The decade's most triggering comedy
While delivering remarks at an event for the Democratic National Committee, the commander-in-chief noted that prices at the pump have hit their lowest level in months — but wrongly said that many states are seeing prices below $2.99 per gallon.
“Gas prices — I know I got criticized for going into the stockpile. But guess what? Gas prices are down $1.30 a gallon,” Biden said. “And in 41 states plus the District of Columbia, the average gasoline price is less than $2.99.”
CNN ruled the claim false since zero states are witnessing average gas prices below $2.99 per gallon. Although Biden has accurately noted that average prices in most states were below $3.99 in previous remarks, the White House corrected the official transcript for his Friday speech — but not before the claim was aired live on CNN and MSNBC.
The national average price of gasoline was $2.38 per gallon when Biden assumed office and increased to $3.53 per gallon by the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. After surpassing $5.00 per gallon in early June, prices have somewhat subsided to $3.70 per gallon as of Friday, according to data from AAA.
Biden has pushed green energy policies while leasing less federal land for oil and gas drilling since the conclusion of World War II, while presiding over a decrease in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve from 638 million barrels to 434 million barrels. At the beginning of his tenure, Biden also nixed expansions to the Keystone XL pipeline project.
The White House has nevertheless claimed credit for the recent plateau in costs. “President Biden is committed to tackling these immediate challenges, without giving up the substantial economic and labor market gains our economy has achieved,” an economic report from the Biden administration contended. “And we are seeing significant progress on that front, with a decline of more than $1.20 in gas prices this summer and overall prices in the economy declining moderately in July.”
CNN also noted that Biden missed the mark on reporting strong employment data. Though he claimed that the 3.7% unemployment level is the lowest in “more than 50 years,” the outlet noted that the rate was either 3.6% or 3.5% five times during the Biden administration and nine times during the tenure of former President Donald Trump.
“Biden not only erased the recent uptick from 3.5% to 3.7% but erased the performance of the pre-pandemic economy under his Republican predecessor,” CNN reported. An official from the White House told the outlet that Biden had correctly claimed unemployment was “near” a five-decade low during other appearances earlier this month.
Indeed, the unemployment rate increased to 3.7% last month even as more Americans returned to work, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Participation in the job market has been lagging over the past two years, worsening a decades-long trend of low engagement in the job market. The labor force participation rate dropped from 63.4% in February 2020 to 60.2% in April 2020 alone amid government lockdowns and business closures, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of last month, however, labor force participation had climbed to 62.4%.