Economics and politicians go together like peanut butter and sardines or saltines and blueberry jelly. Therefore, it’s hard to lament Vice President Kamala Harris and her blatant disregard for the facts on some elementary information. In an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes on Oct. 29, the vice president made some head-scratching claims that anyone with a job or an internet connection can determine to be mendacious. But should Harris be admonished for her fibs, or should the host receive a lashing, too?
Kamala Harris Toes the Party Line
Interviewer Bill Whitaker asked Harris why she is so unpopular, a matter he called a “legitimate concern.” The vice president stood there as if she were Carol Burnett on the set of her television series on the cusp of laughter. In typical fashion, she delivered a response cornier than the bad dude known as Corn Pop. “Our Democracy is on the line, Bill, and I, frankly, in my head, do not have time for parlor games!” she said.
Whitaker also queried why Bidenomics has yet to influence voters, particularly the younger generation. Harris replied, “The challenge that we have as an administration is we gotta let people know who brung it to them.” In other words, a core tenet of Bidenomics 101 is that every successful aspect to date is the result of the White House’s work, but all the shortfalls and issues are due to former President Donald Trump and the Republicans.
While these answers might sound like something from the mouth of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer character in the satirical television show Veep, it has become an acceptable level of politicking. That said, the most befuddling aspect of her softball interview was her claim that the incumbent regime is “reducing inflation” and that “wages are up.” Does anyone believe this? Apparently not, which is why Kamala Harris and her subordinate, er, boss, are polling so horribly.
First, inflation is not down. The annual inflation rate is still roughly 4%, close to double the Federal Reserve’s preferred target rate. This has slowed considerably since hitting a peak of 9.1% in June 2022. Inflation is not falling but instead rising at a slower pace, in addition to cumulative price increases over the past few years.
Second, real (inflation-adjusted) wage growth is down 3.3% since February 2021, as average hourly wages stand at $11.02. Additionally, one step deeper, if you include the reduction of hours, real weekly earnings have slumped nearly 5%.
Put simply, inflation is not down, and wages are not up.
Of course, the vice president touted a couple of extra whoppers in her interview: “We have created over 14 million new jobs. We’ve created over 800,000 new manufacturing jobs.” Haven’t we been through this before? Why, yes, my dear Watson.
As Liberty Nation has repeatedly reported, President Joe Biden has created nearly four million new jobs, not the commonly referenced 14 million. Why? At the start of the COVID-19 public health crisis, there were 158 million Americans employed, which then collapsed to below 134 million in April 2020. It was not until sometime between March and August 2022 that these lost jobs were recovered. Anything after this period is counted as new. However, the Biden administration has included the regained pre-COVID jobs in its calculations.
It was equally as comical when then-Vice President Mike Pence boasted 9.3 million “new” jobs in May, June, and July of 2020 despite shedding 22.2 million jobs in March and April due to the outbreak of the respiratory illness. It should be noted that CNN and other major news outlets used this same argument to criticize the Trump administration but have mostly refrained from doing so with Biden.
On the manufacturing front, the 800,000-employment figure is an immense overestimate. At the beginning of the pandemic, there were 12.785 million manufacturing positions. It was not until May 2022 that payrolls returned to the pre-pandemic normal. As of September 2023, there are about 13 million manufacturing jobs. As a result, the present administration has overseen the creation of approximately 200,000 new manufacturing jobs.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who is being penciled in as the heir apparent to the throne at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., is not an economist. It is hard to fault her for being unable to distinguish between “nominal” and “real.” At the same time, as legendary libertarian economist Murray Rothbard quipped, “It is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.” The headline numbers, whether a 4.9% GDP or a 3.8% unemployment rate, point to a red-hot economy. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details, and a look underneath the hood confirms a worn-out suspension, fluid leaks, metal in the oil, and colorful exhaust smoke.