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New Poll Findings Throw Cold Water on Jen Psaki's Talking Points on 'Fox News Sunday'

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki made an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," which was hosted this week by Dana Perino, who once held such a role herself, under President George W. Bush. The segment covered considerable ground, including the state of the economy under President Joe Biden. 

Like a good soldier, Psaki touted the White House narrative, which was to promote how "our economy has a strong basis right now," especially with the unemployment number being at 3.6 percent, which Perino noted was "quite remarkable."

Perino did have a warning though, as she asked if the White House was "preparing for a recession." Such a warning didn't come from just anyone, but economist and former Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton, as well as Deutsch Bank, which said to prepare for a recession in 2023. 

"Larry Summers, the former treasury secretary, says that we are dangerously behind the curve, at the Fed at least, and he writes that: Over the past 75 years, every time inflation has exceeded 4 percent and unemployment has been below 5 percent, the U.S. economy has gone into recession within two years. Today, inflation is north of 6 percent and unemployment is south of 4 percent," Perino offered. 

Psaki's response emphasized they were going to "constantly monitor our economic data," going on to claim "what our economic feels and what the U.S. government economic team feels is that the economy has a very strong basis," as she once more touted the unemployment numbers.

Summers had written an opinion piece in The Washington Post on April 5, "My inflation warnings have spurred questions. Here are my answers." In addition to writing what Perinohad quoted, he warned "all evidence indicates that allowing inflation to get out of control leads to a very serious recession."

The economist also appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, where he offered some hope to host Chuck Todd in that "nothing is inevitable or certain in economics." However, he did continue to issue warnings based on historical precedence. 

"The painful fact, though, is that historically when we've had inflation above 4% and we've had unemployment below 4 percent, essentially always, since World War II, that's been followed by a recession within the next two years. Perhaps we will be fortunate and there will be sufficiently rapid adjustments in commodity prices and other bottlenecks that will make that not happen. Perhaps the Fed will be extraordinarily skillful, but I think the – and lucky. But I think the Fed has a very, very difficult job," Summers went on to say. 

Summers was not one of those economic figures that this White House has listened to, though, considering he had issued warnings that the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law in March of last year that the COVID stimulus plan ould raise inflation. Lo and behold, inflation has continued to go up to hit highs not seen in four decades, yet Democrats still threw quite the celebration on the one-year anniversary of the law. 

Psaki, in her response to Perino, did also reference inflation, though it didn't exactly contain all that much substance. 

"We also know though that costs are too high, that's how people across the country, of course, experience inflation, and we need to take steps to address that, and there are steps the president has been taking, from fixing the family glitch to make sure people have lower cost of health care, to even extending the student loan pause, to make sure that even as our economy is continuing to recover, we're reducing costs," she said. 

For a deeper conversation when it comes to the economy, CBS News released findings from their poll, highlighting just how bad this issue and many more are for President Joe Biden.

White House officials can tout the jobs numbers until they're blue in the face, but as a CBS News write-up points out, "In economic views, inflation outweighs jobs." The write-up goes on to note:

And while the White House has often stressed the jobs number, people's focus on prices continues to bring negative ratings for both the economy and the president's handling of it. 

Most rate the job market in their community favorably, and just over half say that the number of jobs in the U.S. has increased in the last year. 

But even those who rate the job market positively are slightly more inclined to say the national economy is bad, and they attribute that to high prices.  

When people say the economy is bad, it isn't because of jobs. Just 17% give that as a reason. Negative judgments are overwhelmingly based on inflation, and gas prices.

How bad are we talking here? Just 9 percent say the economy is doing "very good." A majority, at 63 percent, say it's "fairly bad (32 percent)" or "very bad (31 percent)."

CBS News Poll tweeted out some key findings on this and other issues.

When it comes to other issues, Biden is performing poorly across the board. In addition to his 31 percent approval rating on inflation and 37 percent approval rating on the economy, he gets a 38 percent approval rating on immigration and 39 percent approval rating on crime. 

The poll was conducted with 2,062 adult residents who were interviewed between April 5-8, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 points. 

The poll was briefly discussed on CBS' "Face the Nation," by host Margaret Brennan. "Although more than half of Americans say the local job market is good, almost two-thirds say the national economy is bad, as inflation and gas prices are seen as the biggest drags on the economy," she said about the poll's highlights. 

These findings from the CBS News poll are similar to what Spencer highlighted late last month when it comes to findings from a Gallup poll, with a release from Lydia Saad reading that "Inflation Dominates Americans' Economic Concerns in March."


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