An Associated Press fact-check on inflation that has been carried by multiple publications, including Yahoo and US News & World Report, includes a number of falsehoods and poorly documented assertions to support a claim that the recent spate of inflation in prices for gasoline is not the fault of President Joe Biden’s economic policies.
“Shortages have bedeviled the economy this spring, but most economists attribute the bulk of them to the difficulties of restarting the U.S. and global economies,” according to the AP.
At the same time, the AP cites no economists in support of the contention that Biden isn’t responsible for rising gas prices. Nor does it cite an authoritative consensus among economists that Biden has not contributed to rising gas prices.
Ignoring the complicated whys and wherefores, a glance at a chart of gas prices shows that under Biden — including when he served under Obama — gas prices have been much higher.
While some may think it’s unfair to compare Biden’s time under Obama in the measurement, there is very little difference in the energy policies of the two administrations.
In April 2021, Biden set a goal for the U.S. to be carbon-free by 2050 while cutting carbon by 50 percent from 2005 levels in just nine years.
Since economics is anticipatory, the market is driving prices higher because it expects that under Biden, the supply of fossil fuels such as natural gas and oil will go down.
It’s no coincidence that gas prices began to rise right around the time of the presidential election. Biden has been transparent in his hostility towards fossil fuels.
Another contention by the AP that is demonstrably false is that the reopening of the American economy under Biden has caused the inflation.
“Prices have also increased because the economy has reopened much more quickly than most analysts expected,” the report says.
The largest part of the reopening has happened under Trump, not Biden.
Economic growth has slowed since growing nearly 35 percent in the second half of 2020 under Trump. Thus far, under Biden, the economy has managed just 6.4 percent growth, right around the consensus forecast for the year.
Yet despite the disparity in growth rates, gas prices – and other prices — remained relatively stable under the Trump recovery.
The AP also points to the infusion of Biden’s $1,400 stimulus checks as part of the reason gas prices went up, saying: “Stimulus payments to American households, including $1,400 checks that were distributed in March, have helped Americans ramp up spending.”
But they failed to mention the $1,800 in stimulus checks, PPP checks and extended unemployment benefits in 2020 that were passed under Trump.
Those and other measures helped ignite the largest one-quarter GDP growth in the history of the country, which the AP ignored while forecasting the worst economic slump since the Great Depression.
While the AP is correct in its assertion that the economy grew faster than anyone predicted, it grew under Trump, without wholesale inflation, and slowed under Biden with too much inflation.