Joe Biden Not Having Any Of GOP’s Economic Poor-Mouthing Bullsh*t

President Joe Biden spoke today about the good news in the December 2021 jobs report, calling attention to the new low unemployment rate of 3.9 percent that caps off nearly a year of steady economic recovery since he took office. He noted that hourly wages were up .6 percent for the month of December, and 4.7 percent for the full year, which was a hell of a lot better than prior to the pandemic, when the economy was doing well for the already well-off but wages were relatively stagnant, growing at only three percent before everything went crazy with the COVID pandemic.

He also pointed out that in some industries, wage growth was even better due to the tight labor market; in the leisure, hospitality, and restaurant sector, wages are up 14.1 percent, the best of any industry. Where there were 20 million people on unemployment a year ago, that's now down to about two million. The country is back to work, and also you're welcome for the vaccine distribution and the boosters, maybe some of you will figure out that's how we'll get back to normal. Said Biden:

This is the economy I promised and hoped for for the American people. Where the biggest benefits go to the people who work the hardest and who are more often left behind. The people who have been ignored before. The people who just want a decent chance to build a decent life for their families. It's given them a clear shot.

For them, wages are up. Job opportunities are up. Layoffs are down to the lowest levels in decades, and there are more chances to get ahead.

Here, enjoy the video, and then we'll focus in on the best part of the speech.

Biden dismissed Republican claims that his economic plan is going to destroy America with inflation, labelling such talk "Malarkey":

They want to talk down the recovery because they voted against the legislation that made it happen. They voted against the tax cuts for middle class families. They voted against the funds we needed to reopen our schools, to keep police officers and firefighters on the job, to lower healthcare premiums.

For all the progress, Biden acknowledged that times are still tight, and insisted that the solution isn't austerity, the usual GOP prescription, but to make sure people who need help get it. He noted that one driver of last year's inflation, problems with the supply chain, are starting to subside, and that no, there weren't empty shelves for the holidays. "The Grinch did not steal Christmas," he said.

Moving on, he called for passage of the Build Back Better Act, which will help families get back to work by providing help with childcare, universal pre-K, healthcare premiums, and lower drug prices, like making insulin affordable once and for all.

Now the really good stuff: Biden said we have a choice now between settling for an economy that "wasn't working for the middle class, even before the pandemic began" or insisting on an economy that continues to grow sustainably and spreads the benefits to more Americans.

On the Twitters, podcaster Joe Weisenthal called attention to this part of the speech in particular (at about the 12-minute mark in the video above). Talking about inflation, Biden noted that yes, new cars are too expensive now. So what can you do about it?

You can increase the supply of cars by making more of them, or you reduce demand for cars by making Americans poorer. That's the choice.

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people in the second camp. You're hearing them complain that wages are rising too fast among the very middle class and working class people who have endured decades of stalled incomes. Their view of the economy is, the only solution for our current and future challenges is to make the working families that are the backbone of our country poorer, to keep them in the same state they're in.

It's a pessimistic vision, and I reject it. I reject the idea that we should somehow punish people because they finally have a little more breathing room. America doesn't need to settle for less. We need an economy that has the capacity to generate more growth, more jobs, and more opportunity for all Americans.

We will also point out here that while we agree with Biden's channeling of George Bailey on every bit of that, "making more cars" is at the moment a tough prospect due to shortages of computer chips, which may continue through the first half of 2022, maybe longer, but this wasn't really a speech about the auto industry anyway, shut up, us.

Biden added that he's confident that inflation can be kept in check while sustaining growth and jobs, and to make sure that "the people who bake the pie get a fair slice of it as well," and to get away from the conventional GOP wisdom that the richest have to have obscene profits for the economy to be healthy.

Let's bake some pies.

[CNBC / Oregonian]

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