White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted during a Tuesday briefing that the United States economy is “in a better place than it has been historically.”
Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy pressured Jean-Pierre on a recent poll from The Wall Street Journal, which shows that 83% of Americans believe the economy is “poor or not so good.” In response, Jean-Pierre doubled down on the narrative that the economy has improved since President Joe Biden assumed office.
“What I’m trying to say to you is that the economy is in a better place than it has been historically,” Jean-Pierre said. “And so, we feel, here at this administration and other experts as well… we feel that we are in a good position to take on inflation. We are in a good position to really start really working on lowering prices.”
Press Sec. Jean-Pierre: “What we’re trying to say is that the economy is in a better place than it has been historically.”pic.twitter.com/VI3vmVoYyi
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) June 7, 2022
However, the United States economy contracted at a 1.5% annualized rate during the first quarter of 2022, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which associates recessions with two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Meanwhile, gas prices have more than doubled since President Biden entered office, while inflation surged from 1.4% to 8.3% — a near four-decade high.
Several prominent American business leaders are now voicing their concerns about a looming recession, and many technology companies — including Microsoft and Tesla — have initiated pauses on hiring or announced layoffs.
Despite Jean-Pierre’s assertion that many experts are optimistic, several Democratic economists have pushed back against Biden’s handling of economic policy.
“Corporate power is playing likely a very small role in the inflation that we’re seeing right now,” Jason Furman, a Harvard professor and former chair of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, told Bloomberg last month. The economist was in essence rebuking Democratic claims that inflation is coming from greedy corporations price-gouging consumers.
Furman contended that the “primary solution has to come from the primary cause of inflation, which is demand is way too high” — a reality driven by fiscal stimulus from the Biden administration and monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
Even at the end of last year, Larry Summers — who served as Treasury Secretary under former President Bill Clinton and director of the National Economic Council under former President Barack Obama — sounded the alarm over soaring inflation.
“If I thought we could sustainably run the economy in a red-hot way, that would be a wonderful thing, but the consequence — and this is the excruciating lesson we learned in the 1970s — of an overheating economy is not merely elevated inflation, but constantly rising inflation,” Summers said. “That’s why my fear is that we are already reaching a point where it will be challenging to reduce inflation without giving rise to recession.”
Summers voiced concern over “secular stagnation” as a long-term threat to the United States.
“I’m really not sure what’s going to come after this current episode,” he said. “I’m certainly not confident that we’re going to have sustained excess demand for many years. The challenge is that we’ve pumped up aggregate demand now, and then who knows how we’re going to work our way through back to more levels of demand.”