A Biden administration economic adviser argued that passing the President’s $1.75 trillion social spending bill would help to combat the effects of inflation.
Brian Deese — who directs the National Economic Council — told ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that pending “Build Back Better” legislation would address the effects of higher prices on Americans’ pocketbooks.
“That concern actually underscores why it’s so important to move forward on the Build Back Better bill that Congress is considering,” Deese said about inflationary worries faced by consumers. “This bill is actually going to address the core costs that American families are facing in child care, in housing, in health care.”
“I know you’re hoping to pass it, but even if it does pass, it’s going to take a while for the benefits to kick in. So what can Americans expect in the short term? Is inflation going to get worse before it gets better?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“We have to finish the job on COVID. We know that the more that people feel comfortable getting out into the economy, going to movies rather than buying television at home, working in the workplace, the more we can return a sense of normalcy to our economy,” Deese replied, also citing the passage of $1 trillion infrastructure legislation.
“It’s the first time that a president is actually delivering on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, and while a number of those pieces will be longer term, there are things that will go into effect right away to try to get money out to help. For example, upgrade our ports, upgrade our airports, upgrade our roads.”
In another Sunday interview with CNN anchor Jake Tapper, Deese flatly denied that the administration had underestimated the risk of rising price levels.
“Do you think that you and the president were wrong and inflation is not a short-term, pop up a little bit and then go back down issue?” Tapper asked. Deese responded: “No, I don’t think so, Jake.”
“I think what we have said consistently is that the pandemic and the economy are interlinked, and certainly we saw just as the Delta variant posed real health challenges to the economy, it also had economic impacts,” he explained.
Deese joins other White House officials in arguing that spending bills would help to address high price levels — which are now rising at a 6.2% pace for consumers.
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki remarked: “Economists across the board also agree that the president’s economic agenda — the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that he will sign on Monday and the Build Back Better Bill that we’re working to move forward — will not add to inflationary … pressure, and will ease inflationary pressure over the long term.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen likewise advocated for the spending agenda during an interview with Marketplace: “Well, I think the economy needs it, and the people need it. … It is really intended to address long-standing problems that have been holding this economy back.”
“You say this is not a short-run stimulus program. And I wonder if that’s the basis for your belief that this will not be inflationary in this economy?” asked host Kai Ryssdal. “Because as you know, inflation is a big deal right now.”
“Well, inflation has been running at higher levels than we’ve been accustomed to seeing for a long time. And I know that really imposes a burden on households,” Yellen replied before asserting that inflation is “a consequence of recovery from a very severe shock due to the pandemic and something that will work itself out over time.”