In a recent false assertion that tripped audible alarms on Sunday, President Biden blew his trumpet, claiming that real wages in America are now higher than they were prior to the pandemic outbreak. Instead of bringing down the walls of skepticism like the biblical walls of Jericho, this boast was met with a swift and relentless fact-check from the Twitter’s Community Notes. A digital equivalent of shouting from the rooftops, this rebuke has laid bare the chasm between the current administration’s rhetoric and economic reality.
“Wrong on real wages,” chided Community Notes in an arresting critique of the president’s claim. “On 3/15/20 when US COVID lockdowns began, real wages – that is wages adjusted for inflation (AFI) – were at $11.15. As of 7/16/23, real wages AFI are standing at $11.05. Therefore, contrary to the president’s boast, real wages AFI remain lower, not higher, than they were before the pandemic.”
Right now, real wages for the average American worker is higher than it was before the pandemic, with lower wage workers seeing the largest gains.
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 16, 2023
The repercussions of this fact-check ricocheted through the Twittersphere, puncturing the president’s claim within minutes of its initial posting. Among the first to chime in was the official GOP Twitter handle which, in keeping with the fact-focused theme, tweeted: “Since Biden took office, real wages are down 3%.”
Backing up the claims of Community Notes and the GOP is hard data from YCharts. Showing a timeline of real wage changes, YCharts illustrating that by the end of April 2020, before the full brunt of COVID-19 had begun to hit the economy, real wages had peaked at $11.72, their highest level in the previous four years.
In the wake of this peak, real wages fell to $11.41 by June 2020 and stayed roughly stagnant until after Biden’s inauguration. From here on, the storyline depicted a downward drift where by May 31, 2022, real wages were down to $11.01, and by the end of the next month fell further to $10.92.
Since Biden took office, real wages are down 3%.
— GOP (@GOP) July 16, 2023
The plot thickens with inflation stats. In the 31 months starting in February 2021, just after Biden ascended to the presidency, the average inflation rate has galloped on to read 6.22%. In stark contrast, in the 31 months following President Trump’s inauguration in February 2017, the average inflation rate sauntered at a more modest pace of 2.17%.
Also coming under heat is Biden’s claim during the 2023 State of Union Address that his administration had created “12.7 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years.” This grand claim sidesteps the glaring reality that since March and April 2020, the U.S. economy had lost over 22 million jobs, primarily due to economic shutdowns triggered by the pandemic.
During Biden’s first two years in office, federal spending shot up by 40% compared to the pre-COVID 2019 budget. Moreover, Biden’s proposed 2024 budget, if passed, would add as much to the national debt as the combined added debts of former presidents Trump and George W. Bush.
In conclusion, the misrepresentation of economic reality by the President about economic figures discredits the administration and reveals a stark divergence between rhetoric and reality. Faced with the relentless scrutiny of fact-checking, the administration’s economic bravado has crumbled, baring the stark facts for all to see. The digital voice of truth, embodied by Community Notes, has courageously brought the repercussions of this disbursed string of economic realities to light, providing crucial context to the current administration’s economic narrative. This stern rebuttal and the ensuing ripple effect it created underlines the importance of a diligent and factual approach to policy-making and governance. The crux of the matter is simple – economic facts do not simply bow and bend to the cadence of political rhetoric.