Today, the House Oversight Committee is holding an important hearing entitled "The Role of Pharmacy…
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House Hearing Spotlights Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) as Drivers of Higher Drug Prices

Today, the House Oversight Committee is holding an important hearing entitled "The Role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers in Prescription Drug Markets Part III:  Transparency and Accountability."

For those unfamiliar, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) amount to middlemen that control prescription drugs for millions of Americans.  A majority of Americans receive health insurance through employer plans or government programs such as Medicare, which in turn cover prescription drugs through PBMs.  Those PBMs negotiate with drug companies and pay pharmacies, but throughout the process determine the drugs that insured patients may obtain and at what cost.

The problem is that PBMs operate in such an opaque and complex manner that they're able to inflate drug costs while claiming to be working…[more]

July 23, 2024 • 04:57 PM

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The Obvious Hypocrisy of Biden’s “Strong Economy” Claim Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, June 06 2024
The Biden administration’s newfound reliance upon GDP exposes its transparent desperation less than five months before November’s presidential election. Whatever value GDP maintains in the abstract, everyday Americans remain more concerned with the day-to-day economic pain that they suffer in terms of food, housing and gas costs under Biden.

Three years ago this month, unmistakable signs emerged that inflation was ascending out of control.  

The Biden administration, however, imperiously dismissed growing concerns and even insisted that everything was heading in the “right direction.”  

Consumer prices that month surged at a 5.4% annual rate, the highest since 2008, greatly exceeding economists’ forecasts.  That was four times the 1.4% rate that Biden inherited from Donald Trump less than five short months earlier.  

In a statement that obviously hasn’t aged well, White House Council of Economic Advisers member Heather Boushey asserted that, “Today’s data on inflation is the latest indicator that things are both moving in the right direction.”  The following month, Biden advisers infamously shifted to claiming that inflation was merely “transitory.”  

That was about the same time that Biden himself, the supposed steady hand and international relations wizard, also assured Americans that the Taliban wouldn’t regain control of Afghanistan following American withdrawal.  

Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki even callously made light of rising prices hitting consumers, joking about “the tragedy of the treadmill that’s delayed.”  

Instead, as we now know, inflation moved in the wrong direction and reached 9.1% in June 2022.  Today, three years later, overall consumer prices are a whopping 20% higher than when Biden entered office.  

Painfully higher prices, however, aren’t the only way in which Americans have suffered during the Biden era.  Responding to higher prices, the Federal Reserve was forced to raise interest rates, which in turn has led to record levels of credit card debt and unprecedented unaffordability of housing and rent.  

Further, as reported by Bloomberg this week, approximately two-thirds of middle-class Americans now report that “they are facing economic hardship and don’t anticipate a change for the rest of their lives.”  According to the survey on which it relied, some “40 percent of all Americans are unable to plan beyond their next paycheck, and 46 percent don’t have $500 saved for a rainy day.”  

Biden constantly claims that he’s rebuilding the economy “from the bottom up and the middle class out,” but the middle class itself obviously maintains a depressingly different perspective.  

In the face of that ongoing economic adversity, which explains why Biden now maintains the lowest approval rating of any president at this point in his tenure, he insists that “the American economy remains strong, with continued steady and stable growth.”  

Here’s the problem.  

In making that claim, Biden and his defenders rely upon gross domestic product (GDP) reports, which measure overall economic growth.  

Two years ago, however, the Biden administration denied the importance of that very same metric.  

Specifically, the U.S. economy entered an economic recession under the longstanding definition as two or more consecutive quarters of economic contraction.  According to official government data, the first quarter of 2022 registered a 2.0% contraction, and the second quarter 0.6%.  

To that point, Biden economic advisers like Jared Bernstein had publicly asserted as recently as 2019 that a recession “is typically defined as two consecutive quarters of declining growth.”  

When two consecutive quarters of declining growth subsequently occurred on Biden’s watch, however, they brazenly insisted that, “two consecutive quarters of GDP growth is not the technical definition of a recession.  It’s not the definition that economists have traditionally relied on.”  

So which is it?  

To the extent that Biden insists on citing GDP growth, it belies his recurring claim that he inherited a U.S. economy “flat on its back.”  After contractions of 5.3% and 28.0% in the first two quarters of 2020 as the Covid pandemic hit, the economy surged in the third quarter of 2020 by 34.8% and by 4.2% in the fourth quarter.  One year later, that had slowed to consecutive quarters of contraction and a recession under Biden.  

Accordingly, the Biden administration’s newfound reliance upon GDP exposes its transparent desperation less than five months before November’s presidential election.  Whatever value GDP maintains in the abstract, everyday Americans remain more concerned with the day-to-day economic pain that they suffer in terms of food, housing and gas costs under Biden.  

Time may have already expired to reverse that course before November, so expect more contradictions and hypocrisies from Biden and his defenders between now and then.

Notable Quote   
 
"The astonishing political events of the last four weeks make plain, once again, how much of America's history depends on what voters have come to accept as the choice of one person: each presidential nominee's choice of a vice presidential candidate. Even as the nomination process was expanded, half a century ago, to include millions of primary voters, the choice of the vice presidential nominee…[more]
 
 
— Michael Barone, Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner and Longtime Co-Author of The Almanac of American Politics
 
Liberty Poll   

Should Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle be fired for the agency's unconscionable failures regarding the assassination attempt on President Trump?