Most politicians exaggerate. Some tell outright lies. Throughout the course of his long political career, President Joe Biden has been prone to both.
But in remarks delivered during the White House signing ceremony for the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 earlier this month, he told such a whopper that he earned “four pinocchios” in a fact check published Thursday.
Biden boasted that the new legislation would create 1 million new construction jobs over the next six years: “There’s an analysis that says investment in the Chips and Science Act will create 1 million — more than 1 million construction jobs alone over the next six years building semiconductor factories in America.”
Two days later, he repeated the claim on Twitter.
Investments in the CHIPS and Science Law will create more than 1 million construction jobs alone over the next 6 years building semiconductor factories in America.
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 11, 2022
However, according to one of the Biden administration’s most solid mainstream media allies, the actual figure would be closer to 6,200.
“We’ve learned from experience that when a president utters a big job-creation number, it’s ripe for fact-checking,” fact checker Glen Kessler wrote for The Washington Post. “So we were curious to learn how the president’s job prediction for the Chips and Science Act — which will provide nearly $53 billion for U.S. semiconductor research, development, manufacturing and workforce development — was developed.”
He reported that the president “mentioned an ‘analysis’ as the source for the claim that 1 million construction jobs would be created. … But we were puzzled when we did not see the figure in the White House’s ‘fact sheet’ on the bill.”
“It turns out this number is wildly exaggerated,” Kessler wrote.
The “first tip-off” that the claim might be false was the sheer size of the number.
“The second tip-off is that Biden was specific — 1 million construction jobs in six years. Before the pandemic tanked jobs, the U.S. economy took four years to add 1 million construction jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data — from all industries, not just the semiconductor business,” he explained.
When Kessler’s team asked the White House about the source of Biden’s claim, they cited a 2021 report issued by the Semiconductor Industry Association.
According to the fact check, “That report touted the contribution of the semiconductor industry and examined the potential impact of a $50 billion federal investment program, similar to the Chips Act.”
That gave the fact checkers their third tip-off. The report had been “issued by an industry advocate,” Kessler noted, a group that is interested in putting “the best gloss on the industry’s economic contributions.”
Even SIA spokeswoman Sarah Ravi was forced to admit that Biden’s “statement about 1 million construction jobs is not accurate.”
“[T]he president stumbled badly here,” Kessler concluded. “In public remarks, and then in a tweet, he claimed 1 million construction jobs would be created because of the Chips Act. The real number was just 6,200, according to the industry-commissioned report cited as the source.
“If you wanted to be generous, you could say the report said 56,000 jobs would be supported by construction. If you wanted to be very generous, you could say 1 million jobs would be supported in the ‘construction phase’ of the law. But that would be overly generous, given that the White House amplified Biden’s statement in a tweet; it was not a simple misspeak.
“[T]here is no reason to get the number so wrong — twice. While the White House concedes a ‘mix-up,’ the tweet has not been deleted; neither has the official transcript been corrected.
“The president earns Four Pinocchios,” Kessler concluded.
Administrations work hard to present their accomplishments in the best possible light to voters; that’s politics. In fact, it’s human nature.
However, there is a point at which exaggeration crosses the line into outright lying.
Following the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report last week that the inflation rate had decreased to 8.5 percent from the previous month’s 9.1 percent, Biden said, “I just want to say a number: zero. Today, we received news that our economy had zero inflation in the month of July.”
On Tuesday, Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. Contrary to its disingenuous name, this legislation will do nothing to lower inflation, but will fund climate change programs and add 87,000 new auditors to the ranks of the IRS.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tells us regularly that our border is secure despite the fact that over 2 million undocumented aliens will have entered the U.S. illegally by the end of this fiscal year.
Biden and his minions lie to Americans with such regularity that it’s become impossible to believe nearly anything they say. Claiming a bill will create 1 million new jobs when it is expected to bring fewer than 1 percent of that number is a lie — and a breathtaking one, at that.
Kudos to Kessler for calling him out.
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