Biden’s top economic adviser dodges recession questions, says US economy is only in ‘period of transition’

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President Biden’s chief economic adviser declined on Sunday to say whether he thinks the United States is headed for a recession, saying instead that the US economy is in a “period of transition.”

During a “Fox News Sunday” interview, host Martha MacCallum asked National Economic Council Director Brian Deese to respond to assessments by PayPal’s founding chief operating officer David Sacks and a growing list of others suggesting the United States is heading for a recession in the near future.

“Our economy is in a period of transition. We are moving from the strongest economic recovery in modern history to what can be a period of more stable and resilient growth,” Deese replied, “and while there absolutely have risks with inflation first and foremost, that’s what’s most important: the United States is in a better position than any other major economy to bring down inflation and meet these challenges without giving up to all the economic gains we’ve made, and that’s thanks to the strength of our recovery, and we have the strongest labor market in modern history.

“Americans are getting back to work in better paying jobs,” he continued. “That means Americans can increase their savings, pay down their debt, businesses invest, entrepreneurs start new businesses at a record pace, and manufacturing comes back to the United States.”

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Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, speaks during a press conference at the White House on May 16, 2022.

Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, speaks during a press conference at the White House on May 16, 2022.
(Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Speaking, McCallum pointed to recent remarks by Bush administration economic adviser Glenn Hubbard, who suggested that regardless of the technical benchmark, Americans feel like they’re in a recession. Current Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has also recently claimed that rising food and gas prices are having “stagflationary effects”, and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has said that Americans can expect “some pain” as central banks raise interest rates to fight soaring inflation.

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“So I’m asking for your advice as an economic adviser to the White House. Should people be prepared in the United States that we are heading or will be several months from now into a recession?” McCallum asked.

President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, United States, May 4, 2022.

President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, United States, May 4, 2022.
(Photographer: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“What people need to know is that we are in this period of transition to more stable growth,” Deese replied. “People should also be confident that we are better positioned than any other country to get through this and sustain our recovery.”

The Biden administration official cited a report this week saying the US economy could grow faster this year than China’s economy for the first time in decades, but McCallum was quick to clarify that China was in the middle of its deepest lockdown since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. , and Bloomberg reported that this is why the United States currently has a slightly higher level of growth.

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese speaks during a press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. March 31, 2022.

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese speaks during a press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. March 31, 2022.
(Photographer: Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Deese admitted that higher prices at the gas pump and at the grocery store “create real hardship and uncertainty” for Americans, so “that’s precisely why the president has made it clear that fighting inflation is its absolute economic priority”. He said the administration aims to continue to give the Federal Reserve its independence to fight inflation, lower prescription drug and internet prices, and further reduce the deficit, which has already shrunk. $1.5 trillion this year.

Speaking from Seoul, South Korea, earlier, President Biden hailed Hyundai’s $10 million pledge to invest in electric vehicles and related technologies in the United States, saying the country was headed towards an “all-electric future”. But rather than push for green energy, McCallum noted that many Americans are calling on the president to increase domestic oil and gas supplies to bring down prices globally.

“What you hear from the president is that we have to distinguish between the short term and the long term. In the short term, this president has made it clear that we need to increase the supply of oil in the market to mitigate the impact of Putin’s war in Ukraine and Russian supply going off the market,” Deese said. “So what the president has done is encourage domestic industry to increase production now, not in the years to come, but now.”

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He said the Biden administration had already committed to increasing production by 1 million barrels per day by the fall and releasing oil from strategic oil reserves by the same amount until then.

“But we also know that our automakers and our auto industry are moving towards electric vehicles. And we are moving towards an electric vehicle future. We want that transition to happen. We want people to have those choices. is better for the environment. These cars are fun to drive. People love them. We want more of these cars to be built in the United States with secure supply chains so that we are not dependent on foreign countries and uncertain supplies. And we want to accelerate that process into a good for the American consumer.”

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