White House press secretary Jen Psaki stumbled her way through an explanation of why White House chief of staff Ron Klain believes rising inflation is a “high class problem” on Thursday, ultimately dodging the question.
Klain repeatedly endorsed a tweet stating that inflation is a high class issue on Wednesday, despite inflation and supply chain chaos raising the prices of goods such as beef, eggs, chicken and other daily commodities. A reporter pressed Psaki on whether Klain’s endorsement was “tone-deaf,” an idea Psaki rejected.
“Why would Ron Klain tweet that, and would you agree that that’s a little bit tone-deaf?” the reporter asked.
Psaki then repeated the tweet Klain had shared, originally from former Obama administration official Jason Furman. She highlighted the end of the tweet, however, which stated that inflation and supply chain backlogs would not be an issue if the U.S. still had a 10% unemployment rate. (RELATED: ‘It’s Unprecedented’: Builders Running Out Of Key Construction Materials, Forced To Find Alternatives)
“So I think the point here is, while there are some critics who are saying–what some of these critics are saying is, I don’t–we don’t know if they’re saying that what they thought was great was when the unemployment rate was double what it is today, or when people were locked in their homes and therefore gas prices were lower,” Psaki said.
“We’re at this point because the unemployment rate has come down and been cut in half, because people are buying more goods, because people are traveling and because demand is up and because the economy is turning back on,” she added.
This 👇👇 https://t.co/ymh53nEHAg
— Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) October 14, 2021
Psaki’s response did not address Klain’s apparent belief that inflation is only affecting “high class” Americans.
Klain’s tweet conflicted with statements from other senior administration officials from earlier this week, who warned that inflation is likely to heavily impact Christmas shopping for Americans.
“There will be things that people can’t get,” a senior White House official told Reuters. “At the same time, a lot of these goods are hopefully substitutable by other things … I don’t think there’s any real reason to be panicked, but we all feel the frustration and there’s a certain need for patience to help get through a relatively short period of time.”
A Sept. 29 study from Salesforce predicted that retail prices could rise as much as 20% compared to 2020. Women’s clothing, jewelry and watches had already risen 11.9% and 12.9% respectively as of August.
The Biden administration has negotiated for major corporations such as Walmart and international ports to maintain 24/7 operations to help alleviate supply chain backlogs. The president will also lift travel restrictions for the Mexican and Canadian borders in early November, allowing fully vaccinated foreign nationals to travel freely into the U.S.