Last week, President Biden stood before the American people and actually said that his first year in office had been “a year of enormous progress.” He added, “I have probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen.”
The president boasts that America has enjoyed record job creation under his leadership, yet there are 3 million fewer jobs than before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Mr. Biden claims that last year, “for the first time in a long time, this country’s working people actually got a raise.” But according to Mr. Biden’s own Bureau of Labor Statistics, wages decreased by 2.4% when adjusted for the skyrocketing rate of inflation unleashed by the president’s left-wing policies.
Inflation is now the highest it has been in 40 years, and more American families are struggling to make ends meet as prices continue to rise for food, energy and basic necessities. Grocery bills have increased by 22%, and the cost of gasoline is 40% higher than it was a year ago.
Runaway inflation is the predictable result of runaway spending. Democrats passed more than $3 trillion in spending last year, and now they want to spend another $2 trillion in addition to the trillions of existing baseline spending. If they succeed, Democrats will have spent more than the economies of Canada, Mexico and Brazil combined.
Adding to our national frustration is a nationwide supply chain crisis keeping our entire economy stuck in neutral. In December, the president asked us to believe “the much-predicted crisis didn’t occur … shelves are not empty.” Yet one month later, the average American can see for themselves that many shelves are understocked, if not completely bare, at their local grocery store. Like Groucho Marx, the president offers us a ridiculous choice: “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”
The month before the election, Mr. Biden promised he would “shut down the virus.” Instead, the United States is averaging over 600,000 new coronavirus cases per day — three times more than the day we left office. The only real action taken by his administration — an unconstitutional vaccine mandate for 90 million Americans — was thankfully struck down by the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, increasingly weary Americans are left to fend for themselves while local governments continue to impose anti-freedom restrictions.
While the American people have seen their freedoms erode in the last year, violent criminals have been given virtually free rein in our largest cities. After the radical left’s war on cops caused a 30% spike in homicides in 2020, murders increased even higher during Mr. Biden’s first year as president. While Democrat mayors decriminalize theft and Democrat district attorneys refuse to prosecute law-breakers, the Democrat president has abandoned the American people to criminals and thugs.
The crime wave wreaking havoc on our cities is overshadowed only by the wave of illegal immigrants crashing into America’s southern border. Nearly 2 million illegal immigrants were encountered at the border last year — the most in our nation’s history — and that does not include the untold thousands that surely entered our country undetected. Meanwhile, illegal immigration arrests in the nation’s interior dropped to half the annual totals of the Trump-Pence administration.
One year of President Biden has not only created widespread misery at home, but it has also brought needless suffering abroad. Weakness arouses evil. The president’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan embarrassed America on the world stage. He abandoned our ally Israel for weeks while Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians. Now, the weakness shown by this administration has emboldened Russia to prepare an invasion of Ukraine and emboldened China to engage in even more aggressive military maneuvers in the straights of Taiwan.
As half of the ticket that ran hard against Biden-Harris in the last election, I expressed my grave concerns about the direction this administration wanted to take our nation. But I never imagined that it would be this bad. For the sake of the American people, I hope the Biden administration changes course. And if it doesn’t, I am confident the American people will this November.
• Former Vice President Mike Pence is chair of Advancing American Freedom, a distinguished visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation and the Ronald Reagan presidential scholar at Young America’s Foundation.