White House economic adviser Brian Deese recently said that while inflation in the U.S. is hurting Americans in their wallets, at least they’re not “facing famine” like some other countries. During a White House press briefing, the director argued that the United States is not on the brink of a recession and that the economy’s condition, which hit a 9.1% inflation rate in June, could be much worse than it currently is.
“I think our economy is more resilient to the types of challenges that we face,” said Deese. “For example, with respect to food, we’re a net exporter of agricultural commodities. And obviously, the high prices are hitting Americans very hard, but in a way that is different from some places that are facing famine, for example.”
He continued, “But I think if you look at the core elements of economic resilience, the United States is better positioned.”
Deese further explained that despite expert projections, a recession is not inevitable, repeating a previous claim by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about the “common definition” of a recession. Yellen had previously expressed that a recession’s “common definition” is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP. However, Yellen said that while economists expect to see negative growth again this quarter after a previous quarter’s growth of -1.4%, she still believes the U.S. is not in a recession.
Economic adviser Deese reiterated that “two negative quarters of GDP growth is not the technical definition of recession. It’s not the definition that economists have traditionally relied on.”
“There is an organization called the National Bureau of Economic Research, and what they do is they look at a broad range of data and deciding whether or not a recession has occurred. That is the process that economists and administrations have used for years and decades to identify when a recession has occurred.”
Economists: Many factors to blame for inflation
Economists blamed the stalled economy on the expiration of government stimulus packages that had pumped endless amounts of cash into the economy and soaring inflation.
However, the Biden Administration has downplayed the dire economic conditions and attempted to rewrite the long-known definition of a recession. “Two negative quarters of GDP growth is not the technical definition of recession. It’s not the definition that economists have traditionally relied on,” said Deese.
Yellen downplayed fears of recession during a television interview. “There is an organization called the National Bureau of Economic Research that looks at a broad range of data in deciding whether or not there is a recession. And most of the data that they look at right now continues to be strong. I would be amazed if they would declare this period to be a recession, even if it happens to have quarters of negative growth.”
Republicans have fired back at the White House’s statements and attempts to rebrand the traditional recession definition. The U.S. House Republicans released a statement on July 26 stating, “Instead of offering Americans solutions to 40-year inflation that’s crushing American families and small businesses, President Biden’s solution is to deny responsibility and say it isn’t happening.”
According to polls, Americans have not bought into the Biden Administration’s rebrand. A June Civitas poll found that 77% of North Carolinians believe the United States is already in recession. In the same survey, 72% of respondents say the country is on the wrong track.