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ALFREDO ORTIZ: The Real State Of The Union: Americans Are Worse Off Than Four Years Ago


By Alfredo Ortiz, The Daily Caller News Foundation | March 8, 2024

The State of the Union is not strong. Americans are facing a cost-of-living crisis, high crime, and an unsecured southern border as a direct result of Democrats’ failed policies led by perpetrator-in-chief Joe Biden.

Instead of taking accountability for these pressing national challenges, Biden promised more of the same in his State of the Union address Thursday night.

The state of the economy can best be described in one phrase: “cereal for dinner.” That’s what Kellogg’s CEO Gary Pilnick recently encouraged cash-strapped consumers to resort to. We’re in a Mac & Cheese, instant coffee, and beater car economy. Democrats don’t want us to have nice things.

Since President Biden took office, prices of goods and services have increased 18%. That’s higher than average wages, meaning American living standards have declined. Energy prices are up 30%, and housing costs have soared. The average American family is paying an extra $12,000 annually in inflation. Seven in ten Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

Friday’s jobs report shows the labor market is stagnant under the weight of prolonged high inflation and high interest rates. Real wages significantly declined last month when measured against the Consumer Price Index. Previous months’ job growth was revised down by 167,000, continuing a troubling trend and taking the sheen off previous months’ reports. Jobs continue to disproportionately be created in unproductive government and quasi-government sectors.

Biden ignored the major problems facing the country in his speech and instead rattled off his greatest hits record that is by now badly scratched. A few fact-checks: He boasted about job creation even though the bulk of these jobs are merely backfilled positions post-pandemic. He said he cut the deficit even though the deficit is on track to be $2 trillion this year. He claimed inflation is coming down when the most recent data shows it’s rising again.

He blamed shrinkflation on businesses when, in reality, cutting product sizes is simply a way to maintain margins in a world of skyrocketing input costs. He recently compared this serious issue to the Cookie Monster, ignoring his own inflation monster, which is taking a bite out of cookies and American paychecks.

Biden said the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act added to the debt and helped the 1%, but in reality, tax revenues are up 33% since the TCJA passed, and the top 1% are paying a greater share of taxes than ever before. He claimed small businesses are strong, but JCN’s national SBIQ poll of small business owners finds nearly two-thirds of respondents say economic conditions could force them to close. Nearly one-third say increased crime is decreasing their earnings.

Biden’s SOTU policies double down on the same old big government policies that are responsible for rising costs and declining living standards in the first place. Instead of raising taxes and increasing spending, the nation urgently needs to reduce inflationary spending and make the TCJA permanent to empower small businesses. Instead of congressional border legislation, Biden needs to secure the border now by signing an executive order to reinstate President Trump’s policies — something JCN highlighted in a recent full-page New York Times ad.

Instead of more government in healthcare, we need free-market reforms that will make it more affordable. Instead of throwing more money at public schools, we need school choice to allow families to pursue the best education possible. Instead of a student loan bailout, we must hold colleges accountable for their price gouging. Instead of a war on small businesses, we need pro-growth reforms that unleash job creators to boost the economy for everyone.

Biden and Democrats are clearly uncomfortable discussing these kitchen-table issues that matter to ordinary Americans. They would prefer to shift the conversation to fearmongering over “democracy,” abortion, and Putin. That is unsurprising because due to them, Americans are worse off than they were four years ago. That’s the real state of the union.

Alfredo Ortiz is CEO of Job Creators Network, author of “The Real Race Revolutionaries,” and co-host of the Main Street Matters podcast.

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