President Joe Biden has already broken several of his key campaign promises, including $2,000 COVID stimulus checks, student loan debt forgiveness, and a $15 an hour minimum wage. These weren't just throwaway promises, either; they were central parts of his election pitch to voters. Even after his election, President-Elect Biden was making promises that President Biden had no intention of ever keeping.
As soon as House Democrats began to latch onto the idea of giving Americans each $2,000 stimulus checks as part of their new COVID-19 relief package in late December, Biden told a crowd in Georgia that if they would only vote for then-Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, they would get their $2,000.
"By electing Jon and the Reverend, you can make a difference in your own lives," Biden said. "The lives of the people across this country. Because their election will put an end to the block in Washington of the $2,000 stimulus checks that will go out the door immediately."
Only they didn't. Biden quickly abandoned the idea of a $2,000 check in favor of $1,400 in direct stimulus, which passed the House on Friday.
He similarly abandoned the idea that a vote for him would mean an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, telling a crowd of supporters in 2019 that "it is long past time we have a $15 federal minimum wage, long past time."
"I think it is important for the nation to raise a minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next several years," he said a few months later when a reporter asked him about the issue. "And there’s a number states now, there’s $15 minimum wage that’s phased in. And the arguments are going to cost jobs is not true."
Actually, it is. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office just determined last month that a $15 minimum wage would in fact cost 1.4 million jobs. This, however, is a moot point since the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that the minimum wage increase originally planned for Biden's COVID relief bill could not stay in without subjecting the measure to regular voting rules (meaning Republicans could filibuster it). The Biden Administration has not fought this ruling and has no plans to push any further for a $15 minimum wage.
Biden has also flatly ruled out a move to erase up to $50,000 of student loan debt per borrower. Even though he campaigned on the issue extensively, he has ruled out the idea of actually implementing it. So disingenuous was Biden that he actually chastised the Trump Administration for not including student debt forgiveness as part of the original COVID stimulus package back in March.
"We have to figure out what to do to help the folks this bill leaves out, including young people," Biden said. "This bill doesn’t include student loan forgiveness, which would go a long way to provide an immediate relief for those who need it the most. I support forgiving at least $10,000 in student loan debt per person now."
Even after he won the presidency, Biden was pushing for student loan debt cancellation.
"Does student loan forgiveness figure in your plan and would you take executive action to achieve it?" a CNN reporter asked him in mid-November.
"It does figure in my plan," responded Biden. "I’ve laid out in detail, for example, the legislation passed by Democratic House calls for an immediate $10,000 forgiveness of student loans. It’s holding people up. They’re in real trouble. They’re having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying the rent, those kinds of decisions. It should be done immediately."
It wasn't. And it won't be. Biden said so himself during a CNN town hall in Milwaukee last month.
"We need student loan forgiveness beyond the potential $10,000 your administration has a proposed," a supporter told him during the event. "We need at least a $50,000 minimum. What will you do to make that happen?"
"I will not make that happen," Biden answered plainly (and somewhat harshly).
The new President has similarly flip-flopped on energy policy, repeatedly assuring nervous voters that he would not cancel the Keystone XL pipeline, which delivers oil from Canada all the way to America's Gulf Coast.
"I’ve been against Keystone from the beginning," Biden said in a rambling interview on CNBC in May during which he promised not to kill it immediately after taking office. "Number one. I’m not going to go shut down, for example, you know, they talk about all these other programs. The other programs exist, we’re going to transition gradually to get to a clean economy. But the idea of shutting down Keystone, as if that is the thing that keeps the oil industry moving, is just not rational. That’s and by the way, it is not economically nor in my view environmentally make any sense."
On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order killing the Keystone XL project.
On the campaign trail, Biden similarly promised that he would not ban oil fracking. He said so repeatedly.
Once again, on his first day in office, he signed an executive order banning new oil and gas leases on federal land, which is likely the greatest extent to which he legally could ban fracking via executive order.
Biden also spoke out routinely against the Trump Administration's 2018 decision to "put kids in cages"--more accurately, to hold unaccompanied minors at the border in secure detention facilities so that they would be well cared for and not simply returned unaccompanied to their countries of origin. The Obama Administration did the same thing, of course, but Biden (who was Vice President then) denied it during a 2019 debate.
"What Latinos should look at, comparing this president to the president we have is outrageous, number one. We didn’t lock people up in cages," he said.
"You don't have to keep kids in a cage," Biden added during a campaign appearance later that year. "There should be no justification for separating a parent from a child. By the way, I'm not trying to appeal to your emotions. Practically speaking, you don't need to do it."
Within a month of assuming the presidency, however, Biden had begun using migrant detention facilities for children. In other words, he was most definitely reopening the cages.
All of these lies, though, pale in comparison to the central focus of Biden's campaign; namely, that President Trump didn't have a plan to stop the spread of COVID0-19 and he did. Moreover, he would implement that plan onn the very first day he was in office.
"After all this time, the President still doesn't have a plan," Biden said in August. "Well I do. If I'm your president, on Day 1, we'll implement the national strategy I've been laying out since March."
He tweeted about this plan endlessly.
Days before he took office, Biden promised that once he did, his plan would "change the course of the pandemic."
Literally a week later, though, once he was in office, Biden admitted that "there's nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months." The operative question this raises is, "Why then did anyone vote for Biden in the first place?"