Five years into the Obama presidency, Joe Biden was not satisfied with the work his administration had done on the economy. He had overseen the failed stimulus program. The unemployment rate was stubbornly stuck at the “new normal” of 6.7 percent.
At the time, Biden was contemplating yet another run for the presidency, after two failed attempts decades earlier where he never cracked more than 3% in the polls. But Biden thought his argument for the working class could finally break through. “Guess what?” Biden said in February 2014. “The workers are getting screwed.”
Times have changed.
For a man wrong about everything over the past four decades, Biden did get one thing right. The policies of the Democratic administration, of which he was intimately involved, were failing the American people.
Fast forward another five years — just over 800 days into President Donald Trump’s first term — Americans are going back to work, earning more and keeping more of their hard-earned money.
Americans are also getting a raise, as wage growth has reached its highest levels in a decade. Earners in the bottom half are seeing twice as many gains as those at the top. As unemployment reaches historic lows, economic growth smashed expectations in the first quarter, its strongest rate since 2015.
Biden can take no credit for this booming economy, but he will try. An administration that blamed everything on its predecessor will now try to stake a claim on the progress of its successor.
On cue, Biden claims in a new campaign ad he is the one responsible for “revitalized American manufacturing.” The only thing manufactured when Biden was vice president were false job numbers. In 2012, Biden declared “manufacturing is back.” Too bad he overstated the number of jobs by 1.1 million.
In fact, manufacturing had “taken a bigger hit under Obama” than other sectors. After two terms, Obama and Biden left the industry with 193,000 fewer jobs.
Only halfway into President Trump’s first term are we making things in America again. Manufacturing is roaring back to the tune of a half million new jobs.
The Trump administration has created six times as many manufacturing jobs as the “working class whisperer” could in his last two years in office — well into the Obama administration’s so-called recovery.
The promises made by Obama and Biden were never kept.
When the one million jobs they said would come from the Democratic stimulus plan did not materialize, they changed the metric to jobs “created or saved.” No one was fooled. There was no “Recovery Summer.” Biden promised to “begin to rebuild this economy” in February 2010. Biden’s solution? Create manufacturing jobs through high-speed rail boondoggles that went nowhere.
Two years later we were “in the dumps with the American Dream.” Wages were not just stagnating, they were plummeting. By 2014 we were still asking, “Where have all the working men gone?” Sadly, this was the “new reality” for the middle class.
When Obama campaigned against President Trump in 2016, his argument was telling Americans to accept the slow growth, high unemployment and low wages we had grown accustomed to during his and Biden’s two terms in office.
Obama said Trump’s promise to bring manufacturing jobs back was an illusion. “Well, how exactly are you going to do that? What exactly are you going to do?” Obama said. “He just says, ‘Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ Well, what, how exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have?”
President Trump found what escaped Obama and Biden for eight years: pro-growth policies of cutting taxes, deregulation, renegotiating better trade deals and getting the government out of the way of American workers.
Joe Biden is once again trying to assume the mantle of working class warrior in what will be another futile run at the presidency. A man who could not stop workers from “getting screwed” in two terms is not the man to “rebuild” a middle class that is rising without his failed policies.