AMAC Exclusive – By Aaron Flanigan
Despite Joe Biden, the mainstream media, and their Democrat allies sparing no effort to sell the supposed successes of “Bidenomics,” an overwhelming majority of Americans still believe the economy is doing poorly.
AMAC Newsline spoke with Casey Mulligan, a professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and the former chief economist for the Council of Economic Advisers in the Trump White House, to find out the truth about how the economy is doing and why most Americans don’t share the White House’s cheery outlook.
Though Biden administration officials generally point to metrics like the unemployment rate and GDP growth as proof that the economy is doing well, Mulligan said it remains understandable why “people aren’t buying that.”
“There are probably two things that make them unwilling to accept that. One is that they’ve kind of set the bar low for themselves. Normally when you recover from recession, you get quite rapid growth. And the fact that maybe we are getting average growth when we should be getting above average—that’s disappointing,” Mulligan said.
Some of the Biden team’s self-proclaimed economic figures, Mulligan continued, amount to little more than an exercise in “cherry-picking” that allows them to “brag about” a mediocre economy—particularly when it comes to metrics like consumer spending and retail sales. “When you’re coming out of a recession, you ought to be breaking some records, or getting near it. It should be very rapid growth coming out of a downturn.”
For a measure that more accurately describes how the economy is doing, Mulligan said, Americans should turn their attention to one key metric: real wages.
“Normally, real wages are increasing a percent or two every year on average—and since Biden’s been in office for three years almost,” real wages have “not even gotten close to returning to previous trends”—and “maybe haven’t even kept up [with] the old level” prior to the pandemic.
Another issue preventing a more vigorous economic recovery, Mulligan continued, is what he describes as “human capital problems”—which include factors like poor health and lack of career advancement in the private sector, each of which has continued to disproportionately affect the livelihoods of young and middle class Americans.
Mulligan indicated that another metric worth keeping an eye on is private employment on a per capita or per adult basis, which has “barely been growing” over the last year and a half. “Private employment is serving consumers who have kind of a choice about things,” whereas the government employment only serves “what the government thinks [is] valuable”—but “whether people think it’s valuable is a totally different question.”
Yet another indicator of the struggling economy is the Biden administration’s war on American energy production. Although the United States “should be the best in the world” in terms of oil and gas production, Mulligan said, federal tax policy (including the likely forthcoming expiration of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing criteria has made it “tough to justify investing in oil and gas businesses”—causing a notable lack of growth.
Looking ahead, Mulligan believes Biden is not in a position to dramatically improve the trajectory of the economy. Though Biden could slow down his regulatory agenda, he is unlikely to do so absent some kind of intervention from the courts.
“There is a natural recovery process that’s been too slow, but on the other hand, it continues,” Mulligan said. “We had way too long of paying people for not working,” prior to the last 2 years, he continued, as well as “lots of new regulations” that have continued to serve as a drag on the economy.
As Mulligan found in a June report he released through the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, as of the end of 2022, “the Biden administration imposed new regulatory costs on American households and businesses at a pace surpassing that of the Obama administration during a comparable period”—amounting to nearly $10,000 per household.
“If regulatory costs continue to rise at the same rate as they did during the Obama administration,” the report states, “the total costs of Biden’s rulemaking over an eight-year period would almost reach $60,000 per household.” During the Trump administration, however, agencies reduced regulatory costs by nearly $11,000 per household in present value.
Though the Biden administration remains eager to brag about what remains a vastly underperforming economy, the actual numbers—and Americans’ paychecks—don’t lie. As next year’s presidential election approaches, Biden will surely continue to mislead voters on his economic record. But if polling is any indication, people aren’t falling for it.
Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.