And on the Seventh Day, Joe Biden Ruined…

It would seem we have another story like Genesis on our hands. Joe Biden has been President for just about seven days and, according to those stalwart supporters of the “good ‘ole days” when Mr. Trump was President, and everything was perfect—kind of like Eden before the snake arrived and stole the election—Mr. Biden has singlehandedly ruined the country.

IN JUST 7 DAYS.  (I gave him inauguration day off since it took time for him to get inside, find pens, and create these proclamations for disaster.) The last time something this dramatic took seven days…well, never mind.

This is a quote from one response to a Facebook post I made (“That sound was a collective sigh of relief echoing across the country…”) after the inauguration, but it reflects the tone of many.

 It would seem those who didn’t support Mr. Biden see a looming disaster that began January 20th, 2021, at 12:00 P.M. (unlike the previous exit from paradise, we know the exact time this apocalypse began.) According to these visionaries of the future, Mr. Biden has caused the following,

“…gas and heating oil are on the rise, the stock market is going down, not tanking, but going down.
  Women’s sports will now be dominated by men, taxes are on the rise, China can now control our power grid if they feel like it, for Joey gave the access, the cost for a family to purchase an EpiPen for their child will now double thanks to Biden’s EO so that Senator Manchin’s (D- W. Virginia) daughter can go back to scalping those that need it.  Add insulin to that equation, I don’t know who benefits from that, and there are others, but I think we’ve done enough sighing in relief for now…”

Facebook reponses

These are statements lacking context, supporting evidence, or any actual proof, just conjecture, opposition talking points, or expectations based on innate disagreement with anything in opposition to their position.

 I have no idea what the future holds, although I am more optimistic about it, but I thought I’d address each item as best I could and see if there was any truth to the assumptions.

Gas and heating oil are on the rise

February 17, 2020 the retail average price of gas was $2.518/gallon
(at the cusp of the pandemic)
April 27, 2020 the retail average price of gas was $1.87/gallon
(Low point for the year)
January 25, 2021 the retail average price of gas was $2.478/gallon

Using the same benchmark (adjusted for seasonal changes) for oil,

February 17, 2020 $2.899/gallon, March 30 $2,41/gallon, January
25, 2021 $2.575/gallon
(https://ycharts.com/indicators/us_residential_heating_oil_price
and https://ycharts.com/indicators/us_gas_price)

So this contention is correct, gas and oil prices (adjusted for seasonal use) have been rising since Spring 2020 (pre-Biden) which means little. There is a glut on the market because of falling demand related to the pandemic, production by OPEC countries is in flux, uncertainty in the Gulf creates price variations.

In other words, it ain’t that simple.

It remains to be seen what effect Mr. Biden’s Executive Orders regarding oil and gas leases on Federal Land and offshore will have on the economy. I would argue the overall risk to the environment outweighs the negative economic costs. Existing markets will adapt, or new ones arise.

In an interesting development, General Motors announced they would eliminate gas powered automobiles from the production line by 2035 and all their vehicles would be carbon neutral by 2040. Nothing says America like Baseball, Hotdogs, Apple Pie, and Green-energy Chevrolet.

Economics 101 says gains will mitigate losses. Mr. Trump once touted the return of the coal industry as a gem of his economic plan. But the realities of the market mitigated any huge growth. It wouldn’t work because it couldn’t work economically. (https://ycharts.com/indicators/us_coal_production)

Stock market is going down, not tanking, but going down

So if we look at the chart below, the market has been trending up—Gasp! Say it ain’t so—since 2009 under President Obama and Vice President Biden when they came into office after the crash of 2008. This trend continued under Mr. Trump.

It is a bit premature to write the obituary on the economy and I would caution, as I often have, that much of what happens in the market does so despite any actions by the President not because of them.

Dow Jones Industrial Average – Historical
Annual Data
YearAverage
Closing Price
Year OpenYear HighYear LowYear CloseAnnual
% Change
202130,867.9530,223.8931,188.3830,223.8930,603.36-0.01%
202026,890.6728,868.8030,606.4818,591.9330,606.487.25%
201926,379.5523,346.2428,645.2622,686.2228,538.4422.34%
201825,046.8624,824.0126,828.3921,792.2023,327.46-5.63%
201721,750.2019,881.7624,837.5119,732.4024,719.2225.08%
201617,927.1117,148.9419,974.6215,660.1819,762.6013.42%
201517,587.0317,832.9918,312.3915,666.4417,425.03-2.23%
201416,777.6916,441.3518,053.7115,372.8017,823.077.52%
201315,009.5213,412.5516,576.6613,328.8516,576.6626.50%
201212,966.4412,397.3813,610.1512,101.4613,104.147.26%
201111,957.5711,670.7512,810.5410,655.3012,217.565.53%
201010,668.5810,583.9611,585.389,686.4811,577.5111.02%
20098,885.659,034.6910,548.516,547.0510,428.0518.82%
200811,244.0613,043.9613,058.207,552.298,776.39-33.84%
 
https://www.macrotrends.net/1358/dow-jones-industrial-average-last-10-years
 

Women’s sports will now be dominated by men

This one threw me. If this somehow relates to transgender issues it is complete nonsense. Here’s something I wrote in an earlier piece. (https://joebroadmeadowblog.com/2021/01/26/your-bias-is-showing/)

“What I came to learn is transgender is a more colloquial term for a wide-ranging variety of conditions. One specific condition, which it would seem is the heart of such protective actions, and the foundation for a Supreme Court case which I will mention shortly, is Gender Dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria is the feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur in people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical
characteristics.

Transgender and gender-nonconforming people might experience gender dysphoria at some point in their lives. But not everyone is affected. Some transgender and gender-nonconforming people feel at ease with their bodies, either with or without medical intervention.

Gender dysphoria is a diagnosis listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5); a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association to diagnose mental
conditions. This term is intended to be more descriptive than the one that was previously used, gender identity disorder. The term gender dysphoria focuses on one’s discomfort as the problem, rather than identity. A diagnosis for gender dysphoria was created to help people get access to necessary health care and effective treatment.” (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gender-dysphoria/symptoms-causes/syc-20475255#:)”

I am fairly certain we won’t see the next Lebron James in a dress heading into a WNBA locker room or a women’s soccer team needing a shave any time soon.

Taxes are on the rise

Taxes for some segment of the population may increase. Mr. Trump’s tax cuts have done little to stimulate the economy, allowed the wealthy and companies to buy back stocks and increase the share prices (which of course positively affects the stock market though not equitably), and increased the national debt.

Compounded by the pandemic—something not caused by Mr. Trump, but I would argue so poorly handled that the problem was amplified—and the need for the economic stimulus bills, revenue has to come from somewhere and a revision of the Tax code may be necessary.

China can now control our power grid if they feel like it, for Joey gave them access

A bold, daring, apocalyptic, and factually inaccurate description of what Biden’s Executive Order does. The order does impact Mr. Trump’ earlier executive order entitled, Executive Order 13920 of May 1, 2020 Securing the United States Bulk-Power System.  The superseding order suspends the prior order for 90 days. It doesn’t revoke it, but includes the following provision, 

“The Secretary of Energy and the Director of [Office of Management and Budget] shall jointly consider whether to recommend that a replacement order be issued.”
Biden’s order https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-25/pdf/2021-01765.pdf
Trump’s Order https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-05-04/pdf/2020-09695.pdf

Prescription Drug Costs

“…the cost for a family to purchase an EpiPen for their child will now double thanks to Biden’s EO so that Senator Manchin’s (D- W. Virginia) daughter can go back to scalping those that need it. Add insulin to that
equation, I don’t know who benefits from that, and there are others…”

Facebook post response

Here is a link to the Executive Order which does no such thing as raise the price on anything. Instead, it freezes for review any such prior orders to insure they comply with the policies of the new administration and their goal of a reinstatement of the Affordable Care Act and improvement or adjustments to the program as part of their overall strategy. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/regulatory-freeze-pending-review/

You may think this will fail, but that’s different than contending it already has.

This leads us predictably to a discussion about why US drug prices are so much higher than other countries.

Key Findings: U.S. Drug Prices Significantly Higher than
All 11 Other Countries • The U.S. pays the most for drugs, though prices varied
widely. • U.S. drug prices were nearly four times higher than average prices
compared to similar countries. • U.S. consumers pay significantly
more for drugs than other countries, even when accounting for rebates. •
The U.S. could save $49 billion annually on Medicare Part D alone by using
average drug prices for comparator countries.
(House Document)

Once again, this is a complex topic and, it would seem, Republicans have been leading the charge in blocking any meaningful changes to address the issue. As usual, the devil lies in the details.

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he won’t hold a vote on a House-passed bill supported by Democrats that would require the federal government to negotiate lower prices for some
drugs covered by Medicare. 
He is also reluctant to hold a vote on a separate bipartisan bill, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa),
that would limit the price increases drug companies typically make every year.” https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/477604-drug-price-outrage-threatens-to-be-liability-for-gop

In the interest of full disclosure, the Democrats walked away from negotiations on the bi-partisan legislation for purely political reasons. They saw the Republican reluctance to address the issue as a political liability and election vulnerability they could exploit. Politics can be an ignoble endeavor, but it doesn’t alter the fact that Biden’s Executive Order didn’t cause the price of EpiPen or insulin to rise.
Rather, the EO seeks to consolidate their policy goals into crafting an effective universal health plan for all Americans and addressing price of prescription drugs.

Now before the usual attack on the source of this information ensues, a search of senate.gov. and house.gov and the Federal Register reveals no significant legislation affecting drug costs. Interestingly enough, one of the few Republicans pushing for such legislation was none other than former President Donald J. Trump.

So there you have it, my take on each of the “issues” raised by the comments about my post.  Challenge each point and I’ll be happy to post it to my blog for all to review and comment.

P.S. If this is perceived as being divisive, I apologize. My intent is to spur rational discussion not rabid reactions. (No, really, it is.)

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