The Pangloss Presidency

“When you look at the economy today, it’s clear that we’ve made enormous strides,” said Joe Biden on May 10. “Our plans and our policies have produced the strongest job creation economy in modern times. In addition, 8.3 million jobs in my first 15 months in office—a record. Unemployment rates are down to 3.6 percent—the fastest decline in unemployment to start a presidential term ever recorded.”

By Biden’s count, the 5.4 million new small businesses last year were 20 percent more than any other year on record. “And I see—and as I see it, everything—everything across the country is—as I go across the country, our economy has gone from being on the mend to on the move.” For more forward progress, jump ahead to Biden’s June 10 session. 

“I was raised in a household when the price of gasoline rose precipitously, it was the discussion at the table,” Biden told reporters, “It made a difference when food prices went up. But we’ve never seen anything like Putin’s tax on both food and gas.” According to Biden, “the job market is the strongest it’s been since World War II, notwithstanding the inflation. We added another 390,000 jobs last month; 8,700,000 new jobs since I took office. An all-time record. Never that many jobs in that period of time,” and the transcript notes the “applause,” from the gallery before Biden continued. 

“Unemployment rate is near historic lows. Millions of Americans are moving up to better jobs and better pay. And since I took office, families are carrying less debt on average in America. They have more savings than they’ve had. And we’re doing it all while cutting the federal deficit by $1.7 trillion this year and $320 billion last,” as applause rings out again.

In reality, however, “consumer prices accelerated in May at the fastest rate since 1981, as Americans grapple with a surge in the cost of gas, food, and shelter.” According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was up 8.6 percent in May, an increase from the 8.3 percent in April. “Core” inflation, which strips out the costs of food and gas, rose six percent over the prior year, more than the expected 5.9 percent. 

Biden’s boasts on the deficit, as John Stossel explains, are “utterly deceitful.” According to experts consulted by CNN, under Biden, the deficits will be higher, and the national debt will increase by about $1 trillion. Yet Biden talks up “enormous strides” and announces “everything across the country” is on the move. If this contradiction leaves embattled Americans puzzled, they can look to Voltaire for enlightenment. 

The eponymous Candide finds chaos and catastrophe on every hand, but his mentor, Dr. Pangloss, sees it as the best of all possible worlds. According to the good doctor, “It is impossible that things should be other than they are, for everything is right.” Like Candide, Americans are confused and bewildered. There’s something happening here, as the Buffalo Springfield said, and by now it’s exactly clear what it is. 

Back in 2008, the composite character Barack Obama vowed to fundamentally transform the United States of America. Joe Biden is fulfilling Obama’s promise. 

Biden is fundamentally transforming a nation of abundance into a place of scarcity and shortages. A nation known for stability is being fundamentally transformed into a nation of insecurity and fear. The Delaware Democrat is transforming America into a place where the president describes colossal failure as unalloyed success and expects the people to clap approval. 

“I’ve built a strong ec- —we’ve built a strong economy with a strong job market,” Biden claimed in May. “Look, you’ve heard me say it before: I’m a capitalist. I’m not out to punish anybody.” 

As Victor Davis Hanson explains in “The Subordinate Citizen,” Americans now endure skyrocketing inflation, unaffordable gasoline, out-of-control crime, and foreign-policy humiliations. Legitimate American citizens and legal immigrants are expected to follow the law as the Biden regime brings in millions of foreign nationals, with no COVID restrictions or background checks, and ships them around the country aboard secret flights to be settled in places the administration finds it useful to put them. 

Being treated more harshly by their own government than noncitizens and progressive elites might be described as a form of punishment. The subordinate citizens “are angry, and we will hear from them very soon,” doubtless a reference to November. That raises another reality now exactly clear. 

The composite character president fundamentally transformed the United States of America into a place where the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the intelligence community intervene in domestic politics on the side of one party. Those subordinate citizens might recall what Biden said in the days before the 2020 election. 

“We have put together the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics,” the Delaware Democrat proudly proclaimed. That extensive and inclusive organization may still be in place, but there’s something else happening here. 

As the recall of Weatherman-child Chesa Boudin in progressive San Francisco confirms, every election doesn’t go the way the Biden regime wants. As Donald Trump often likes to say, we’ll have to wait and see what happens. 

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images