AP FACT CHECK: Biden’s shaky claims on jobs, gasoline

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A look at their claims and facts

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Claiming that government policies can improve the economy, President Joe Biden went far beyond taking credit for the job growth since taking office on Thursday.

He also made a dubious suggestion that wrongdoing was behind high petrol prices – something his administration would try to fix. But analysts say there is little evidence for this.

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Have a look at their claims and facts:

Biden: “When I was sworn in as president, the nation was struggling to get out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Job growth was anemic, with just one per month in the three months before my swearing-in. There were over 60,000 new jobs. Then we went to work. We passed the American rescue plan back in March. And it worked; it’s still working. Over the past three months, we averaged 750, per month. 000 new jobs have been created.”

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Fact: Biden is taking more credit for his plan than he deserves.

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The strong hiring since their opening largely reflects the reopening of the US economy, as a major winter wave of coronavirus infections peaked in January. Widespread vaccinations, which topped three million a day in the spring, played a key role in enabling restaurants, bars and entertainment venues to reopen and re-hiring. Airplanes filled, as did hotels.

Biden’s $1.9 trillion financial rescue package, approved by Congress in March, played a key role. By providing a third round of stimulus checks through the first week of September and expanding the expanded unemployment benefit program, Biden’s plan dented spending and the economy by putting more money in Americans’ pockets.

But hiring slowed sharply in August for a gain of only 235,000 jobs, as matters more in the case of the delta version, underscoring the virus’s ongoing grip on the economy.

Biden: “We’re also going after the bad actors and pandemic profiteers in our economy. There’s a lot of evidence that gas prices are going down, but they haven’t. We’re taking a closer look at that.” Huh.”

Fact: There is actually little evidence that there is something nefarious behind higher gasoline prices, as Biden suggests.

After peak driving season in the summer, gasoline prices usually drop after Labor Day. While that hasn’t happened so far this year, analysts say there are other factors involved in it besides the mess. US gasoline and oil prices, for example, have been hit by a hurricane that has temporarily closed most of the oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, several large refineries and a major fuel pipeline to the East Coast.

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According to Auto Club AAA, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.19. This is unchanged from a month ago, although it is a dollar higher than this time last year.

Gasoline prices typically track oil prices, and the price of benchmark US crude has returned to early July highs after falling in August.

Energy-market expert Jeffrey Bourne of Northeastern University said current gasoline prices are partly the result of production and refining capacity that was knocked offline by Hurricane Ida and other factors – even a shortage of tanker drivers. Too.

“In short, I think we’re having a supply-chain problem,” Bourne said. “I’m sure Joe wants the prices to be lower—you and I do too. I’d also like to be 20 pounds lighter tomorrow.”

Phil Flynn, an energy analyst at Price Futures Group and a critic of Biden’s energy policy, said prices reflected demand that was stronger than expected from the pandemic and lower US oil production, compounded by events such as hurricanes.

“I don’t see any profiteering or bad actors,” Flynn said.

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Tom Kloza, chief analyst at the Oil Price Information Services consulting firm, said Hurricane Ida and lingering effects on production and refining are causing summer-like prices to “stay longer,” especially east of the Rockies. He predicted pump prices would soon drop in the West, Southwest and Rocky Mountain states.

Energy economist Philip Verlager said gasoline prices are being driven up by US independent producers and OPEC members limiting their oil output, the cost of blending ethanol into gasoline, and low gasoline inventories.

There are already some signs that retail gasoline prices are peaking, with the Energy Information Administration reporting last week that gasoline prices are likely to slide in the coming months. It estimates prices will average $3.14 a gallon in September, falling to $2.91 in the last three months of the year, as driving declines in the winter months and refining operations come back online after being damaged by storms. go.

Biden joins a rich tradition of presidents who express their dismay at high petrol prices. In 2019, then-President Donald Trump tweeted at OPEC, the Saudi Arabian-led cartel of oil producers.

“Oil Prices Are Getting Too High,” Trump tweeted. “OPEC, please relax and take it easy. The world can’t take the price hike – fragile!”

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Biden himself tried that approach last month, when he urged members of OPEC to increase oil production, just as there were growing concerns that higher energy prices could slow the US economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The production cuts made during the pandemic should be reversed as the global economy recovers to lower prices for consumers,” Biden said at the time.


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