The White House denied it should pivot its economic policies Thursday after September’s consumer price index indicated Americans are still battling record-high prices just weeks before the midterms.
Jared Bernstein of the White House Council of Economic Advisers joined “America’s Newsroom” to discuss the latest inflation data and why the Biden administration should not alter its current policy.
“Because the policies that we’re doing to help mitigate and ease price pressures are having effect,” Bernstein told Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino. “For example, look at the supply side of the economy. Supply chains, shipping costs, air freight costs are significantly down. Goods are getting to ship to shelf at the same level they did pre-pandemic.”
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“Now go into this report, the one that came out this morning, and look at goods inflation. It was flat if you take out energy. Now, you mentioned that energy prices went up in September. In fact, according to this month’s CPI, energy prices fell 2% in September, and gas prices fell.”
The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods including gasoline, groceries and rents, rose 0.4% in September from the previous month. Prices climbed 8.2% on an annual basis.
President Biden acknowledged the possibility a “slight recession” could occur in the near future when questioned by CNN’s Jake Tapper on the issue Tuesday.
Bernstein pushed back on economists’ recession concerns, citing the strong labor market.
“What the president said was that a recession is far from inevitable, and I think what he was referring to there is the strength of our job market,” Bernstein said. “Look, you just don’t have a recession when you have a three and a half percent unemployment rate, and you’re adding hundreds of thousands of jobs from it, that’s just completely inconsistent with recession.”
Hemmer and Perino also pressed Bernstein on energy prices as Biden remains under fire for depleting U.S. oil reveres after OPEC+ announced it would cut production.
“Ask the question. Not, ‘Is inflation too high?’ The answer to that is unequivocally yes,” Bernstein said. “Are policymakers doing everything they can in this White House to help bring them down? And I think you’d have to find that the answer is yes.”
Fox Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report.