During a Monday afternoon interview, Fox News host Martha MacCallum and Biden administration economic adviser Jared Bernstein debated whether or not the Biden administration was downplaying inflation.
Bernstein repeated the position of President Joe Biden, sticking to the same talking points the president hit on during his “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday, pointing to lower gas prices and the lack of major spikes in inflation.
When Bernstein was pressed by MacCallum, the exchange grew testy. “Hold on, wait a second!” he said while trying to justify unfavorable inflation numbers, noting a decline in gas prices, which are nationally over $1.30 higher than when Biden took office. “I let you ask your question.”
“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.”
Bernstein also claimed that the Biden administration had reduced the deficit, drawing skepticism from MacCallum who argued that the reduction in deficit was almost entirely tied to COVID relief.
“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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