The year is 1977. In August, President Jimmy Carter is seven months into his presidency. Inflation has cleared 6% , while the U.S. labor force participation rate is stuck at 62.3% . The New York Times warns of a “stagflation swamp.”
Fast forward to 2021: Seven months into his term, President Joe Biden’s economy is sputtering. Over the last 12 months, wholesale inflation has risen by nearly 8%. Increases in the producer price index are beating expectations . While the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to 5.4%, economists say that owing to the unusual circumstances, this probably understates true unemployment by as many as 3 points. Labor force participation, a more accurate gauge of the labor market, sits below 62% .
Last week, U.S. job vacancies hit a record 10.1 million as employers struggled to find help. Nearly half of small-business owners are unable to hire or compete with government welfare. Reliant on federal unemployment benefits and coddled by Democrats for months, millions of workers are choosing not to work .
This is Joe Biden’s America.
While the president has been accused of implementing the third Obama term (and for good reason ), he is much closer to Carter in historical terms. A Democratic president is once again ballooning the size of government (see the $1 trillion infrastructure bill ), relying on a unique combination of mandates, guidelines, and handouts, COVID-19-related and otherwise, to stifle private enterprise and the free market.
Once again, a Democratic president, buoyed by an increasingly left-wing party apparatus, is discouraging work by forcing Americans to rely on Washington, D.C., rather than the merits of their own labor. Biden and other handout-happy Democrats are inspiring a new generation of leeches and mooches, who no longer need to rely on small-business owners and other hardworking employers to secure financial security and climb the career ladder.
When tens of billions of dollars in federal unemployment benefits are doled out in a matter of months, why work? Why strive? Why succeed?
Don’t just take my word for it. Even left-leaning news outlets such as the Washington Posthave identified “a potent political risk” for Biden if he continues recklessly spending taxpayer dollars. Said risk has forced the president to conduct damage control in his economic messaging to the extent that he even attends press conferences and answers media inquiries.
But no matter how reclusive he hopes to be, Biden can’t hide forever. Working Americans, who are increasingly anxious about inflation and other economic issues, won’t let him. Earlier this month, U.S. consumer sentiment dipped to its lowest level in a decade , one of the steepest drop-offs in the last 50 years. American optimism is waning. People are growing restless.
Just over four decades ago, Carter delivered his famous “Crisis of Confidence” speech, pointing to the “growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives.” Biden could give a similar speech today.
Fortunately for Americans, Ronald Reagan was around to save the day then, making Carter a one-term failure. Within four years, President Reagan gave us “Morning in America.”
In 2021, we need a leader like Reagan. Americans need to be saved from our economic nightmare.