- The Washington Times
Tuesday, October 25, 2022

OPINION:

After former President Donald J. Trump left office, all the “fact-checkers” in the media took an extended vacation. What else can account for the virtual silence on President Biden’s numerous misrepresentations, distortions and outright lies about the state of the U.S. economy?

Earlier this month, when Mr. Biden announced he was going to further drain the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a cynical move to cut pump prices and buy votes, he stated: “My administration has not stopped or slowed U.S. oil production; quite the opposite. We’re producing 12 million barrels of oil per day.”


Twelve million barrels may sound impressive, but in early 2020, under Mr. Trump, the U.S. was producing 13 million barrels a day. So Mr. Biden’s administration, which has canceled oil and gas pipelines, slow-walked leases and permits, and stopped all new drilling on federal lands — has indeed slowed U.S. oil production.

Moreover, economists from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity estimate that if Mr. Trump’s energy policies had been left in place, the U.S. would be pumping as much as 3 million more barrels of oil a day and 25 billion more cubic feet of natural gas than is the case today.

In the same speech, Mr. Biden took credit for gasoline prices falling from their summertime peaks, failing to mention they’re still over 60% higher than when he took office. Instead of encouraging American energy production (remember his “guarantee” on the campaign trail to “end fossil fuel”?), he’s been robbing supply from the SPR to prices (temporarily) down.

Mr. Biden has tapped the SPR more than all previous presidents combined — to the tune of 200 million barrels — all in an effort to lower gas prices before the midterm elections. Dipping into the SPR, which is supposed to be used only in emergencies, should not be classified as increasing “supply.” For the reserve, now at its lowest level since 1984, will someday soon have to be refilled.

As a side note, in March 2020, Mr. Trump wanted to stabilize the oil industry after COVID-19 hit and proposed filling up the SPR when oil was at $24 a barrel. Democrats labeled the move a “bailout for Big Oil,” and blocked the proposal.

Mr. Biden said he would look to refill his depletions when oil prices are $67 to $72 a barrel. On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported those “hoped for” prices won’t happen anytime soon, in large part owing to Mr. Biden’s war on fossil fuel. And there is talk that more withdrawals from the SPR may be imminent.

No further details were given on just when Mr. Biden may start refilling the emergency reserves, but what is clear is that his artificial market “supply” boost from the SPR won’t encourage U.S. oil and gas companies to produce more. The companies see lower prices in the short term, discouraging exploration, and a conscious administration policy to raise drilling costs and slow the approval of new oil leases on federal lands, turning off potential investors in new projects.

In other lies, cries and distortions, Mr. Biden took a victory lap last week over how his team “reduced” the annual federal deficit by $1.4 trillion, the “largest one-year drop in American history.”

He failed to mention that that was achieved only because government COVID-19 recovery spending has stopped, despite his administration’s efforts to keep the spending taps open. He essentially boasted how his federal government is sinking the U.S. in ever more red ink, just at a slower pace.

The U.S. gross national debt topped $31 trillion earlier this month — a record high. Since Mr. Biden took office, he has approved new spending that has fueled a $5 trillion rise in the deficit. As the Federal Reserve continues to increase interest rates, this debt will become increasingly more expensive for American taxpayers to pay down.

“Higher rates could add an additional $1 trillion to what the federal government spends on interest payments this decade, according to Peterson Foundation estimates. That is on top of the record $8.1 trillion in debt costs that the Congressional Budget Office projected in May,” The New York Times reported earlier this month.

If rates continue to climb, the federal government’s interest payments alone could exceed the defense budget by 2029. It could also rattle investors worried the U.S. may be unable to pay what it owes, causing inflation to further spiral upward.

But, once again according to Mr. Biden, he’s “rebuilding the economy in a responsible way,” where “everyone does well.”

Tell that to the bottom 90% of households who had their debt increase by $300 billion over the last year, the largest annual gain on record. Or those workers saving for retirement, whose average 401(k) plan lost $34,000 — or more than 25% — in one year.

The economy is not doing “well” for homeowners who have seen monthly home price declines already matching the pace during the worst of the subprime crisis of 2008. Or for potential new homeowners who now have to pay 7.2% interest rates on a 30-year mortgage, a 22-year high.

The average family has lost $6,000 in annual wages due to soaring inflation on Mr. Biden’s watch, and 61% are living paycheck to paycheck. Twenty million U.S. households have fallen behind on their utility bills, and this winter’s heating oil prices are expected to spike 19% from last winter.

But, yes, Mr. Biden, the U.S. economy is “strong as hell.”

No one believes you. Stop lying to us. Or better yet, stop lying to yourself and pivot to the middle after you get hit by the red tsunami this fall, which is surely coming your way.

• Kelly Sadler is the commentary editor at The Washington Times.


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