President Joe Biden is running around trying to take credit for a “booming” economy. It’s the ultimate political dumb-guy argument.
Politicians tend to play to the lowest common denominator and Joe Biden is no exception.
In a social media post, Biden claimed credit for an improving labor market, comparing various jobs numbers today with the same data a year ago. “One year in, America is on the move again,” Biden exclaimed.
If you take these numbers at face value – and you’re a dumb guy – you would think Biden is an economic miracle worker. But of course, data needs context.
In January 2021, the US economy was just coming out of a year in which governments across the country shut down the entire economy. Businesses were forced to close. People were banned from going to work. Of course, there was massive unemployment that year. In fact, the government response to COVID caused the greatest job market loss ever.
Over the past year, the economy gradually opened back up. People were allowed to return to work. Joe Biden didn’t do anything to “fix” the job market. The improvement was inevitable once the economy opened up. When you’re baseline is deeply negative, any positive number looks pretty darn good. We could have put my 1-year-old nephew in charge of the economy and we would have seen this kind of improvement in the labor market.
And the truth of the matter is the labor market isn’t “fixed.”
Just look at the last data point on Biden’s little chart. We’re still 3 million jobs short of the number lost in 2021. On top of that, the labor force participation rate has dropped precipitously. A lot of people have just given up on working. If you look at the December jobs data, you’ll find that every job category but one is way behind the 12-month trend.
Biden is taking credit for something that was inevitable. Imagine if I started telling everybody I made the sun come up this morning. You’d think I was nuts. And you’d be right. But millions of people will look at that chart and immediately conclude that Biden is an economic miracle worker.
Why? Because they’re dumb guys. Or political hacks.
It’s not different much different than all the people who believed Trump created the “greatest economy” in history.
Don’t get snowed by political dumb-guy arguments.
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Photo by Donkey Hotey via Flickr.