CNBC’s Joe Kernen slammed White House economic advisor Jared Bernstein on Monday after he failed to explain why Biden’s economic messaging isn’t resonating with American voters.
Co-host Andrew Sorkin noted that former President Donald Trump’s poll numbers have gone up despite his recent indictment, asking Bernstein to explain “how the American public is looking and thinking about this economy under this president and why, if the numbers are as positive as you think they are, you think either that message is not getting out or being understood or resonating, what is happening?”
Bernstein argued the numbers are objectively “strong” before Sorkin said he wasn’t disagreeing with the numbers but asked why the messaging is not resonating with the public. Bernstein said, “I think we have to get down to cases, I think we have to ask people specifically about what this administration is doing,” arguing that increased investments, infrastructure repair and tax credits should be enough to sell voters.
“It’s all about the inflation, Jared. You know that. I know that your job is to spin everything in the best possible light but real wages have not grown in the last year, we talked about this last time people are not back to making what they were when Biden came into the presidency. And people aren’t stupid, they know exactly how they feel about the economy. His economic performance is at an approval of about 35% right now,” Kernen jumped in.
“The 13 million jobs that you’re calling a record are people coming back after they were put out of work by COVID and we finally got back to where we were before it started and we’re just barely above that so, you know, to mention all these things in a way where people aren’t just totally clueless about what’s really happening Jared. You can’t just use one-offs to nobody’s gotten a raise. Real wages are down. So 24 straight months real wages were down because inflation ate away at the increases.” (RELATED: Senate Committee Advances Biden Nominee Who Once Said Gas Should Be More Expensive)
“So we have a factual disagreement I guess, I’ll have to post something on my Twitter feed @econjared46,” Bernstein said before Kernen cut in, “when did real wages start rising?”
“So in May, real wages were up –”
“In May! That’s the first month–”
“No, no, no, no, hold on Joe,” Bernstein tried to interject.
“Twenty-four straight months they weren’t!” Kernen pushed back.
“In May it was the first time we had a year-over-year increase in real wages up 0.2%. That’s May. But for the past six months – actually since June, actually for more than the past six months we’ve had real wages go up on a monthly basis…I want to get much more precise about what you’re saying, I think you’re fundamentally wrong,” Bernstein said. “If the only thing people cared about was inflation … it was 9%, 4% at the last read and that’s a 5% decline, that’s a move in the right direction, but we have more work to do. But people also care a lot about job security, about employment, about the quality of their jobs. Those numbers are looking very impressive. People care a lot about reversing decades of disinvestment, people care a lot about getting rid of junk feeds, about getting rid of noncompete clauses, about making sure, about doing all we can to keep down energy costs… yes, people care a lot about inflation but it is not the only thing they care about. I think you’re wrong about that, Joe.”
“I was trying to help you explain why his economic approval is 35%,” Kernen said.
“Ask people about the specifics! You got a microphone, ask people about the specifics and see what they say and get me back here to talk about it with you,” Bernstein said.