Once again, former Vice President Joe Biden has used one of his rare public appearances, this time at the first presidential debate in Cleveland, to present an economic vision at odds not only with his decades-long record but the reality of his own platform.
On Tuesday night, Biden looked straight into the camera and appealed to “you in small towns and working-class towns,” and went on to talk about “buying American” as though he were a champion of the American worker.
The only difference was that this time Donald Trump, the president of the United States, was on hand to poke holes in Biden’s faux-folksy “Made in America,” “200 MPH electric Corvette” act.
“You gave up on manufacturing,” was the president’s reply.
President Trump, of course, is entirely correct. No one still active in American politics is more responsible for destroying the American industries Biden is now championing than Biden himself.
Forty years ago, he started voting to grant China privileges such as “most favored nation” trading status even though the communist country’s repressive totalitarian system should have disqualified it. He even backed Bill Clinton’s plan to make that status permanent, paving the way for China’s admission into the World Trade Organization.
We all know how this turned out. Our trade deficit with China quadrupled over the next two decades and we lost 60,000 factories. Combined with the Biden-supported NAFTA, Biden’s disastrous pro-China trade policies turned America from the world’s greatest industrial power into a mass consumer of foreign goods.
It would have been even worse if Biden had gotten his way with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but luckily the American people were wise enough to pick Donald Trump and not Hillary Clinton to lead them in 2016.
By the way, with respect to Biden’s claim that “manufacturing went into a hole” before the pandemic hit, it’s simply untrue. When Obama/Biden left office there were 192,000 fewer manufacturing jobs than when they took office eight years earlier.
Over the next three years, and just before the pandemic hit, the economy under President Trump added 483,000 manufacturing jobs. As Biden would say, c’mon man, that doesn’t sound like a hole.
Biden knows this. That’s why he’s chosen to run not as himself, but as a pale imitation of Donald Trump circa 2016. Unfortunately for him, the president also knows this and is not afraid to call Biden out on it.
“China ate your lunch, Joe,” he fired back at the former vice president during the debate.
Even more unfortunate for Biden is that the people writing his platform were evidently unaware he was going to double back on his record and run as a Trumpist, because they drafted a 110-page socialist tract instead of something remotely resembling what Biden talked about on stage.
Whatever rhetoric he uses, Biden can’t escape the fact that the people he is going to put in control of the economy think they’re getting what’s in the manifesto: globalist trade policies, a repeal of the Trump tax cuts that helped create the greatest labor market in modern times (and probably ever), trillions in new spending on uneconomic “green” nonsense that will raise American workers’ energy bills and threaten oil and gas jobs, commissions on race-based reparations for slavery, and government mandates to build high-rise housing projects in suburban neighborhoods. That’s what is inside the Trojan horse of the Biden candidacy.
Luckily for the American people, there was a candidate on stage on Tuesday night who cared more about their jobs and the health of the American economy than the obsessions of the far-left and the interests of multinationals.
President Trump wasn’t shy about talking about what he’s already done for them over the last four years, touting some of the lowest unemployment rates in American history and “V-shaped” recovery that has already created more jobs, quicker than any three month period ever.
Andy Puzder was chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants for more than 16 years, following a career as an attorney. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. He was nominated by President Trump to serve as U.S. labor secretary. In 2018, Puzder authored "The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left's Plot to Stop It" (Center Street). His latest piece, a Broadside by Encounter Books titled, “Getting America Back to Work” was released on April 28, 2020.