White House economic advisor Cecilia Rouse claimed Tuesday that Americans were seeing record-breaking inflation levels because President Joe Biden had done such an effective job managing the coronavirus pandemic.
Rouse joined anchor Briana Keilar on CNN’s “New Day” to discuss the economy and the Biden administration’s plan to tackle inflation and bring prices down so that Americans could afford the items they need on a daily basis.
“Former Trump White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says America is already in a recession. Is it possible he’s correct?” Keilar asked.
“So I’m not sure where that comes from, so what we saw is coming out of 2021, that we had economic growth of about 5.5%,” Rouse pushed back, claiming that Biden had seen one of the strongest years of growth ever for a first year president — although she failed to mention the fact that, because of pandemic-related shutdowns, he had started behind.
“Typically economists date a recession as being at least two quarters of negative growth, and other factors, which we have not seen at all,” Rouse continued. “So we’re not expecting that we’re already in a recession. In fact, the guts and the bones of this economy remain strong. Yes there are head winds. Yes, there is uncertainty, which is why the president is so focused on trying to reduce costs and grow this economy by investing in people, in our physical infrastructure and building the kind of economy that will generate sustainable growth going forward.”
Keilar pressed again, asking whether people like Larry Summers or Senator Joe Manchin — who argued that large spending packages would drive inflation — had been right to be wary of such spending.
“I’m not sure what the right is. What we have here is an economy that is recovering from a pandemic. The downturn was caused by the pandemic. We had to basically power down our economy until we had the therapeutics and vaccinations and shots in the arms,” Rouse objected.
Keilar noted that most people could agree that some level of spending had been necessary to get people through the pandemic, but that a number of people like Manchin had warned that too much spending would make inflation worse. “Were they right?” she asked again.
“So we — what we have seen is that all advanced countries are trying to address inflation and they have, you know, historic levels of inflation,” Rouse replied. “That has been the consequence of mounting an effective response to the pandemic. Because while we supported households and businesses, got shots into arms, which allowed people to start to come out of their homes and regain their lives, our supply chains could not support that demand. This is … we’re not alone. All advanced countries are addressing with this. This is a consequence of having an effective strategy against the pandemic.”
Biden Economic Advisor Cecilia Rouse: Biden's historic inflation is "a consequence of having an effective strategy against the pandemic." pic.twitter.com/bYrt8e7yQO
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While other nations are certainly grappling with rising inflation rates as Rouse claimed, Trading Economics lists the United States as having the 7th highest inflation rate among major developed nations, behind Turkey, Argentina, Russia, Brazil, the Netherlands, and Spain.