White House heats up after Biden adviser accused of redefining recession
The White House was accused on Wednesday of “re-defining” the word “recession” after comments from the current White House economic advisor from 2008 resurfaced – which appeared to contradict his comments on the subject just this week.
On Tuesday, Brian Deese insisted that “two negative quarters of GDP growth is not the technical definition of a recession.”
“It’s not the definition that economists have traditionally relied on,” President Biden’s economic adviser said during a guest appearance at a White House briefing.
But on Wednesday, resurfaced comments from Deese from 2008 showed that he used to believe that was the “technical definition” or recession.
“Economists have a technical definition of recession as consisting of two consecutive quarters of negative growth,” Deese said at the time. according to RNC Research.
During Wednesday’s news briefing, Fox News’ Peter Doocy pressed White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on the language switch, asking, “Why are White House officials trying to redefine the recession?”
“No, we are not redefining recession,” stressed Jean-Pierre.
“We all understand the recession as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth in a row, and then White House officials come here to say, this is not a recession, this is something else,” Doocy said. “Why doesn’t this redefine recession?”
“Because that’s not the definition,” the spokesman replied. “That’s not the definition.”
When Doocy pointed out Deese’s 2008 comments and asked “what has changed,” Jean-Pierre spoke repeatedly about the Fox News reporter, saying Deese’s definition at the time was “not” the current definition.
“I can talk about what he said in front of all of you yesterday, which is the last thing you just repeated,” she insisted.
“There are many factors, there are many factors, economic factors and indicators that need to be considered. And I will say that the textbook definition of recession is not two negative quarters of GDP.”
Jean-Pierre then pointed to a “strong job market” and referred to the low unemployment. He said: “You don’t see that in a pre-crisis and you don’t see that in a recession.”
“Since you gave me some quotes. I’ll give you something too,” she continued, reading from prepared fact sheets before interrupting the debate by saying, “I’ll continue.”
The seemingly shaky White House defense comes as many Americans fear a recession is on the horizon as inflation and commodity prices have been skyrocketing for months.
Earlier Wednesday, the Federal Reserve approved another steep 0.75% rate hike as the government tries to rein in record inflation.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell insisted that the US “is not currently in a recession” following the announcement, pointing to “too many areas of the economy that are doing too well”.