White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre downplayed fears of a possible recession at Tuesday’s briefing.
A White House reporter asked the press secretary about the administration’s strategy to prevent a recession, though President Joe Biden said last week that there is no inevitability that a recession will occur.
“The way that we see this, and you’ve heard us talk about this, that we’re in a moment of transition,” she said. “We are in a unique situation with the historical gains with our economy. The way we see it is that the unemployment rate has held steady at 3.6%, which is also near historic lows. Business investment remains strong, household balance sheets remain strong.”
She pointed to analyses by Moody’s Analytics and the JPMorgan Chase Institute finding that middle class Americans have an additional $10,000 in savings and that all income groups had higher balances in their checking accounts at the end of March than in the pre-pandemic years. (RELATED: WH Economic Advisor Brian Deese Won’t Rule Out A Recession)
“We see that the economic strength that we have seen this past year with the action the president has taken, with the American Rescue Plan, with what we have seen with the historical gains, that is going to help us deal with a recession,” she continued. “Right now, we don’t see a recession. We’re not in a recession right now. Right now we’re in a transition where we are going to go into a place of stable and steady growth, and that’s going to be our focus.”
Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal say there is a 44% probability of a recession within the next 12 months due to soaring inflation, which rose 8.6% in May. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that a recession is not “at all inevitable” and expects the economy to slow down.
President Joe Biden pushed back against a reporter asking about the economists warning of a possible recession.
“A majority aren’t saying that, come on, don’t make things up, OK? Now you sound like a Republican politician. I’m joking. That was a joke. That was a joke. But all kidding aside, no, I don’t think it is,” Biden said. “I was talking to Larry Summers this morning, and there is nothing inevitable about a recession.”
“I think we’ll be able to do it. I think we’ll be able to get a change in Medicare and a reduction in the cost of insulin,” the president continued. “We can also move in a direction that we can provide for tax increase in tax, taxes on those – in the corporate area as well as the individuals as it relates to Trump’s tax cut, which is inflationary.”