WASHINGTON, D.C. – Former Vice President Joe Biden said in a CNBC interview that an economic recovery from the coronavirus lockdown looks “a long way away”. He also seemed to condemned President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis, blaming him for lost lives and economic ruin, but for having a hard time finishing his own thoughts.
In the interview on “Squawk Box”, the apparent Democratic presidential nominee criticized the 2017 Republican tax cuts and questioned how “the US could use the lost revenue as it tries to lift a devastated economy”.
“Imagine if we had that $2 trillion now as we go into, God willing, a recovery which is a long way away as I see it right now,” Biden told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin.
While it is true that more than 38 million people have filed jobless claims since states started widespread lockdowns, and GDP is expected to go into freefall in the second quarter, Trump could hardly be blamed for the current situation.
Before the lockdown, the US economy was doing quite well, with record-low unemployment and stable economic growth. One of the main reasons for the low unemployment was Trump’s tax cuts. Biden’s claims that the government would’ve had an additional $2 trillion can only mean that the American people would’ve had $2 trillion less, which certainly wouldn’t have made the situation any better.
He spoke during an unprecedented presidential election where the lockdown and the resulting economic collapse have overshadowed any other issue. The virus has forced both major party candidates to stop in-person events for more than two months.
“His slowness is costing lives and costing jobs and costing our ability to rebound,” the former vice president said on Friday, adding that he would make a coronavirus vaccine free for everyone in the United States.
Biden’s remarks are clearly political rather than realistic. Nobody could’ve predicted the current situation and anyone else would’ve reacted the same.
In a statement responding to Biden’s remarks, White House Spokesman Judd Deere stated, “Trump has provided state and local leaders with data-driven guidelines to reopen their communities in safe, responsible ways, helped states ramp up their testing capabilities, and surged critical [personal protective equipment] and other supplies where they are needed.”
He also added that the president has taken steps to “ensure we emerge stronger than ever before”.
Still, Biden continued condemnation of the president and his party without saying what would have been the alternative.
In detailing the economic policies he would implement if he won the White House, Biden said he would “repeal the $2 trillion tax cut for folks making over a million bucks a year” and “hike the corporate tax rate to 28% even during a recovery period”. He added that as the US moves closer to rebounding from the crisis, he “wants to push for an infrastructure overhaul and other job-creating measures”.
Still, none of the measures Joe Biden mentioned were implemented when he was in power during Obama’s presidency when he served as Obama’s vice president. Among his lockdown response plans, Biden has called for “short-time compensation” (which already happened under Trump), under which “companies would keep workers, but reduce hours, while the government would pay for the difference in wages”.
However, the measures Joe Biden says he would’ve imposed would’ve been impossible to implement since lockdown measures excluded even reduced working hours, as businesses were instructed to shut down completely in order to impose nationwide social distancing measures.