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Bedeviled by bad news on virtually every aspect of daily life, President Joe Biden and his defenders have focused on one singular achievement: the number of jobs created in 2021. “We’ve added nearly 6 million jobs this year — the most of any first-year president in history,” said White House spokesperson Jen Psaki just before Christmas. Earlier this month, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) encouraged Democrats to “brag more about what we have been doing” in office. The central boast? “President Biden has already produced 6 million jobs. His predecessor was producing 30,000 jobs a month, he’s [Biden] already produced 6 million jobs with his initiatives,” Pelosi told Punchbowl News. The president has repeatedly engaged in economic chest-thumping over his alleged role in generating “more jobs in the first eight months of my administration than any president in American history” — an assertion that Politifact rebuffed in part.
But a new analysis shows that the Biden administration’s economic policies did not add a single job to the U.S. economy in the last year; in fact, they may have cost more than 100,000 jobs. Last February, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the U.S. economy would add an average of 521,000 jobs a month between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the fourth quarter of 2021 — creating a total of 6,252,000 jobs. One year later, data show that the U.S. economy added 6,116,000 jobs during that time period — 136,000 fewer jobs than the CBO estimated. But the CBO based its estimate on the economic policies of the Trump administration; the 6.252 million jobs would have been created if Joe Biden had done nothing, according to Matt Weidinger of the American Enterprise Institute.
Last week, President Biden took notice of total job creation in 2021 and credited his $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, the American Rescue Plan. “We have added 6.4 million new jobs since January of last year — in one year. And that’s one of the most — that’s the most jobs in any calendar year by any president in history,” he boasted on January 7 while bizarrely celebrating the dismal December 2021 jobs report. “How, how, how did that happen? Well, the American Rescue Plan got the economy off its back and moving again, back on its feet.”
But Biden had promised his rounds of multi-trillion-dollar stimulus spending would create millions of jobs over and above the CBO’s baseline. During a speech in the Rose Garden promoting the American Rescue Plan last March 12, Biden promised the legislation would more than double the CBO’s job creation estimate. “We have to spend this money to make sure we have economic growth, unrelated to how much it’s going to help people,” Biden asserted. ‘Well, guess what? Every single major economist out there — Left, Right, and center — supported this plan,” he added in an act of undiluted overstatement. “Even Wall Street agreed. According to Moody’s, for example, by the end of this year, this law alone will create 7 million new jobs — 7 million.” Speaker Pelosi made a less extravagant claim on the House floor last February 26: “If we do not enact this package, the results could be catastrophic: depriving workers and the economy of 4 million fewer jobs to come back.”
Nor was the American Rescue Plan the only legislation that Biden promised would create more jobs than the Trump administration status quo. At the signing ceremony for the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (at which she was famously snubbed), Vice President Kamala Harris said the BIF would create millions more jobs. “After this bill is signed into law, millions more Americans will go to work in good-paying, good union jobs,” Harris said on November 15, 2021.
As it turns out, the Biden administration knew it was lying when it made the infrastructure claim. Biden and Harris cited a report from Moody’s Analytics while claiming the infrastructure investment would create “millions” of new jobs. But the Biden administration admitted that the new legislation would not create millions of jobs; it would allegedly be responsible for millions of “job-years.” What’s a job-year? It means one person holding a new job for one year: If the same person holds the same job for two years, that counts as two “job-years.” The Biden administration admitted to Factcheck.org that it used this misleading measure, without telling listeners of the change. So, the administration did itself no favors with the infrastructure overstatement.
How did the boastful Biden administration actually perform? We can eliminate the infrastructure bill, which the president signed on November 15 and that was based on “job-years.” We can accept Pelosi’s lower estimate that the American Rescue Plan would create 4 million jobs, rather than the president’s claim of 7 million.
At that rate, the U.S. economy should have produced 10.252 million jobs in 2021. In reality, the Biden administration and its Democratic allies (not a single Republican voted for the American Rescue Plan) spent $3.1 trillion in federal stimulus funds and fell 136,000 jobs short of the CBO’s baseline estimate.
That is, Democrats produced fewer jobs than if they had not spent a dime.
One factor driving the Biden administration’s economic failure is the very American Rescue Plan he touted. The ARP paid an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits from March through September, although two dozen Republican-led states curtailed the extra benefits last June. As a result of the extra cash, 48% of Americans made more money collecting unemployment than they could have earned from wages/salary, according to one estimate.
There’s also a perennial problem with government efforts to create jobs: Every dollar the government spends it must first extract from the productive economy by taxation, thus depleting the amount of capital the private sector could (more efficiently) allocate for job creation. “The income tax, by depleting capital investment, tends to reduce both job opportunities and wages,” wrote Frank Chodorov, who founded Human Events and the economic journal The Freeman, in his 1954 book, The Income Tax: The Root Of All Evil. “The income tax therefore hurts the wage earner … by increasing his cost of living and reducing his earning power.” Modern Monetary Theory holds that the government may fund its efforts by printing money out of thin air. Of course, this creates inflation and, under Joe Biden, the United States has experienced the highest inflation rate since 1982, exactly four decades ago. Inflation — which has grown faster than wages — raises the wage necessary before taking a job becomes tenable.
The Biden administration takes credit for President Trump’s economy while apparently depressing the number of jobs created, all at the cost of more than $3 trillion. That’s nothing to brag about.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.