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White House economic advisor Jared Bernstein on Thursday wouldn’t say whether the U.S. was headed towards a recession, on the heels of the economy shrinking in the first quarter of 2022 and continued worries over record inflation.
During an appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” he stated, “You can never rule anything out,” as host Brianna Keilar pressed him on the subject and noted Americans weren’t feeling good about the economy.
White House economic advisor Jared Bernstein appeared on CNN alongside host Brianna Keilar on May 5, 2022 to discuss the economy. (Screenshot/CNN) (Screenshot/CNN)
Keilar cited a CNN poll stating a majority of American adults thought President Biden’s policies were causing harm, with 8 out of 10 Americans viewing the government as “not doing enough to combat inflation.”
She noted Biden was “touting economic wins” in contrast with the majority of Americans’ opinion, then asked Bernstein if that meant Biden was “out of touch” with everyday Americans.
“Not at all,” he responded, claiming it was necessary to “be more nuanced” when it came to assessing the economy and repeating the administration’s talking points on handling economic challenges.
FILE – President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House, Friday, April 1, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
“Americans – they don’t feel good about it right? They don’t feel good about it. Can you tell the American people that we’re not headed for a recession?” Keilar later asked.
Bernstein avoided the question, and instead claimed the U.S. was in a “much better position” than other advanced economies when it came to the question of a recession.
Keilar interrupted Bernstein, saying, “So you can’t rule it out is what I’m hearing.”
“Hold on. You can never rule anything out, so that’s not really a relevant question,” Bernstein responded. “The key point here is less about forecasting and probabilities – that’s a very uncertain game right now – it is what are we actually doing concretely to meet the challenges that we know American households face.”
He went on to claim the U.S. was continuing to approach challenges to the economy “from a position of strength” and that him noting “positive indicators” about the economy didn’t mean the administration didn’t “appreciate the challenges” facing Americans.
Gas prices grow along with inflation as this sign at a gas station shows in San Diego, California, U.S. November, 9, 2021. )REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo/File Photo) (REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo/File Photo)
The U.S. economy shrank 1.4% for the first quarter of 2022, marking its worst performance since the first quarter of 2020 amid the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and worldwide economic shutdowns.
Inflation reached 8.5% in March, hitting a 40-year high.