During Monday’s press conference, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struggled to answer questions on the ongoing inflation crisis and what President Biden is doing to help alleviate the problem.
“Following up on something you said earlier, if President Biden’s top domestic priority is inflation, why doesn’t he have more to show for it?” Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked.
“So, the president understands, and we’ve talked about this many times, that inflation is an issue … high cost … cost is an issue for the American people, and so he’s been very clear about making that his number one economic priority. And he has done the work,” Jean-Pierre said.
“And he has done the work,” Jean-Pierre said, pointing to the Democrats’ so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” as evidence. It should be noted that the “Inflation Reduction Act” is projected to reduce after-tax incomes for Americans in every income bracket and actually make inflation worse, according to a report from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.
“[T]he Inflation Reduction Act would reduce long-run economic output by about 0.2 percent and eliminate about 29,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the United States. It would also reduce average after-tax incomes for taxpayers across every income quintile over the long run,” the report explained. “By reducing long-run economic growth, this bill may actually worsen inflation by constraining the productive capacity of the economy.”
Jean-Pierre went on to say that passing the “Inflation Reduction Act” is “the work that congressional Democrats and the President [have] done. Republicans did not vote for that at all.”
“But who exactly thinks the President is doing a good job on inflation? Because we’ve got a new poll that finds he receives his lowest job ratings on inflation — net negative 38 points.” Doocy asked.
“We understand that there are challenges that are in front of us here in this country. That is why the President has taken action to lower costs,” Jean-Pierre said. She then pointed to gas prices as evidence of Biden lowering costs, even though gas prices are about 50% higher than they were when Biden entered office.
“When you think about all of these steps that he has taken to make sure that that is happening, Republicans — Republicans in Congress refuse — they refuse to be partners with us on this. They refuse to help us,” Jean-Pierre added. “If you think about the American Rescue Plan that has helped create an economy that is indeed resilient, that created jobs, they refused to help out.”
Notably, Biden’s American Rescue Plan is widely seen as one of the main factors triggering the ongoing inflation crisis. When the $1.9 trillion bill was passed in March 2021, inflation was at 2.6%. The next month, inflation soared to 4.2%. From March 2021 to April 2021, core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.9% – which was the largest monthly increase since April 1982.
The American Rescue Plan also included an extension of $300 weekly enhanced federal unemployment insurance and $1,400 COVID relief payments. The month after it was passed was also the first time since the beginning of pandemic the unemployment rate increased, with the economy adding back nearly 750,000 jobs less than expected that month. Forbes reported at the time, “The United States added 266,000 jobs in April, according to data released by the Labor Department Friday—much worse than the 1 million job gains economists expected and far fewer than the 916,000 jobs added in March, indicating that the long-tepid labor market recovery is slowing down again even as stocks and corporate earnings rip higher.”
“Some economists say employers, particularly in the restaurant and entertainment industry, have been struggling to find workers because Biden’s relief package which included extended pandemic benefits for the unemployed, is deterring some workers from returning to their old job or seeking out a new position,” NBC News wrote in May 2021, adding, “Bank of America estimates that for those who were earning less than $32,000 a year before the pandemic, unemployment pays more than their former job. And, the bank estimates, that could keep 1 million people out of the workforce.”
DOOCY TIME: "[I]f [Biden's] top domestic priority is inflation, why doesn't he have more to show for it?"
KJP: "So, [he] understands…inflation is an issue…Cost is an issue for the American people, and so he's been very clear about making that his #1 economic priority" pic.twitter.com/jmJXsfAjMQ
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 17, 2022
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