Published in the Idaho State Journal, November 4, 2022
by Nick Gier
A little bit of inflation is always good in our business.
—Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen
False: Biden and Democrats are responsible for violent crime. For decades Republicans have instilled fear of criminals (most often Blacks) into their campaigns, always implying that Democrats are soft on crime.
For 2022, the highest murder rates were found in red states with 20.5 per 100,000 in hard-red Mississippi followed by Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Texas. Rounding out the top ten at nearly half the rate were blue Maryland (11.4), Illinois (11.2), and New Mexico (10.8).
In states that voted for Trump, murder rates are 40 percent higher than in states that voted for Biden. In rural America, areas that voted overwhelmingly for Trump, homicides were up 25 percent.
A 2018 survey of the most violent cities found that there was a tie between red and blue state cities. Among the top five were St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore, Memphis, and Kansas City. The key item to note is that New York City and Chicago were not on this list.
False: Biden and the Democrats have defunded the police. In February of this year Biden asked for an additional $300 million to fund community policing. Repeatedly, Trump tried to cut federal funding to Democratic led cities, money that always was largely targeted to police departments.
ABC News did an in-depth study of 100 cities and counties, and found that “83 percent are spending at least 2 percent more on police in 2022 than in 2019, and only eight agencies cut police funds by more than 2 percent. In 49 cities or counties, police funding has increased by more than 10 percent.”
False: Biden is responsible for inflation. High inflation is occurring around the world in nations led by conservative as well as liberal governments. For example, the conservative led British economy is now at 9.9 percent inflation, and the Eurozone has 10 percent. The U.S. rate is 8.2 percent. As I written in this space before, the rate was 8.4 percent in Ronald Reagan’s second year. I’ve not read anywhere that he was blamed for it.
The GOP claims that the two stimulus bills were responsible for rising prices, but economists have calculated that this legislation accounted for just under one third of the rise. A neglected culprit has now come to light: corporate profits. A study by the Economic Policy Institute concluded that these profits now constitute 53 percent of the inflation number. From 1979-2019, the inflationary effects of corporate greed were only 11.4 percent.
From 1979-2019, the inflationary effects of corporate greed were only 11.4 percent. One of the industries found guilty is retail grocery, where prices have risen 13 percent, 4 percent over inflation. Most economists are suspicious of Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen, who claims that the upcoming merger with Albertsons will lower food prices. It was McMullen who once said that “a little bit of inflation is always good in our business.”
The first stimulus bill was signed by ex-president Trump, and he wanted $2,000 per person rather than the $1,200 that the Democrats proposed. Without these bills thousands of small companies would have gone out of business, and millions of American families would have fallen into poverty.
False: Biden caused high gas prices. The price of oil is set on the international market, and OPEC recently decided to cut production, which will increase gas prices. The low oil prices during Trump’s administration were not due to him, and anyone who thinks that he could have strong armed OPEC is deluded.
False: National debt has exploded under Biden.The current national debt is $31 trillion, and Trump with his tax cuts added $7.9 trillion in four years. The debt has grown only $3.3 trillion years under Biden. Current estimates of $1.6 trillion for 2023-24, low primarily because of the Inflation Reduction Act, will total $4.9 trillion over 4 years. The Obama-Biden administration, hampered by the Great Recession, which they did not cause, added $9.3 trillion over 8 years.
National debt increases are primarily driven by budget deficits, the difference between spending and revenue. (Another major element is paying interest on the debt.) Trump left us, again with unpaid tax cuts, with a whopping 14.4 percent budget deficit. Biden’s current percentage is 3.9 percent, and Obama-Biden left Trump with a 3.8 percent deficit with better economic growth than Trump over four years.
Wisely, Democrats and Europe’s Social Democrats, like householders, try to balance spending and revenue by raising sufficient taxes, but Republicans falsely believe that their tax cuts will always increase revenue. Large deficits and more national debt are the result. Post-war Democratic administrations have always done better on all major economic indicators: lower budget deficits, lower unemployment, and higher economic growth. I invite you to check the government figures.
False: Biden caused a recession. Economic growth did go negative for the first two quarters, which is usually a sign of a textbook recession. Other economic conditions, however, indicate otherwise. These are low unemployment, a record number of new jobs (10millon vs. Trump’s 6.6 million over 3 years), higher wages, and a rise in manufacturing. In the latter category are 367,000 new jobs in one year as opposed to 483,000 jobs under Trump’s four years.
False: Biden slowed economic growth. The Gross Domestic Product rose 5.67 percent in 2021 (the highest since 1984), and this year (after the third quarter) it is 2.6 percent, higher than expected. Trump’s average over 4 years was 1.02 percent. The data are from macrotrends.net.
Some would say that it is unfair to include the economic effects of the first year of the pandemic, for which Trump’s incompetence and resistance to standard public health measures are partially responsible. I would counter that the Obama-Biden administration could then ignore the negative figures from the Great Recession, which was not their fault.
With one percent economic, high deficits, and moderate job growth, how can Trump possibly claim that his was the greatest economy in U.S. history? He can, of course, because he is Trump.
Nick Gier taught philosophy at the University of Idaho for 31 years. Read his comparison of Biden and Reagan at nfgier.com/?s=Biden+Reagan. Email him at ngier006∂gmail.com.