Senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer beat an all-too-familiar drum during an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” blaming America’s stagnant economy on a five-year-old financial crisis “inherited” by President Barack Obama from the Bush administration.
Pfeiffer spoke to Fox’s Chris Wallace about Obama’s upcoming State of the Union speech, set to take place on Tuesday. The reporter asked the Pfeiffer to explain why the president has chosen to focus on income inequality in his speech, since some experts claim that White House policies have exacerbated the split between rich and poor. “Wouldn’t a stronger, more robust economy and recovery solve a lot of these problems the president is talking about?” Wallace asked.
PFEIFFER: Well, absolutely. But I think it is important to remember that this president inherited the worst economic situation since the Great Depression, a financial crisis –
WALLACE: But the recession ended four years ago!
PFEIFFER: Yes, and we have created, in the last 46 months, 8 million jobs. The unemployment rate has dropped to 6.7 percent. We have — we are now producing more oil than before, the American auto industry is number one in the world again. We are making progress, but there is more to do, and that’s what you’ll hear the president talking about.
But Wallace wouldn’t let up, noting that data on media household income, workforce participation, food stamps and the poverty rate belie Pfeiffer’s optimism. “If things are so great, how come they’re so lousy?” he asked.
Pfeiffer blamed Congress. “American businesses, American workers are doing the right thing,” he said. “Washington needs to help them… These are things that have been bipartisan in the past — raising the minimum wage, infrastructure. If Congress were to do that, we could make tremendous progress.”
The White House adviser also offered a thinly-veiled threat to congressional Republicans, warning they may be rendered obsolete if they refuse to play along. “This can be a year of action,” he declared, parroting a recent White House talking point, “and we can make real progress. But we have to do it together. And if Congress doesn’t act, the president will.” (RELATED: Obama to bypass Congress in 2014, rule by agency decree)
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