President Biden on Friday celebrated a jobs report that showed far fewer Americans were added to payrolls than expected last month — then claimed Republicans concerned about high inflation simply want people to be too poor to afford cars.
The president accused GOPers of spewing “malarkey” about the economy in remarks following the release of the December jobs report, which showed the unemployment rate dropping to 3.9 percent — but also showed just 199,000 jobs were added to the economy, fewer than the 210,000 added in November and far below the predicted 422,000.
“I’m not an economist, but I’ve been doing this a long time,” Biden said. “Here’s the way to look at it: If car prices are too high right now, there are two solutions: You increase the supply of cars by making more of them. Or we reduce demand for cars by making Americans poorer.”
“That’s the choice,” he continued. “Believe it or not, there’s a lot of people in the second camp. You hear them complain that wages are rising too fast among the very middle-class and working-class people who have endured decades of stalled incomes.”
Biden added: “Their view of the economy says the only solution to our current and future challenges is to make the working families that are the backbone in our country poorer or keep them in the same state they were in. It’s a pessimistic vision, and I reject it.”
Although Biden boasted of wage gains, the highest inflation in 39 years has eliminated the practical effect. In fact, a Dec. 10 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found: “Real average hourly earnings decreased 1.9 percent, seasonally adjusted, from November 2020 to November 2021” due to high inflation that is increasing the cost of living. Updated figures for December are expected next week.
Car costs are up this year in part because of a shortage of semiconductor chips linked to COVID-19-induced supply chain bottlenecks.
The monthly jobs report found the rate of payroll growth is the slowest of Biden’s presidency. In addition, the labor force remains smaller than before the pandemic hit — meaning that some people have simply given up looking for work.
“Nonfarm employment has increased by 18.8 million since April 2020 but is down by 3.6
million, or 2.3 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020,” the BLS report says.
Biden’s critics blame him for high inflation, arguing that his American Rescue Plan Act, signed in March, spent $1.9 trillion without new revenue to pay for it. That bill gave $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans who earned up to $75,000 per year, extended a $300 weekly unemployment supplement through Sept. 6 and expanded the annual child tax credit to $3,000 to $3,600 per child, up from $2,000.
Biden’s stimulus followed bipartisan legislation in 2020 that doled out about $4 trillion to keep the US afloat during the pandemic. In November, Biden signed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Congressional Budget Office said would add $256 billion to the federal deficit over 10 years.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel slammed Biden in a statement.
“On the same day of the worst jobs report of Joe Biden’s presidency, he is fighting at the Supreme Court for his unconstitutional vaccine mandate that would force small businesses to fire workers,” she said. “Biden and the Democrats do not care about the harm they’re causing Americans — from rapidly rising prices on everything from gas to groceries to job-killing mandates, to a pandemic they promised to shut down. Joe Biden doesn’t care and the American people are paying the price.”
But Biden claimed he was making the country’s economy more fair “to make sure people who bake the pie get a fair slice but as well.” The expanded child tax credit expires this month due to Biden’s failed talks with Senate centrists on a $2 trillion spending bill called the Build Back Better Act.
In his speech, Biden also credited his administration with smoothing shipping backlogs at major ports that appeared poised to deprive Americans of timely Christmas deliveries.
“The Grinch did not steal Christmas — nor any votes,” he said.