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Biden scrambles to paint misleading picture of economy one week from the midterms
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President Biden and White House officials have frantically scrambled to downplay Americans' economic concerns on inflation and gas prices as the midterm election quickly approaches.
Over the last few weeks, the White House has suggested the U.S. is in the midst of a "historic" economic recovery, that the narrative gas prices are high is false and that the economy is set for a "soft land," not a recession.
Biden and his top advisers have also touted Democrats' big-spending packages on infrastructure and climate as key measures boosting economic productivity and blunting record price increases.
"Today we got further evidence that our economic recovery is continuing to power forward," Biden said in a statement on Thursday after the Department of Commerce published a key economic report. "This is a testament to the resilience of the American people. As I have said before, it is never a good bet to bet against the American people."
"Even with our historic economic recovery, gas prices are falling – down $1.26 since the summer, and down over the last three weeks," he continued.
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The Commerce Department report Thursday showed U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annualized rate of 2.6% during the third quarter, the period from July to September. The GDP had shown negative growth during the first two quarters of the year.
Also in response to the report, Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, retweeted a post from Mark Zandi, an economist at the firm Moody's Analytics, who argued the GDP growth was evidence a recession was less likely.
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"Last week’s data suggest that the economy is on script to soft land. GDP posted a solid gain in Q3, further dispelling concerns we have suffered a recession," Zandi wrote. "And while GDP has gone nowhere this year despite the Q3 gain, that’s what’s needed to quell inflation without a recession."
Biden also told reporters the economy is "strong as hell" and downplayed inflation concerns when speaking to reporters on Oct. 16. A week later, Klain characterized economic concerns as "noise."
However, many economists, including a majority recently surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics, believe the U.S. has already entered a recession or will likely soon enter a recession. And economists polled by The Wall Street Journal in mid-October said there was a 63% chance of a recession within the next 12 months.