Sunday, June 16, 2024

A Recession Is ‘Not Inevitable,’ Biden Says, As He Acknowledges The Nation’s Mood Is Down

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President Joe Biden acknowledged that two years of the pandemic and high inflation have battered the national mood, during an interview with the Associated Press in which he expressed optimism about the economy and said the U.S. was in a “stronger position” than any other country to battle inflation and recession was not “inevitable.”

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a bill signing event at the State Dining Room of the White … [+] House.

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Key Facts

In the interview, Biden pushed back against the notion that his Covid relief package helped drive up inflation, saying there was “zero evidence of that” and adding that his administration had helped drive down the national deficit and unemployment.

Biden insisted that a recession—as many economists have predicted—was not “inevitable” and said every other major industrial country in the world is facing high inflation at the moment.

The president acknowledged that after two years of the pandemic, Covid deaths, school shutdowns and job losses, the mood of the American people was “really, really down” and there was a need for mental health support.

Biden blamed the current high gas prices on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but insisted that pushing back against Moscow’s aggression was in the best interests of the U.S. and its European allies.

Biden said Putin is trying to “occupy and wipe out a culture of an entire people” in Ukraine and if NATO hadn’t intervened, countries like Poland and the Czech Republic would be next.

Biden said he believes that he has the requisite votes to pass a smaller version of his domestic spending bill that previously failed due to opposition from fellow Democrats like Joe Manchin and added that it may help cut down prices for some essentials including prescription drugs and utilities.

Crucial Quote
Speaking about the Republican Party, Biden said when he took office there were “probably 15 sort of traditional, mainstream, conservative Republicans left. And I include in that…the minority leader from Kentucky [Mitch McConnell]

Key Background
Biden’s first interview with the news media in four months comes at a time when his approval ratings have dropped to the lowest point since the start of his presidency and the Democrats face a tumultuous midterm election. According to a poll conducted by AP and NORC Center for Public Research last month, only 39% of Americans approved of Biden’s performance as president. More worryingly, the president’s approval rating drop among democratic voters has dropped to 73%. Biden’s presidency has been particularly stung by high inflation rates and steep gas prices. Last week, the Labor Department released data that showed annual inflation in the U.S. jumped to 8.6% in May, the highest it has been in more than 40 years. After the Federal reserve raised rates to help curb inflation, economists have warned that the country could soon face an economic recession.

Further Reading
Transcript of AP interview with President Joe Biden (Associated Press)

Biden says a recession is ‘not inevitable’ (Associated Press)

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