As anyone with a pulse and a debit card can attest, it is no secret that the American economy is heading down the tubes. Rather than making serious efforts to address inflation soaring to levels last seen in the wake of Jimmy Carter or prices at the pump remaining feverishly high, the Biden administration has launched a propaganda campaign meant to convince you that everything is dandy.
All signs point to the United States economy soon meeting the rule-of-thumb definition of a recession, since economic growth appears to have been negative in the first and second quarters of this year as consumer spending and business activity begin to decline. In particular, economists and members of the financial press are keeping their eyes peeled for a Bureau of Economic Analysis report expected to confirm that economic growth was negative in the second quarter — a development that would show that the economy has been dreary for a prolonged period of time.
To the average American consumer having trouble filling the grocery cart or the gas tank, a government report is certainly not necessary to convince them that economic waters are choppy. Yet the White House — apparently giving up on pounding President Joe Biden’s blue-collar roots to a public who mostly knows him as a career politician — attempted to make the discussion of the economy about technical definitions and data rather than the struggles impacting the vast majority of households.
“While some maintain that two consecutive quarters of falling real GDP constitute a recession, that is neither the official definition nor the way economists evaluate the state of the business cycle,” the White House said in a blog post late last week. “Instead, both official determinations of recessions and economists’ assessment of economic activity are based on a holistic look at the data — including the labor market, consumer and business spending, industrial production, and incomes.”
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the country that we are not in a “recession,” but rather a “period of transition in which growth is slowing.” Because in Biden’s America, even the economy transitions.
The desperate shot at redefining terms has shown that the White House has no more cards left to play. President Biden himself tried taking a victory lap after gas prices started to fall from their heights of more than $5.00 per gallon — even though prices were only $2.38 per gallon on the day he assumed office. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tried telling Americans that, in essence, their financial troubles are good for the environment, since “the more pain we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicles.”
As the White House struggles to put out the ever-growing economic dumpster fire, Democrats are likely to pay dearly at the ballot box in this year’s midterm elections. President Biden’s job approval fell to a new low of 38% earlier this month, with a slim 30% of Americans approving of his economic performance. On the issue of inflation, a mere 25% support his current efforts to battle the crisis, even as 75% identify price levels as the most important economic problem facing their families.
Perhaps a handful of Americans could appreciate haggling over the technical definition of a recession. But most members of the public are concerned only with making rent, keeping the lights on, and not feeling like they got sucker-punched every time they look at fuel or food receipts. Months before they go to the ballot box, Americans surely have no patience for economists pushing up their nerd glasses to inform them that the economy is “ackshually” fine.