the President’s Build Back Better (BBB) infrastructure bill. Biden and the Democrats can claim a massive achievement with the BBB. It provides $1.2 trillion in funding for roads, bridges, rail service, mass transit, and resources to improve our nation’s water infrastructure, and its electrical power grid. It is the largest federal investment (not expenditure) in America’s infrastructure in decades.
Biden and the Democrats have passed legislation that will keep safer both the roads and bridges we drive on, as well as the water we drink. It will modernize our shipping ports, our airports, and our rail lines. It will deliver reliable internet service to farmers and rural areas, and it will build out and secure our electrical grid, to keep us safer from both internal failures and malicious attacks. It will invest in clean energy projects, to include mass transit, and to commence construction of a nationwide network of vehicle charging stations.
Democrats achieved this in the face of near-unanimous GOP opposition. During the Trump administration, “infrastructure week” became a running joke about Trump’s ineffectiveness as President. On six different occasions, from 2017 to 2019, Trump declared, “It’s infrastructure week!” Despite having both the House and the Senate controlled by his own party, Trump failed to get a damn thing done to improve the infrastructure that Americans rely on every single day. By contrast, Joe Biden got it done in his first 10 months, with a 50/50 split in the Senate and a slim majority in the House.
Biden has already demonstrated he is a more effective steward of the American economy, and that he is more effective at governing in a way that helps all Americans. The GOP is a failure as a governing party, so all they have to offer is lies about those who get things done. In 2022, let’s make it harder for them to fool any of the people.
And this December, to everyone — Democrat, Republican or something else, whatever holidays you celebrate — a very happy, hopeful, and peaceful season.
— Sean Quintal writes on behalf of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club.