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We Are Not On The 1970s Inflation Rollercoaster – Part Four

We wrote this four-part inflation series in response to the graph below, implying that prices are on the same inflation roller coaster ride as the 1970s.




We wrote this four-part inflation series in response to the graph below, implying that prices are on the same inflation roller coaster ride as the 1970s.

the apollo inflation roller coaster

If you have read the first three parts of this series (ONE, TWO, and THREE), you have a better appreciation for some similarities and differences between inflation of the last few years and that of the 1970s. With that wisdom, we share our opinion.

Desert Before Dinner

We always conclude articles with a summary. Given the gravity of inflation on investment returns, we think it is worth starting with our opinion and then providing details to support it.

We strongly believe the recent inflation outbreak was overwhelmingly the result of the pandemic and the governmental, Fed, corporate, and personal reactions to it. The virus and its economic effects were felt around the world, making matters even more impactful,

Unprecedented fiscal and monetary actions amplified the demand for goods and services well beyond norms. At the same time, the production of many goods was severely limited, and transportation lines were broken. Consequently, the supply of most goods and many services was severely constrained, and at the same time, demand was recovering rapidly.

Given such unique events, and barring an unforeseen calamity like the pandemic, another inflation surge is not likely.

The multiple bouts of inflation in the 1970s were not the result of one exceptional incident but many bad decisions. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve and government repeatedly, and unbeknownst to them, employed policies that increased prices for fifteen years. The Fed has learned many lessons since then, which instills confidence in our opinion. However, the government has little regard for them, which does pose a threat to our opinion.  

As the pandemic-related stimulus slowly but surely exits the financial system and the economy and the supply lines fully heal, inflation will continue to fall back to or below the pre-pandemic average.

That said, the odds of another round of higher inflation are not zero, as we will elaborate.

That 70s Show

Before we start, it is worth reviewing a few snippets from That 70s Show, an article we wrote last December. The article discusses the economic environment of the 1970s and how it differs from today’s.

The first quote and graphs below show how the debt burden has changed over the last fifty years.

While the Fed is currently engaged “in the fight of its life,” trying to quell inflation, The economic differences are vastly different today. Due to the heavy debt burden, the economy requires lower interest rates to sustain even meager economic growth rates of 2%. Such levels were historically seen as “pre-recessionary,” but today, they are something economists hope to maintain.

that 1970s show

Next, the mix of what the nation produces and consumes has reversed.

Such is a critical point. During “That 70s Show,” the economy was primarily manufacturing-based, providing a high multiplier effect on economic growth. Today, the mix has reversed, with services making up the bulk of economic activity. While services are essential, they have a very low multiplier effect on economic activity.

The Federal Reserve Has Learned From The 1970s

The Fed has often admitted it played a significant role in generating multiple waves of inflation in the 1970s. At the time, low unemployment was the primary goal. Such was a lingering relic from the Great Depression. Higher inflation in the name of lower unemployment was acceptable.

Furthermore, the Fed did not appreciate the potential for a price-wage spiral or changes in consumption patterns due to inflation and how they could affect employment.

The Fed’s tragic errors from the 1970s appear to haunt them today and provide instructive guidance.

Consumer Behaviors and Price-Wage Spirals

In August 2021, Jerome Powell stressed evidence that consumer behaviors change with inflation. Per Powell:

The 1970s saw two periods in which there were large increases in energy and food prices, raising headline inflation for a time. But when the direct effects on headline inflation eased, core inflation continued to run persistently higher than before. One likely contributing factor was that the public had come to generally expect higher inflation—one reason why we now monitor inflation expectations so carefully.

In February 2023, Powell made the following statement, assuring the public that the Fed was aware of the potential for a price wage spiral.

“If we continue to get, for example, strong labor market reports or higher and higher inflation reports, it may well be the case that we have to do more and raise hikes more than is priced in,”

Money Supply > Fed Funds

Even of greater significance, the Fed now realizes that the money supply is a crucial inflation component. However, equally important is money velocity, or the rate at which money is spent. The combination creates inflation or deflation.

The Fed is to fault for inflation. They allowed the money supply to proliferate as they kept doing QE and targeting a zero Fed Funds rate despite the velocity of money rebounding rapidly. The graph below shows how the money supply quickly grew while velocity accelerated and inflation ensued.

net change in m2 and velocity versus cpi

However, starting in 2022, the Fed turned extremely hawkish. Not only did they raise the Fed Funds rate to over 5% in two years, but they initiated QT. The result of their actions was not only to slow the growth of the money supply but also to cause it to contract.

The graph below lines up the money supply from 1966 to 1982 with our recent period. In the 1970s, the Fed never allowed the money supply to shrink. They were singularly focused on the Fed Funds rate. The lesson learned from that day was that managing the money supply is a much more impactful tool on prices and economic activity than adjusting the Fed Funds rate. The last time the money supply contracted, as it is now, was during the Great Depression and World War 2.

m2 vs the 1970s

The Fed and Jerome Powell were willing to endure a recession and higher unemployment to bring inflation back to its target. CBS News titled an article, “The Fed Plans To Sharply Boost Unemployment.” In it, Powell is quoted regarding unemployment: “I wish there were a painless way to do that,” Powell said. “There isn’t.” 

Fed President Susan Collins offered, “I do anticipate that accomplishing price stability will require slower employment growth and a somewhat higher unemployment rate.”

However, The Government Seems To Beg For More Inflation

Unlike the Fed, the federal government did not learn its lessons from the 1970s. After the economy was well on its way to recovery, their reckless spending pushed the money supply higher than it would have been and created a tailwind for inflation. Recent deficits are well below those witnessed in 2020 and 2021 but are abnormally large, given such a robust economy.

In the fiscal year 2023, the federal deficit was 5.7 percent of GDP. This year, the CBO estimates it will increase to 6.8 percent of GDP. The graph below shows the only other times the deficit, as a percentage of GDP, has been higher than today was during World War 1 and 2, the 2008 financial crisis, and a few years ago during the height of the pandemic. Those were emergencies.

federal deficit as a percentage of GDP

Supply Side Factors

One of the significant factors behind recent inflation was the unprecedented global shuttering of the economy. The limited supply of goods and handicapped transportation systems grossly restricted the amount of goods on the market.

While production problems still exist, they have primarily normalized. In the 1970s, the government unknowingly incentivized goods shortages via wage and price control measures. Lacking the ability to raise prices to reflect the increasing costs of their inputs, some companies had no choice but to limit or halt production and curtail supply. Today, the government is not taking action to stop or restrict the production or transportation of goods.

The gross distortions to the supply side of the inflation equation were solely related to the pandemic and should not be forecasted to return in such an impactful way.

Everything Else

We now run through a litany of other contributors to inflation.

Oil Shock

Our dependency on foreign oil has declined substantially, as shown below. Before 2008, the U.S. depended on imports for about half of its oil needs. Since the abundance of shale oil, we have become energy-independent.

While the situations in the Middle East and Russia may escalate, an embargo like that of fifty years will be much less damaging. However, short term price spurts can happen as oil prices are based on global factors.

oil production and consumption trends

The Unions Lose Power

Throughout 2022, Jerome Powell incessantly fretted about the potential for a price wage spiral. Recent union negotiations with the automakers, Hollywood writers and actors, FedEx, and other companies fueled concerns of a price wage spiral.

Regarding the potential for a price wage spiral, we must consider that in the 1970s, unions carried much more bargaining power, and one out of every five workers was a union member. The graph below from Bloomberg shows that union membership has consistently decreased since. It now stands at only 10% of workers, limiting the potential for unions to drive wages higher for the entire workforce.

union membership

Further new technologies, off-shoring jobs, and the ability to hire remote workers are also helping keep a lid on wages.  

Economic Landscape

Today’s economic landscape, including debt load, demographics, and productivity growth, differs from the 1970s. The Fed projects the nation’s long-term economic growth rate at 1.85%. Such lines up with slowing productivity growth, as shown below.

total factor productivty

From 1960 to 1985, real GDP averaged 3.7%, more than double the current trend growth. In the 1970s, the population grew by over 1% annually. Today, that number is half a percent and is expected to decline steadily.

Also, of incredible importance, debt was not a considerable headwind to growth 50 years ago. Since then, debt has grown four times faster than GDP, as shown below. Given our heavy dependence on debt and, therefore, low-interest rates, the economy’s ability to tolerate higher inflation is much less than in the ’70s.

unproductive debt vs gdp

Fiscal dominance, whereby the Fed must set monetary policy to keep the government solvent, is now necessary. Given the economic and demographic trends noted above and the ever-increasing debt, it’s hard to imagine that the Fed will tolerate above-trend inflation or higher interest rates for sustained periods.

Fiscally fueled demand has been a crucial driver of inflation over the past few years. However, if demand factors, as noted above, resume pre-pandemic trends, GDP will slow, and significant demand-driven price increases are not likely.

Lastly, the government has a negative debt multiplier. Each dollar of debt eventually takes away from economic growth. As recent deficit spending turns from stimulus to headwinds, economic growth will continue to trend lower. With it, inflation will follow.

What Might Change Our Opinion?

The Treasury and Fed introduced a new recession-fighting playbook in 2020. The combination of direct checks and benefits to the public alongside grossly easy monetary policy played a significant role in fueling inflation.

If that playbook becomes the rule and not an exception, we could see periods of higher than trend inflation. But even with such a fiscal reply to a recession, supply line problems will not be the problem they were a few years ago. Given the unlikelihood that the global economy will shut down again, higher inflation due to fiscal and monetary negligence is possible, but not at the levels we witnessed in 2021 and 2022.


At its core, inflation is too much money chasing too few goods. That was the case in 2020 through 2022. This is not the case anymore.

The 2020s aren’t the 1970s by any stretch of the imagination! While the lead graph from Apollo may show recent inflation trends align well with those of the 1970s, we think it is grossly misleading.

The post We Are Not On The 1970s Inflation Rollercoaster – Part Four appeared first on RIA.

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President Biden Delivers The “Darkest, Most Un-American Speech Given By A President”

President Biden Delivers The "Darkest, Most Un-American Speech Given By A President"

Having successfully raged, ranted, lied, and yelled through…



President Biden Delivers The "Darkest, Most Un-American Speech Given By A President"

Having successfully raged, ranted, lied, and yelled through the State of The Union, President Biden can go back to his crypt now.

Whatever 'they' gave Biden, every American man, woman, and the other should be allowed to take it - though it seems the cocktail brings out 'dark Brandon'?

Tl;dw: Biden's Speech tonight ...

  • Fund Ukraine.

  • Trump is threat to democracy and America itself.

  • Abortion is good.

  • American Economy is stronger than ever.

  • Inflation wasn't Biden's fault.

  • Illegals are Americans too.

  • Republicans are responsible for the border crisis.

  • Trump is bad.

  • Biden stands with trans-children.

  • J6 was the worst insurrection since the Civil War.

(h/t @TCDMS99)

Tucker Carlson's response sums it all up perfectly:

"that was possibly the darkest, most un-American speech given by an American president. It wasn't a speech, it was a rant..."

Carlson continued: "The true measure of a nation's greatness lies within its capacity to control borders, yet Bid refuses to do it."

"In a fair election, Joe Biden cannot win"

And concluded:

“There was not a meaningful word for the entire duration about the things that actually matter to people who live here.”

Victor Davis Hanson added some excellent color, but this was probably the best line on Biden:

"he doesn't care... he lives in an alternative reality."

*  *  *

Watch SOTU Live here...

*   *   *

Mises' Connor O'Keeffe, warns: "Be on the Lookout for These Lies in Biden's State of the Union Address." 

On Thursday evening, President Joe Biden is set to give his third State of the Union address. The political press has been buzzing with speculation over what the president will say. That speculation, however, is focused more on how Biden will perform, and which issues he will prioritize. Much of the speech is expected to be familiar.

The story Biden will tell about what he has done as president and where the country finds itself as a result will be the same dishonest story he's been telling since at least the summer.

He'll cite government statistics to say the economy is growing, unemployment is low, and inflation is down.

Something that has been frustrating Biden, his team, and his allies in the media is that the American people do not feel as economically well off as the official data says they are. Despite what the White House and establishment-friendly journalists say, the problem lies with the data, not the American people's ability to perceive their own well-being.

As I wrote back in January, the reason for the discrepancy is the lack of distinction made between private economic activity and government spending in the most frequently cited economic indicators. There is an important difference between the two:

  • Government, unlike any other entity in the economy, can simply take money and resources from others to spend on things and hire people. Whether or not the spending brings people value is irrelevant

  • It's the private sector that's responsible for producing goods and services that actually meet people's needs and wants. So, the private components of the economy have the most significant effect on people's economic well-being.

Recently, government spending and hiring has accounted for a larger than normal share of both economic activity and employment. This means the government is propping up these traditional measures, making the economy appear better than it actually is. Also, many of the jobs Biden and his allies take credit for creating will quickly go away once it becomes clear that consumers don't actually want whatever the government encouraged these companies to produce.

On top of all that, the administration is dealing with the consequences of their chosen inflation rhetoric.

Since its peak in the summer of 2022, the president's team has talked about inflation "coming back down," which can easily give the impression that it's prices that will eventually come back down.

But that's not what that phrase means. It would be more honest to say that price increases are slowing down.

Americans are finally waking up to the fact that the cost of living will not return to prepandemic levels, and they're not happy about it.

The president has made some clumsy attempts at damage control, such as a Super Bowl Sunday video attacking food companies for "shrinkflation"—selling smaller portions at the same price instead of simply raising prices.

In his speech Thursday, Biden is expected to play up his desire to crack down on the "corporate greed" he's blaming for high prices.

In the name of "bringing down costs for Americans," the administration wants to implement targeted price ceilings - something anyone who has taken even a single economics class could tell you does more harm than good. Biden would never place the blame for the dramatic price increases we've experienced during his term where it actually belongs—on all the government spending that he and President Donald Trump oversaw during the pandemic, funded by the creation of $6 trillion out of thin air - because that kind of spending is precisely what he hopes to kick back up in a second term.

If reelected, the president wants to "revive" parts of his so-called Build Back Better agenda, which he tried and failed to pass in his first year. That would bring a significant expansion of domestic spending. And Biden remains committed to the idea that Americans must be forced to continue funding the war in Ukraine. That's another topic Biden is expected to highlight in the State of the Union, likely accompanied by the lie that Ukraine spending is good for the American economy. It isn't.

It's not possible to predict all the ways President Biden will exaggerate, mislead, and outright lie in his speech on Thursday. But we can be sure of two things. The "state of the Union" is not as strong as Biden will say it is. And his policy ambitions risk making it much worse.

*  *  *

The American people will be tuning in on their smartphones, laptops, and televisions on Thursday evening to see if 'sloppy joe' 81-year-old President Joe Biden can coherently put together more than two sentences (even with a teleprompter) as he gives his third State of the Union in front of a divided Congress. 

President Biden will speak on various topics to convince voters why he shouldn't be sent to a retirement home.

According to CNN sources, here are some of the topics Biden will discuss tonight:

  • Economic issues: Biden and his team have been drafting a speech heavy on economic populism, aides said, with calls for higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy – an attempt to draw a sharp contrast with Republicans and their likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

  • Health care expenses: Biden will also push for lowering health care costs and discuss his efforts to go after drug manufacturers to lower the cost of prescription medications — all issues his advisers believe can help buoy what have been sagging economic approval ratings.

  • Israel's war with Hamas: Also looming large over Biden's primetime address is the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, which has consumed much of the president's time and attention over the past few months. The president's top national security advisers have been working around the clock to try to finalize a ceasefire-hostages release deal by Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that begins next week.

  • An argument for reelection: Aides view Thursday's speech as a critical opportunity for the president to tout his accomplishments in office and lay out his plans for another four years in the nation's top job. Even though viewership has declined over the years, the yearly speech reliably draws tens of millions of households.

Sources provided more color on Biden's SOTU address: 

The speech is expected to be heavy on economic populism. The president will talk about raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy. He'll highlight efforts to cut costs for the American people, including pushing Congress to help make prescription drugs more affordable.

Biden will talk about the need to preserve democracy and freedom, a cornerstone of his re-election bid. That includes protecting and bolstering reproductive rights, an issue Democrats believe will energize voters in November. Biden is also expected to promote his unity agenda, a key feature of each of his addresses to Congress while in office.

Biden is also expected to give remarks on border security while the invasion of illegals has become one of the most heated topics among American voters. A majority of voters are frustrated with radical progressives in the White House facilitating the illegal migrant invasion. 

It is probable that the president will attribute the failure of the Senate border bill to the Republicans, a claim many voters view as unfounded. This is because the White House has the option to issue an executive order to restore border security, yet opts not to do so

Maybe this is why? 

While Biden addresses the nation, the Biden administration will be armed with a social media team to pump propaganda to at least 100 million Americans. 

"The White House hosted about 70 creators, digital publishers, and influencers across three separate events" on Wednesday and Thursday, a White House official told CNN. 

Not a very capable social media team... 

The administration's move to ramp up social media operations comes as users on X are mostly free from government censorship with Elon Musk at the helm. This infuriates Democrats, who can no longer censor their political enemies on X. 

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers tell Axios that the president's SOTU performance will be critical as he tries to dispel voter concerns about his elderly age. The address reached as many as 27 million people in 2023. 

"We are all nervous," said one House Democrat, citing concerns about the president's "ability to speak without blowing things."

The SOTU address comes as Biden's polling data is in the dumps

BetOnline has created several money-making opportunities for gamblers tonight, such as betting on what word Biden mentions the most. 

As well as...

We will update you when Tucker Carlson's live feed of SOTU is published. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2024 - 07:44

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What is intersectionality and why does it make feminism more effective?

The social categories that we belong to shape our understanding of the world in different ways.



Mary Long/Shutterstock

The way we talk about society and the people and structures in it is constantly changing. One term you may come across this International Women’s Day is “intersectionality”. And specifically, the concept of “intersectional feminism”.

Intersectionality refers to the fact that everyone is part of multiple social categories. These include gender, social class, sexuality, (dis)ability and racialisation (when people are divided into “racial” groups often based on skin colour or features).

These categories are not independent of each other, they intersect. This looks different for every person. For example, a black woman without a disability will have a different experience of society than a white woman without a disability – or a black woman with a disability.

An intersectional approach makes social policy more inclusive and just. Its value was evident in research during the pandemic, when it became clear that women from various groups, those who worked in caring jobs and who lived in crowded circumstances were much more likely to die from COVID.

A long-fought battle

American civil rights leader and scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw first introduced the term intersectionality in a 1989 paper. She argued that focusing on a single form of oppression (such as gender or race) perpetuated discrimination against black women, who are simultaneously subjected to both racism and sexism.

Crenshaw gave a name to ways of thinking and theorising that black and Latina feminists, as well as working-class and lesbian feminists, had argued for decades. The Combahee River Collective of black lesbians was groundbreaking in this work.

They called for strategic alliances with black men to oppose racism, white women to oppose sexism and lesbians to oppose homophobia. This was an example of how an intersectional understanding of identity and social power relations can create more opportunities for action.

These ideas have, through political struggle, come to be accepted in feminist thinking and women’s studies scholarship. An increasing number of feminists now use the term “intersectional feminism”.

The term has moved from academia to feminist activist and social justice circles and beyond in recent years. Its popularity and widespread use means it is subjected to much scrutiny and debate about how and when it should be employed. For example, some argue that it should always include attention to racism and racialisation.

Recognising more issues makes feminism more effective

In writing about intersectionality, Crenshaw argued that singular approaches to social categories made black women’s oppression invisible. Many black feminists have pointed out that white feminists frequently overlook how racial categories shape different women’s experiences.

One example is hair discrimination. It is only in the 2020s that many organisations in South Africa, the UK and US have recognised that it is discriminatory to regulate black women’s hairstyles in ways that render their natural hair unacceptable.

This is an intersectional approach. White women and most black men do not face the same discrimination and pressures to straighten their hair.

View from behind of a young, black woman speaking to female colleagues in an office
Intersectionality can lead to more inclusive organisations, activism and social movements.

“Abortion on demand” in the 1970s and 1980s in the UK and USA took no account of the fact that black women in these and many other countries needed to campaign against being given abortions against their will. The fight for reproductive justice does not look the same for all women.

Similarly, the experiences of working-class women have frequently been rendered invisible in white, middle class feminist campaigns and writings. Intersectionality means that these issues are recognised and fought for in an inclusive and more powerful way.

In the 35 years since Crenshaw coined the term, feminist scholars have analysed how women are positioned in society, for example, as black, working-class, lesbian or colonial subjects. Intersectionality reminds us that fruitful discussions about discrimination and justice must acknowledge how these different categories affect each other and their associated power relations.

This does not mean that research and policy cannot focus predominantly on one social category, such as race, gender or social class. But it does mean that we cannot, and should not, understand those categories in isolation of each other.

Ann Phoenix does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Biden defends immigration policy during State of the Union, blaming Republicans in Congress for refusing to act

A rising number of Americans say that immigration is the country’s biggest problem. Biden called for Congress to pass a bipartisan border and immigration…




President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address on March 7, 2024. Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

President Joe Biden delivered the annual State of the Union address on March 7, 2024, casting a wide net on a range of major themes – the economy, abortion rights, threats to democracy, the wars in Gaza and Ukraine – that are preoccupying many Americans heading into the November presidential election.

The president also addressed massive increases in immigration at the southern border and the political battle in Congress over how to manage it. “We can fight about the border, or we can fix it. I’m ready to fix it,” Biden said.

But while Biden stressed that he wants to overcome political division and take action on immigration and the border, he cautioned that he will not “demonize immigrants,” as he said his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, does.

“I will not separate families. I will not ban people from America because of their faith,” Biden said.

Biden’s speech comes as a rising number of American voters say that immigration is the country’s biggest problem.

Immigration law scholar Jean Lantz Reisz answers four questions about why immigration has become a top issue for Americans, and the limits of presidential power when it comes to immigration and border security.

President Joe Biden stands surrounded by people in formal clothing and smiles. One man holds a cell phone camera close up to his face.
President Joe Biden arrives to deliver the State of the Union address at the US Capitol on March 7, 2024. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

1. What is driving all of the attention and concern immigration is receiving?

The unprecedented number of undocumented migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border right now has drawn national concern to the U.S. immigration system and the president’s enforcement policies at the border.

Border security has always been part of the immigration debate about how to stop unlawful immigration.

But in this election, the immigration debate is also fueled by images of large groups of migrants crossing a river and crawling through barbed wire fences. There is also news of standoffs between Texas law enforcement and U.S. Border Patrol agents and cities like New York and Chicago struggling to handle the influx of arriving migrants.

Republicans blame Biden for not taking action on what they say is an “invasion” at the U.S. border. Democrats blame Republicans for refusing to pass laws that would give the president the power to stop the flow of migration at the border.

2. Are Biden’s immigration policies effective?

Confusion about immigration laws may be the reason people believe that Biden is not implementing effective policies at the border.

The U.S. passed a law in 1952 that gives any person arriving at the border or inside the U.S. the right to apply for asylum and the right to legally stay in the country, even if that person crossed the border illegally. That law has not changed.

Courts struck down many of former President Donald Trump’s policies that tried to limit immigration. Trump was able to lawfully deport migrants at the border without processing their asylum claims during the COVID-19 pandemic under a public health law called Title 42. Biden continued that policy until the legal justification for Title 42 – meaning the public health emergency – ended in 2023.

Republicans falsely attribute the surge in undocumented migration to the U.S. over the past three years to something they call Biden’s “open border” policy. There is no such policy.

Multiple factors are driving increased migration to the U.S.

More people are leaving dangerous or difficult situations in their countries, and some people have waited to migrate until after the COVID-19 pandemic ended. People who smuggle migrants are also spreading misinformation to migrants about the ability to enter and stay in the U.S.

Joe Biden wears a black blazer and a black hat as he stands next to a bald white man wearing a green uniform and a white truck that says 'Border Patrol' in green
President Joe Biden walks with Jason Owens, the chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, as he visits the U.S.-Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas, on Feb. 29, 2024. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

3. How much power does the president have over immigration?

The president’s power regarding immigration is limited to enforcing existing immigration laws. But the president has broad authority over how to enforce those laws.

For example, the president can place every single immigrant unlawfully present in the U.S. in deportation proceedings. Because there is not enough money or employees at federal agencies and courts to accomplish that, the president will usually choose to prioritize the deportation of certain immigrants, like those who have committed serious and violent crimes in the U.S.

The federal agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported more than 142,000 immigrants from October 2022 through September 2023, double the number of people it deported the previous fiscal year.

But under current law, the president does not have the power to summarily expel migrants who say they are afraid of returning to their country. The law requires the president to process their claims for asylum.

Biden’s ability to enforce immigration law also depends on a budget approved by Congress. Without congressional approval, the president cannot spend money to build a wall, increase immigration detention facilities’ capacity or send more Border Patrol agents to process undocumented migrants entering the country.

A large group of people are seen sitting and standing along a tall brown fence in an empty area of brown dirt.
Migrants arrive at the border between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to surrender to American Border Patrol agents on March 5, 2024. Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu via Getty Images

4. How could Biden address the current immigration problems in this country?

In early 2024, Republicans in the Senate refused to pass a bill – developed by a bipartisan team of legislators – that would have made it harder to get asylum and given Biden the power to stop taking asylum applications when migrant crossings reached a certain number.

During his speech, Biden called this bill the “toughest set of border security reforms we’ve ever seen in this country.”

That bill would have also provided more federal money to help immigration agencies and courts quickly review more asylum claims and expedite the asylum process, which remains backlogged with millions of cases, Biden said. Biden said the bipartisan deal would also hire 1,500 more border security agents and officers, as well as 4,300 more asylum officers.

Removing this backlog in immigration courts could mean that some undocumented migrants, who now might wait six to eight years for an asylum hearing, would instead only wait six weeks, Biden said. That means it would be “highly unlikely” migrants would pay a large amount to be smuggled into the country, only to be “kicked out quickly,” Biden said.

“My Republican friends, you owe it to the American people to get this bill done. We need to act,” Biden said.

Biden’s remarks calling for Congress to pass the bill drew jeers from some in the audience. Biden quickly responded, saying that it was a bipartisan effort: “What are you against?” he asked.

Biden is now considering using section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to get more control over immigration. This sweeping law allows the president to temporarily suspend or restrict the entry of all foreigners if their arrival is detrimental to the U.S.

This obscure law gained attention when Trump used it in January 2017 to implement a travel ban on foreigners from mainly Muslim countries. The Supreme Court upheld the travel ban in 2018.

Trump again also signed an executive order in April 2020 that blocked foreigners who were seeking lawful permanent residency from entering the country for 60 days, citing this same section of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Biden did not mention any possible use of section 212(f) during his State of the Union speech. If the president uses this, it would likely be challenged in court. It is not clear that 212(f) would apply to people already in the U.S., and it conflicts with existing asylum law that gives people within the U.S. the right to seek asylum.

Jean Lantz Reisz does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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