The White House has touted an economic recovery in the U.S. ahead of the midterm elections, even as many Americans remain underwater economically.
The White House published a 58-page “economic blueprint” in September touting the fastest job recovery in 40 years, the creation of 3.7 million jobs and the unemployment rate standing at a near-50-year low of 3.7%. The report noted that this recovery has significantly outperformed the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections released shortly after President Joe Biden took office. The CBO estimated in Feb. 2021 that the economy would not reach pre-pandemic levels until the second half of 2023 and that it would take nearly 5 years for the unemployment rate to fall below 4%.
The administration also touted the rise in wages, with median wages reportedly up 6.7% over the previous year.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is the most pro-worker, pro-union administration in history—prioritizing the dignity and well-being of workers by supporting full employment and worker power, and empowering all Americans to get good jobs they can raise a family on,” the document read.
The administration has touted their legislative achievements including the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS Act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. They said the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act will lead to a clean energy future by investing $40 billion to increase the number of solar panels, wind-turbines and grid-scale battery plants. The report also stated that the Inflation Reduction Act will lower prescription drug costs, the document read.
Since President Biden took office, our economy has added more than 660,000 manufacturing jobs. This is more manufacturing jobs on average per month than any other President in the last 50 years.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 9, 2022
The White House also touted the student loan relief program, which provides $10,000 in debt forgiveness for families making less than $125,000 a year and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. (RELATED: White House Economic Adviser Says ‘Slowing’ Of Economy Is Necessary)
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday that the economy is stronger than had been predicted, even prior to the pandemic. She also said the U.S. underwent one of the quickest economic recoveries in modern history.
“Our plan has worked,” she said referring to the American Rescue Plan. “Household balance sheets are strong. Businesses continue to invest. Our broad and inclusive recovery has outpaced that of many other large economies.”
Yellen made these remarks despite the negative growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the past two consecutive quarters. Two quarters of negative GDP growth has traditionally been regarded as the definition of a recession, though the White House has pushed back against this characterization.
Despite the Biden administration’s celebration of the U.S. economic recovery, many Americans continue to feel the burden of inflation and express concerns about a recession. An ABC/Ipsos poll found that 69% of Americans believe the economy is getting worse, while 12% believe economic conditions are improving. The poll surveyed 665 adults between August 5-6 with a 4.2% margin of error.
Inflation has remained a top issue for Americans likely to vote in the midterms. This issue has remained the most important among Republicans and Independents, but less so among Democrats, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.
A recent Gallup poll found that nearly a quarter of Americans have changed their spending habits and 17% have traveled less and canceled vacations due to inflation. The poll surveyed 1,570 adults between Aug. 1-22 with a 3% margin of error. The poll led a White House reporter to ask White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday if the president had considered cutting back on his vacation time and spending habits.
“When it comes to inflation, the president has been very clear on this. When it comes to his economic plan and dealing with inflation, he’s doing everything that he can to make sure that we lower costs,” the press secretary answered. “That’s why the gas prices going down the last 86 days is a step forward, bringing it down under $4, an average of $3.75 is a step forward because the decline that we have seen is indeed historic. We haven’t seen that decline in over a decade.”
Fifty-nine percent of Americans believe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan will worsen inflation, according to a CNBC/Momentive poll. The poll sampled 5,142 adults nationally, from Aug. 4 to 15 with no margin of error given.