President Biden is telling whoppers faster than inflation is rising.
Whether he’s talking about the state of the economy or his exploits in college, the purported “facts” presented by the president don’t hold up to the most basic check.
His favorite falsehood in recent weeks is that Americans are better off financially under his leadership.
“Since I took office, families are carrying less debt; their average savings are up,” Mr. Biden told a union audience in Philadelphia.
It’s not true. Total credit-card debt hit a record high in April of $1.103 trillion, slightly higher than its pre-pandemic level. Federal Reserve data shows that total household debt has risen by $1.5 trillion since Mr. Biden took office.
Household debt payments as a percent of disposable income also have risen since the first quarter of 2021, according to the Fed.
Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, said of the president’s claims, “He has no idea what he’s talking about.”
Another spurious claim, also made by the president angrily in Philadelphia, is that inflation “is worse everywhere but here.” It’s false.
Inflation in the U.S. hit 8.6% in May, higher than 14 out of the 24 nations that comprise the G20 summit, according to economic data site tradingeconomics.com.
Inflation is lower in China (2.1%), Saudi Arabia (2.2%), Japan (2.5%), Switzerland (2.9%), Indonesia (3.55%), Australia (5.1%), France (5.2%), Singapore (5.4%), South Korea (5.4%), South Africa (5.9%) Canada (6.8%), Italy (6.8%), India (7.04%), Mexico (7.65%), Germany (7.9%) and the Euro area (8.1%).
“The U.S. has one of the highest inflation rates in the developed world,” said the Republican National Committee.
Asked why the president falsely claimed inflation is lower in the U.S. than “everywhere” else, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre didn’t acknowledge that the president is either wrong at best or lying at worst.
“I think what we are saying is that when you talk about inflation, it is a global challenge,” she said. “It is not just about the United States. This is something that everyone is feeling because of coming out of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, because of the war that Russia has started in Ukraine.”
On June 3, Mr. Biden gave a speech pointing to a “recent” Fed survey, and claimed that “more Americans feel financially comfortable than at any time since the survey began in 2013.” It was a highly misleading nugget, as Mr. Biden doubtlessly knew.
The survey was based on Americans’ attitudes from last October and November when the inflation rate was 6.2% and a gallon of gas cost about $3.30. The average price of regular gasoline this month topped $5 per gallon.
A week after Mr. Biden made that speech, consumer confidence plunged to an all-time low in an oft-cited survey by the University of Michigan.
Mr. Biden acknowledged on Thursday that Americans are “really, really down.”
“The need for mental health in America, it has skyrocketed, because people have seen everything upset. Everything they’ve counted on upset. But most of it’s the consequence of what’s happened, what happened as a consequence of the COVID crisis,” he told the Associated Press.
But he insisted that a recession is “not inevitable.”
The president couldn’t have been thinking of the stock market when he claimed that Americans’ savings are higher since he took office. The S&P 500 this week was down 2.7% since January 20, 2021, having lost all of its gains and more since Mr. Biden was inaugurated.
“The stock markets that carry Americans’ retirement savings have been in free fall,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican. “The S&P 500 has lost a full fifth of its value in just six months.”
The personal savings rate, which was 19.9% when Mr. Biden took office, fell to 4.4% in April. That’s the lowest level since the economic crisis in September 2008.
The average amount of personal savings has dropped 15%, from $73,100 in 2021 to $62,086 in 2022, according to Northwestern Mutual’s 2022 Planning & Progress study.
“There could be several factors contributing to the drop in savings from last year, ranging from spiking inflation to people spending more as they resume some sense of normalcy in their lives,” Northwestern Mutual chief customer officer Christian Mitchell said in a press release.
Wages have been rising under Mr. Biden, but inflation is rising faster than wages, putting family budgets further behind. The Labor Department said this month that average hourly earnings, adjusted for inflation, have fallen 3% over the past year.
Mr. Biden’s glib falsehoods about Americans’ finances came on the heels of him telling U.S. Naval Academy graduates that he was appointed to Annapolis as a young man, but he turned down the coveted and prestigious opportunity.
Nobody has any idea what he’s talking about.
Mr. Biden said he was appointed to Annapolis in 1965 by the late Sen. J. Caleb Boggs, Delaware Republican. He said he decided against the service academy because he wanted to play football, and legendary quarterback Roger Staubach was already playing there, as well as standout halfback Joe Bellino.
In prep school, Mr. Biden played wide receiver and halfback, not quarterback. He graduated from high school in 1960, and Boggs didn’t become a senator until 1961.
By 1965, Mr. Biden was graduating from law school. The Naval Academy doesn’t accept graduate students.
Curators at the Delaware Historical Association in Wilmington searched Boggs’ records of academy nominations but found no evidence to back up Mr. Biden’s claim, the New York Post reported. Researchers found records pertaining to one year in the early 1960s but couldn’t locate records for 1961 or 1965.
The White House also hasn’t provided any evidence to prove Mr. Biden’s story, other than noting that he told the same tale in 2010.
Mr. Biden joined the freshman football team at the University of Delaware at a time when freshmen weren’t allowed to play on the varsity team. He quit after one season.
• Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report.