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People ‘Getting Ahead’ But They ‘Remember’ ‘Prices Were Lower’ and COVID Hurt

In an interview that aired on “PBS NewsHour” Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen responded to a question about Americans’ economic pessimism, saying, “The pandemic has had a very significant and lasting impact on their lifestyles and attitudes. It made an impact.” And even though people are “getting ahead in the ranks,” “some things that are important to many Americans are more expensive than they were before the pandemic,” such as rent, electricity, and food. “I remember it being low.” And we’re trying to do everything we can to reduce health care and other costs that are definitely straining Americans’ budgets. ”

Co-host Amna Nawaz said, “I’d like to ask you about some of the strong economic indicators we’re seeing right now in the United States. Unemployment is at its lowest level in nearly 50 years. Inflation is trending down. The U.S. economy has outperformed many other economies. But as we know, Americans are still depressed about the economy. Consumer confidence rose in February. Feelings have fallen again. What do you think about the current pessimism among Americans? What do you think is behind it?”

Yellen said, “Well, Americans have been through a lot. I think the pandemic has had a very significant and lasting impact on their lifestyles and attitudes. The important thing is that inflation has come down quite a bit. However, the cost of some things that are important to many Americans, such as rent, electricity, and food, are higher than they were before the pandemic.And now, wages are rising faster than prices. So Americans are ahead of the curve. But nevertheless, people remember that prices were low. And we’re definitely putting a strain on Americans’ budgets. We are trying to do everything we can to reduce medical and other costs.”

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