No, you don’t get credit for people going back to work after COVID

From fact checkers to partisan online hacks, some numbers being shared about the economy defy the smell test.

The worst of these is the claim that Joe Biden “created” 15 million jobs during his presidency.

Even left-leaning fact checkers title this claim “needs context,” so I’m going to give you some.

There was a major historic event that occurred late in Donald Trump’s first term, perhaps you’ve heard of it. It was called the COVID pandemic.

Compared to the Spanish Flu of 1918, more people died during COVID, by raw numbers, but because the American population was so much less in 1918, the Spanish Flu was much more deadly. During the Spanish Flu there were 6,136 deaths per million people while COVID only had 1,878 deaths per million people, just another example how numbers can be manipulated.

The scientific leadership in the government recommended that Trump issue a two-week total shutdown nationwide of everything considered non-essential. So, millions of people were sent home. The government continued to extend the “temporary” shutdown, and many of those without a means of income finally ended up on unemployment.

Even when the work restriction was lifted, many states issued their own return-to-work restrictions and continued to make it difficult for millions to return to work.

Before the pandemic hit in 2020, Trump had built an economy with a record 152.3 million jobs. Compare that to Barack Obama who left office with 145.6 million jobs, and Trump had created 6.7 million jobs in three years. That’s 2.23 million jobs per year prior to Feb. 2020 when COVID hit.

When Obama took office, he inherited 134 million jobs after the collapse of 2008 under George W. Bush. So Obama can be credited with creating 1.45 million jobs per year during his presidency, which is still less than Trump’s 2.23 million per year prior to the pandemic.

Looking at job growth after the pandemic, there are now 157.8 million jobs.

Give Biden credit for those created after the three-year total of Trump, and he has created 1.57 million jobs per year in three-and-a-half years, still far less than Trump’s 2.23 million per year.

So is it fair to give Biden credit for those who have returned to work to a job that already existed?

Also, how many of Biden’s jobs will last since many of them have been funded through the American Rescue Plan? When those funds run out, will those working off the gifted money remain employed? And if so, since many of those jobs were government jobs, how much will taxes increase to keep those workers on the job?

It is highly likely that whoever takes over as president in 2025 will inherit the job losses that will come with the depletion of the ARPA funds and will see job decreases. Should the next president be blamed for that when it will have been the result of the previous administration’s policies?

That’s why context is needed when examining these numbers, and it’s also why these claims of “creating 15 million jobs” is an absolute fabrication. Forcing someone to go home only to hire them later is not a reason to celebrate a “created” job.

We have also learned that the pandemic restrictions were very heavy handed and most likely unnecessary. Some states, like Kansas, are seeking compensation from pharmaceutical companies for making misleading claims about the vaccine.

And who mandated them? Does the government get credit for forcing millions out of a job from the military to New York City employees? That would be ridiculous.

Many are now suing for the wrongful dismissals and are being compensated by courts and settlements while also getting their jobs back.

Biden should be given credit for this? Of course not.

Vaccine mandates never should have been required in the first place, and being fired for not getting one should have been criminal.

Can Biden claim he has added jobs? Yes, he can. Under his presidency, he has created 1.57 million jobs per year after adjusting for the pandemic.

If he wants to tout that, he should. But Trump can also claim to have created 2.23 million jobs per year prior to the pandemic, something that happens once in a century and no president was responsible for it.

How will history see it? Ask yourself this, “Who was president when the Spanish Flu hit in 1918?” If you don’t know, that will probably be the case when the COVID pandemic is recorded for posterity. 

The answer is Woodrow Wilson, by the way. He is remembered for many things, but not the deadly Spanish Flu.

Editor |

Earl Watt is the owner and publisher of the Leader & Times in Liberal, Kansas. Watt started his career in journalism in 1991 at the Southwest Daily Times. During his career, the newspaper has won a total of 17 Sweepstakes awards from the Kansas Press Association for editorial content and 18 Sweepstakes awards for advertising. Watt has been recognized with more than 70 first place awards for writing in categories from sports and column to best front pages, best sports pages and best opinion pages. Watt is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and is the descendant of several patriots who fought for America's freedom and independence.

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