In a typical softball interview with CNN on Tuesday, Joe Biden admitted that there could be a “slight recession” heading toward the American economy. As if to prepare the nation for more bad financial news in advance of the midterm elections next month, Biden said the economy might “move down slightly.”
Host Jake Tapper asked the president if the “American people should prepare for a recession.” He pointed to gas prices that are going back up and the gloomy forecast made by JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon in August of “economic storm clouds” closing in on the country.
Biden said: “I don’t think there will be a recession, and if there is, it’ll be a slight recession, that is, we’ll move down slightly.”
Biden’s claim that he doesn’t believe a recession is coming flies in the face of the objective fact that the U.S. economy has already met the standard definition of being in recession since no later than July. A recession has been described by economists throughout the era of the Federal Reserve as two consecutive quarters of negative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
U.S. GDP fell by 1.6% in the first quarter of 2022 and by 0.6% in the second quarter, marking six months of productive contraction to start the year.
GDP is recognized as a general measure of the overall productivity of all sectors of the U.S. economy, even though it includes government spending, which often has little if anything to do with the actual production of useful goods and services.
The White House and administration officials have spent the summer and early fall arguing that the six consecutive months of contraction no longer count as a “recession.” Instead, they have said that the National Bureau of Economic Research says the definition should be a “significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and that lasts more than a few months.”
It would be a tall order to argue that the more vague definition offered by Biden does not also fit current circumstances. However, it is certain the government will find any number of “experts” who will say that there is no recession.