WH Economic Adviser: ‘Makes Perfect Sense’ That 64% of People Think We’re in a Recession

On Friday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Situation Room,” White House Council of Economic Advisers member Jared Bernstein said it “makes perfect sense” that 64% of Americans think we’re in a recession because “most people are thinking about inflation. They’re thinking about the pressures on their family budgets. And it’s completely understandable that they would be.” Bernstein also said that while inflation is too high, “we’ve tried to point out that those families often have pretty decent balance sheets.”

Bernstein stated, “I say that that makes perfect sense to me that people would answer a poll with that kind of response. And the reason is because if you actually look at how the group that designates recessions…it’s a fairly technical set of analyses that we’ve been talking about throughout the week. But most people are thinking about inflation. They’re thinking about the pressures on their family budgets. And it’s completely understandable that they would be. Now, we’ve tried to point out that those families often have pretty decent balance sheets. They are actually out there spending at a decent clip, even though GDP had a negative handle on it in the second quarter, or, for that matter, in the first. Consumer spending was actually a plus. Real consumer spending, adjusted for inflation, was actually a plus in both of those quarters. And we’ve talked about the strong labor market backdrop. But inflation is very much [a concern] of households. And that’s why it’s our number one priority to bring it down. I’ve talked about some of those actions already, in the ports, in the energy, in some food areas that we’ve intervened in. It’s really important to get that Inflation Reduction Act to the president’s desk as soon as possible because there are measures in there that would reduce prescription drug costs, the costs of healthcare premiums, and reduce the cost of clean energy, which is a great incentive and an important family budget help as well.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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