One year ago on January 20, Joe Biden took the oath of office as the 46th president of the United States. He may be celebrating this milestone personally, but the American people have little to show for his first year. By many measures, we are worse off than when his administration began.
Start with the economy. The coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown policies imposed in response inflicted massive damage on American workers and businesses, but under President Trump, jobs and growth were poised for a comeback. President Biden, however, went in a different direction.
His first legislative priority was a massive $1.9 trillion bill. It was labeled as coronavirus relief, but it was stuffed with measures that had little to do with the pandemic and came after several relief measures adding up to trillions of dollars had already been enacted. Among its priorities were shoveling money at states and local governments that did not need relief (except for blue states whose finances were a mess before the pandemic), continuing extra unemployment benefits, and removing work requirements from the Child Tax Credit. Ultimately, less than ten percent of the spending in this bill actually related to COVID-19.
Even liberal economists such as former Obama advisor Larry Summers warned that this excessive spending would increase the danger of inflation. But President Biden plowed ahead and continues to seek trillions more in debt-financed spending through the so-called “Build Back Better” bill.
Americans are paying the price for President Biden’s imprudence thanks to inflation not seen in decades. 2021 was the worst year in the United States for inflation since 1981. Prices for essential goods and services such as food and gasoline soar. Meanwhile, real wages decreased in eight out of President Biden’s first eleven months in office.
One particular area where prices have skyrocketed is energy. The priorities and actions of the Biden Administration from its earliest days directly contributed to this outcome. It canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. New oil and gas drilling on federal lands was suspended. The domestic production that had brought America reliable and affordable energy was no longer welcome.
According to outlets including the New York Times, energy companies and those who finance them are refraining from boosting domestic production. When demand rises, production needs to increase to keep prices down, but President Biden’s policies discourage that production.
As a result, the national average gas price on January 20, 2022, was $3.32 compared to $2.39 exactly one year earlier. In Virginia, the average was $3.16 compared to $2.30. That’s a substantial increase for people filling up their tank. The U.S. Energy Information Agency projected home heating costs this winter to be 30 percent above last winter’s, with propane users expected to spend 54 percent more to heat their homes.
Prices are not all that is surging in America under President Biden; illegal immigration and the smuggling of illicit narcotics are, too. Since he was sworn in, over 1.7 million illegal immigrants have been apprehended at the southern border. Further, more fentanyl was seized in fiscal year 2021 than in the previous two years, contributing to an alarming increase in overdose deaths. But the Biden Administration continues to dismantle the border security measures taken by President Trump to enforce our immigration laws.
Looking abroad, our national standing has diminished. The botched withdrawal from Afghanistan left some of our citizens, our Afghan allies, and large quantities of advanced military equipment to the Taliban. Vladimir Putin stands ready to snatch up Ukraine, but the Biden Administration has given the green light to his Nord Stream 2 pipeline even as it blocks pipelines here at home. Allies wonder.
The President has been no help as I work with other Energy and Commerce Republicans to determine China’s role in the origins of COVID-19. He said in 2020 after 220,000 Americans had died of the coronavirus, “Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.” The number under his presidency is about 400,000. Did he forget his previous comments?
President Biden follows the fringe left rather than work with Republicans. He bases policy on progressive ideology instead of facts and circumstances. His Vice President and most of his Cabinet and senior staff, many of them retreads from the Obama Administration, simply do not measure up to their responsibilities.
That’s quite a record for one year, but not a record of which anyone should be proud.
- Congressman H. Morgan Griffith