CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin grilled White House economic advisor Heather Boushey on Wednesday over whether the Biden administration planned for increased inflation when the president passed several spending packages.
The panel was discussing President Joe Biden’s upcoming speech on “Bidenomics” which is expected to tout what the administration believes are accomplishments.
“I just want to keep on the same path here, which is this feeling, Joe’s mentioning it, there’s a feeling, it’s not necessarily about jobs, it’s about wages, but it’s the inflation story that Becky is mentioning and what I’m trying to understand is do you completely object, Heather, to the idea that some of the stimulus plans as well-intentioned as they may be and by the way as good as they very well may be for the long term and the health of the economy in the long term, did exacerbate inflation? Do you object to that idea completely?” Sorkin asked.
“So here’s the thing. When we put in place those policies, the nation was reeling. We had high unemployment, we had an out-of-control pandemic, and then, of course, a year later we had this unprovoked war in Ukraine that Putin waged that upended global energy prices. This has been a series of shocks and of course the pandemic, we all started to see the research and the effects that it had on communities and mental health and how hard this was on families so certainly this has been a challenging time but when we put in place the policy, the president wanted to make sure that communities and people and states all have the resources they needed to be able to get through the pandemic and get to the other side.”
“I guess one question I’m asking –” Sorkin tried to interject. (RELATED: Pelosi Says Inflation Reduction Act, Which Won’t Reduce Inflation, Is ‘So Beautifully Named’)
“Let me finish my point here. One of the really important pieces of this is we were able to get people back to work, get people back in the labor force, get them back to the place where we could get them back to earning for their families and we were able to do that much quickly, much quicker than people –” Boushey said before Sorkin interjected.
“Was part of the calculus thought – I want to understand, was part of the calculus, even if that was true, was part of that calculus saying I prefer to take jobs even though I know I’m going to – I’m going to – even on the margins, even if you want to blame the Fed completely, on the margins I’m going to increase inflation. Was that a considered calculation or was that something that happened that was not in the cards when you made that decision? That’s why I think we’re trying to understand.”
Boushey argued that inflation is a global problem but the Biden administration “put in place a policy that got to faster growth than our economic competitors, but did not put us ahead of the pack in terms of inflation and to that end we have seen American families benefit.”
The Biden administration announced Monday it would spend $40 billion to invest in “high-speed internet” across the country as part of “Bidenomics.”
Meanwhile, inflation remains elevated at 4%, with E.J. Antoni, a research fellow for Regional Economics at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, telling the Daily Caller News Foundation that “Bidenomics” shows “the president hasn’t learned his lesson that spending increases inflation.”
Biden signed the so-called Inflation Reduction Act in August that spends billions of dollars on healthcare, climate and prescription drug policies, though a Penn Wharton Budget model of the bill said it “would very slightly increase inflation until 2024 and decrease inflation thereafter.”