Fox News host Martha MacCallum and Biden administration economic advisor Jared Bernstein clashed over whether the Biden administration was downplaying inflation during a Monday afternoon interview.
President Joe Biden had attempted to refute criticism of his administration’s handling of inflation during a 60 Minutes interview Sunday by pointing to lower gas prices and the fact that inflation rates, while still at record highs, haven’t seen a recent spike. Bernstein repeated the president’s position when pressed by MacCallum, though the exchange grew testy.
“Hold on, wait a second!” Bernstein said at one point when trying to justify unfavorable inflation numbers by pointing to a decline in gas prices, which are still over $1.30 higher than when Biden took office. “I let you ask your question.” (RELATED: ‘We’re In A Recession’: Steve Forbes Blasts Central Bank For ‘Making People Poorer’)
“One issue is, is the government stepping on the fiscal accelerator? Is government fiscal policy contributing to inflation say, this year? The answer, based on over a trillion dollars of deficit reduction, is no,” Bernstein said. “That doesn’t negate the point that inflation is too high, which it is. We’re doing everything we can to help, and as you played in your introduction the last couple months have been a respite, and gas prices have been a real bit of breathing room for American consumers.”
The Consumer Price Index rose by 8.3% year-over-year in August after climbing by 8.5% in July, 9.1% in June and 8.6% in May.
Bernstein also claimed that the Biden administration had reduced the deficit, drawing skepticism from MacCallum.
“Isn’t that reduction largely because there was $3.8 trillion flooded into the market in different forms of COVID relief and then that was pulled back? Isn’t that largely the reduction?” MacCallum asked. “I’m not sure that makes a difference for people who have lower wages and they have to pay more for things. Doesn’t seem like these two things actually add up.”
“The problem is that people’s wages are not keeping pace with inflation,” MacCallum said.
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