Wednesday, July 27, 2022

White House Braces for Grim News on Economy (VIDEO)

Yes, the White House is "bracing" being attempting to redefine what a recession is. 

At Politico, "White House braces for grim news on economy":

Senior administration officials are hitting the airwaves and arm-twisting reporters in private, imploring anyone who will listen that the economy is still healthy.

The White House is scrambling behind the scenes and in public to get ahead of a potentially brutal economic punch to the face that could give Republicans the chance to declare that the “Biden recession” is under way.

Wall Street analysts, economists and even some in the Biden administration itself expect a report on Thursday to show the economy shrank for a second straight quarter, meeting a classic — though by no means the only — definition of a recession.

Senior administration officials are hitting the airwaves and arm-twisting reporters in private, imploring anyone who will listen that the economy — despised by majorities of both Republicans and Democrats fed up with inflation — is still healthy.

But White House officials admit that changing people’s minds is a daunting task as the highest inflation in four decades severely cuts into wages even as the economy continues to churn out jobs and Americans keep spending.

Economic Advisers and one of Biden’s longest-serving aides, said in an interview. “What we are trying to do is explain things in a much more nuanced way than most people are getting from the daily news flow.”

Bernstein’s CEA and the Treasury Department are cranking out blog posts and studies arguing that the current post-pandemic moment — while strange and disconcerting to many Americans — is nowhere close to a recession.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen showed up on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday and declared, “This is not an economy that is in recession.” On Monday, senior Biden aide Gene Sperling ventured into hostile territory on Fox News. The next day, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese joined the White House briefing to make the case.

Aides are even quietly praising occasional White House nemesis Larry Summers, the voluble former Treasury secretary who on Monday said on CNN that anyone who says we are in a recession now is “either ignorant” or “looking to make political points.” Summers still believes a recession is likely in the relatively near term.

Biden on Friday afternoon received a briefing from Yellen, Deese, Sperling, CEA Chair Cecilia Rouse, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Budget Director Shalanda Young and Amos Hochstein, coordinator of international energy policy at the State Department.

The lengthy, remote session focused on just how much gas prices are dropping (a White House fixation), the impact of that decline on consumers and continuing geopolitical issues — mainly the war in Ukraine — that could still send oil and gas prices soaring again.

White House press staff are also regularly convening background briefings with economics reporters and senior administration officials to talk up the economy’s strengths, no matter what the GDP numbers say this week.

For their part, Republican leaders sense an opportunity to leverage their already big advantage on the economy as a midterm election issue and ride it to even larger gains in November than polls predict...