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Tipsheet

Biden Economic Adviser Continues Gaslighting Americans About What It Means to Be in a Recession

CBS News

The Biden administration has been trotting out economic adviser Brian Deese to supposedly inform on a variety of issues, even though his responses often leave more questions than answers. Now, they're having him talk to the press to redefine what a recession is, as he did during Tuesday's press briefing, and Monday while on CNN, as well. 

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As he began his lengthy discussion on the Biden administration's "priority" to browbeat the American people into thinking we are not in a recession, Deese actually billed the economy as doing well, when it comes to the "economic goal of transitioning from a historically strong recovery into a period of more stable and steady growth."

"We are in that period of transition right now," rather than a recession, Deese went on to offer, which he claimed "has served us well in terms of positioning us in a stronger position than virtually any other country in the world."

Few Americans would agree that the economy is in a "strong" place. President Joe Biden currently has a 32.4 average approval rating on the economy, according to RealClearPolitics (RCP), while 63.6 percent disapprove. A particularly damning poll as of late comes from CNBC, showing that just 1 percent think the economy is "excellent," while 10 percent think it's "good."

One reason we're not in a recession, Deese offered, other than the definition, is, because of hiring numbers. What Deese left out, though, is that the June job numbers showed fewer jobs added from the previous month. He still went on to claim, though, that "what we’re seeing on the labor market side is a continued resilient, strong labor market recovery."

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Deese also went on to predict that the economy is "expected to grow in the second quarter," yet as CNBC reported earlier this week, citing the Atlanta Federal Reserve, the country experienced negative growth of 1.6 percent during the first quarter, and is expected to do so for the second quarter. That headline from CNBC indicated that "The numbers show the U.S. economy is at least teetering on a recession."

When it comes to what definition they're going with, Deese got around to reminding that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen dismissed what has been accepted as the traditional definition of a recession during her Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." She, like others in the Biden Administration, instead go with a definition from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), to "look at a broad range of data in deciding whether or not a recession has occurred."

Deese also claim that "the most important question economically is whether working people and middle-class families have more breathing room, they have more job opportunities, their wages are growing up — going up in a — in a stable way," and even mentioned "they’re able to afford the important things in their lives, from food and gasoline, also to healthcare and prescription drugs, and afford education for themselves and their children and otherwise."

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The polls would indicate otherwise, especially a recent Fox News poll, which Shannon Bream confronted another Biden economic adviser, Jared Bernstein, with, who likewise dutifully repeats the Biden administration's line that we are not entering in a recession. 

It's worth pointing out that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) uses the definition that the Biden administration is so quick to dismiss. A headline from The New York Times from Tuesday warned that "The I.M.F. warns that a global recession could soon be at hand."

Even another report from The New York Times, from Wednesday morning, which mentions Deese's responses, was critical of the Biden administration's approach: 

But the fact that Mr. Biden and his aides have spent so much time fending off talk of a recession shows just how glum Americans have grown about the economy, and why it has been so hard for the administration to change their minds.

To paraphrase an old political adage: If you’re explaining how recession calls are made, you’re losing.

Mr. Biden has tried for more than a year to persuade Americans that the economy is strong and that inflation, which has been running at its fastest pace in 40 years, will fade. He has emphasized rapid job creation and a falling unemployment rate, noting on Monday that it was down to 3.6 percent.

Americans have not bought it. Consumer confidence has slumped as food, gasoline and other prices soared. Voter dissatisfaction with Mr. Biden’s economic stewardship has grown, as have attacks by Republicans, who have blamed the president’s policies for fueling inflation and eroding Americans’ purchasing power, just months before midterm elections that will determine whether Democrats continue to control Congress.

About half of respondents in a June survey of Americans nationwide conducted for The New York Times by the online research platform Momentive said they believed the economy was already in a recession or a depression. Another quarter said the economy was “stagnating.” Republican responders were more pessimistic than Democrats, reflecting an ongoing partisan split in views of economic performance depending on who occupies the White House.

But more than half of independent voters said the country’s economy was in a depression or recession, as did a third of Democrats.

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Also this morning, a CNN Business article read that "The stock market is practically begging for a recession." Another article from U.S. News & World Report indicated that "Fed Primed to Hike Interest Rates Again as Recession Fears Deepen."

To add insult to injury to the American people, supposed fact-checkers, and Twitter, on Tuesday promoted how the definition hasn't changed after all, and the NBER definition is the one that really counts. 

Reuters has also took part in pointing to the NBER definition, but, as The Redhead libertarian pointed out, the outlet was more than ready and willing to go with what's regarded as the "technical" definition when it came to Japan's economy in 2020.

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