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Thune: Families Aren’t Buying Biden’s Alternate Economic Reality

“[I]f there’s one thing that can be said about the Biden presidency, it’s that American families have lost a lot of their breathing room.”

June 13, 2023

Click here to watch the video.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke on the Senate floor about President Biden’s disingenuous and out-of-touch op-ed in the Wall Street Journal where he touts a pro-growth, pro-jobs economic record. Thune noted that the value of Americans’ wages have dropped, and families are paying $880 more per month due to the president’s policies that have helped fuel the country’s inflation crisis.

Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):

“Mr. President, at the end of last week President Biden published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal touting his economic record.


“It was not exactly new material.


“The president is well-known for attempting to put a rosy spin on his economic record.


“But I still have to marvel every time the president claims he’s building the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, and working to give families ‘more breathing room.’ 


“Because if there’s one thing that can be said about the Biden presidency, it’s that American families have lost a lot of their breathing room. 


“The inflation crisis the president helped create is costing American families $880 this month.


“Let me just repeat that, Mr. President.


“The inflation crisis the president helped create is costing American families $880 this month.




“For just one month.


“Meanwhile, real wages have declined for 26 consecutive months under President Biden.


“26 consecutive months.


“Two-plus years.


“It’s no surprise that in a poll last month, 49 percent of Americans reported that their personal financial situation is getting worse.


“Or that in another poll, 61 percent said recent price increases had caused financial hardship for them or their household.


“And, Mr. President, let’s be very clear. 


“This is not a random situation that has just happened to occur on the president’s watch.


“The president bears direct responsibility for this inflation crisis, which was set off in large part thanks to the bloated, big-government American Rescue Plan spending spree Democrats and the president forced through shortly after the president came to office.


“And you don’t have to take my word on that.


“Here’s what one former Obama adviser had to say on the subject: ‘The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed in the early days of the Biden administration will go down in history as an extraordinary policy mistake.’


“‘… will go down in history as an extraordinary policy mistake.’


“That’s from an Obama adviser.


“Or as another former Obama adviser noted, and I quote, ‘The original sin was an oversized American Rescue Plan.’


“And contrary to what he suggests in his op-ed, the president has done exactly nothing to bring down inflation since.


“Indeed, he has continued to pursue the same kind of big-government, big-spending policies that helped land us in this mess in the first place.


And so it is frankly staggering to me that the president continues to have the audacity to say things like ‘hardworking families are reaping the rewards’ of his policies.


“Hardworking families are certainly reaping something from the president’s policies, but it isn’t rewards.


“But, as I said earlier, the president is well-known for trying to put a rosy spin on his economic record.


“And he trots out some of his favorite – misleading – statistics in this op-ed.


“Since he took office, he claims, the economy has created more than 13 million jobs.


“That sounds pretty good, right?


“Until you realize that the vast majority of those jobs weren’t newly created, but are rather just jobs that were naturally added back after the pandemic.


“Currently we are just 3.7 million jobs above where we were pre-pandemic. 


“Hardly the historic job boom the president portrays.


“The president also mentions that gasoline prices are down from their peak in June 2022.


“But he neglects to mention that gas prices are currently up 50 percent from where they were when he took office.


“Then of course the president brings up one of his favorite claims – that he reduced the deficit by $1.7 trillion over the first two years of his administration.


“Here’s how the Washington Post’s Fact Checker column has described that claim – ‘highly misleading.’


“‘Highly misleading.’


“The president arrives at this highly misleading statistic by comparing his budget deficit in fiscal year 2022 to the fiscal year 2020 budget deficit, which was unusually large – to put it mildly – as a result of the COVID pandemic.


“A much more appropriate comparison would be to compare President Biden’s actual 2022 budget deficit to what the Congressional Budget Office was projecting that deficit would be before the president’s American Rescue Plan spending spree was enacted.


“That tells a far different story. 


“The reality, as the Post points out, and I quote, is that “the data shows the deficit picture has worsened under Biden.”


“The Washington Post’s Fact Checker column recently awarded President Biden a ‘Bottomless Pinocchio’ for his deficit reduction claims – a rating the column gives for, quote, ‘false or misleading statements repeated so often that they [become] a form of propaganda.’


“Mr. President, I can’t close without mentioning the president’s staggering claim that he ‘fought so hard to bring Democrats and Republicans in Congress together to compromise on the budget and prevent a catastrophic default.’


“As I’ve already highlighted, the president is fairly well-known for revisionist history, but this statement might take the cake.


“Can the president possibly think that people have already forgotten that he spent months refusing to negotiate on a debt ceiling agreement, and only came to the table at the last minute?


“Credit to the president for eventually recognizing that divided government requires compromise, but to suggest that he set out from the outset to forge a compromise between Democrats and Republicans is to skate the line between revisionist history and outright falsehood.


“Mr. President, after two years of painful price hikes at the gas pump and the grocery store, I think few Americans would recognize the positive picture the president paints in his op-ed.


“And unfortunately, it’s clear from the president’s column that he plans to continue to pursue policies that will further undermine the economic wellbeing of the American people.


“So much for giving American families more breathing room.


“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”