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Expert Proved Biden's Treasury Secretary Dead Wrong on Inflation, His New Warning Shows She Can't See What's Coming

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For the Joe Biden presidency, it was a bad start. For the rest of the country, it’s likely to be a worse week — and November can’t come fast enough.

In a pair of talk shows Sunday, Biden Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Clinton administration secretary Larry Summers offered sharply different views on the shape of the American economy.

One of them is likely to be proven right by the week’s end, and the smart money isn’t on Janet Yellen.

On the normally Biden-friendly CNN, Summers said the battered American economy is almost certainly headed for a recession, the only R-word Democrats must hate more than “Republican” these days.

“I think there’s a very high likelihood of recession,” Summers said during an appearance on CNN. “When we’ve been in this kind of situation before, recession has essentially always followed — when inflation has been high and unemployment has been low.

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“‘Soft landings’ represent a kind of triumph of hope over experience. I think we’re very unlikely to see one.”

Yellen, meanwhile, appeared on the equally Biden-friendly “Meet the Press” on NBC, but not even the typically lapdog Chuck Todd could quite buy her spin that the progressive policies of Biden and Democrats running Congress were not plunging the country into a recession.

After Todd noted that crucial economic data is going to be released this week — the monthly consumer confidence index, the gross domestic product for the second quarter and the consumer price index for June — Todd asked what number, in particular, Yellen and the Biden White House were interested.

Yellen’s response was basically, all of them and none of them. Because she’s already decided that nothing is going to show the country in a “recession.”

If the GDP number for the quarter is negative, Yellen said, it will be the second negative quarter in a row, which is the traditional definition of a “recession.” But that’s not what “recession” is to Biden & Co. — not anymore.

“What a ‘recession’ really means,” she said, “is a broad-based contraction in the economy. And even if that number is negative, we’re not in a recession now, and, um, I would, you know, warn that we should be, um, not characterizing that as a ‘recession.’”

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Showing an unusual burst of interest in getting the truth from a Democrat, Todd called Yellen out for “splitting hairs.”

If the country was in the “technical definition” of a recession, he asked, then how is it not a recession?

“That’s not the technical definition,” Yellen answered, promptly splitting hairs.

“There’s an organization called the National Bureau of Economic Research that looks at a broad range of data in deciding whether or not there is a recession, and … I would be amazed if the NBER would declare this period to be a recession. Even if it happens to have two-quarters of negative growth.”

Well, that might be heartening if Yellen hasn’t shown a dismaying ability to be “amazed” already at her own poor prognostications of the economy.

This is the same treasury secretary, remember, who admitted back in June that she’d been dead wrong about the arc of inflation the country was experiencing.

In a CNN interview at the time, she said there were “unanticipated and large shocks to the economy” that she didn’t understand in 2021.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that there were economists who did understand the shape of the economy.

Do you think the economy is going into a recession?

One of them was Summers. As a key player in the Bill Clinton White House — not to mention a former president of Harvard University — he should be practically royalty to Democrat elites.

But Democrats weren’t listening to him back in November when he said inflation was going to be sticking around (not “transitory” as Biden administration officials insisted).

They weren’t listening to him in March when he called the bizarrely named American Rescue Plan — the “coronavirus relief” monstrosity Democrats passed without a single Republican vote — “the least responsible macroeconomic policy we’ve had in 40 years,” according to a report in The Hill at the time.

And they’re obviously not going to listen to him now, as he fearlessly utters the “R-word” on national television, even in front of an audience of Fareed Zakaria fans.

But who do you want to believe, a Joe Biden apparatchik who’s already admitted she didn’t foresee the inflationary that’s exploded over the United States? Or the outside expert who did — and said so publicly and repeatedly.

Are you going to believe the former Clinton treasury secretary who went on CNN on Sunday to essentially guarantee the country is going into a recession, or a hemming and hawing current treasury chief who tries to pretend she’s not splitting hairs by splitting hairs about a “technical definition” of a recession? Or a guy with a record of being right?

Writing at National Review’s “The Morning Jolt” on Monday, columnist Jim Geraghty summed up the sometimes arcane dispute over nomenclature simply:

“But to the average American, ’recession’ is a synonym for ‘economic hard times — and with inflation at 9.1 percent, lots of Americans feel squeezed,” he wrote.

And when they’re seeing gas prices that have previously been unimaginable becoming the norm (and an out-of-touch president bragging that they’ve come “down”), they know damn well that — whatever word games Yellen and the rest of the president’s men and women want to engage in — the economy is a disaster.

With Democrats controlling both houses of Congress and the White House since January 2021, there is no one for voters to blame — and November’s midterm elections are almost certainly going to bring blame a-plenty.

It’s a good bet the economic numbers released this week are going to be bad. Yellen wouldn’t be disputing a “recession” already if the Biden folks weren’t expecting it.

It’s a better bet that the election numbers for Democrats are going to be worse. Liberal word games don’t fill gas tanks, or pay mortgages, or electric bills.

The only real question is how much damage Democrats can do before November arrives. And that can’t be soon enough.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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