Earlier this week, with his administration struggling under the weight of rampant inflation, President Joe Biden tried to assuage Americans’ fears, telling The Associated Press that a recession is not an inevitability.
This, though he acknowledged the public is “really, really down” after a tumultuous two-year pandemic, economic volatility and record-high gas prices.
“First of all, it’s not inevitable,” he said about predictions America is hurtling toward recession. “Secondly, we’re in a stronger position than any nation in the world to overcome this inflation.”
But rosy predictions aside, it seems a majority of Americans don’t just think we’re headed toward economic recession.
We’re already there, they say glumly.
Indeed, 53% of Americans said the U.S. has already entered into a recession in the latest IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index released Friday, as skyrocketing gas and food prices begin hitting communities, Newsweek reported.
Only 20% said they believed the economy was not in a recession, with 25% responding as unsure. In the same survey conducted last month, 48% said the economy was in a downturn, and 23% said the country was not in a recession.
The public’s gloomy response comes after a series of signs indicate that Biden’s economy is in poor shape, including the May consumer price index published a week ago. According to the report, inflation rose 8.6% over the past 12 months when not seasonally adjusted.
New home construction also slowed in April, with mortgage demand declining. Additionally, the supply chain appears to be substantially disrupted, and the stock market has entered bear territory, per The Guardian.
Amid these concerns, Biden on Friday assured that his administration’s rampant COVID-19 spending wasn’t responsible for runaway inflation, dubbed Bidenflation by many critics.
“If it’s my fault, why is it the case in every other major industrial country in the world that inflation is higher? You ask yourself that? I’m not being a wise guy,” Biden told The Associated Press. “Someone should ask themself that question.”
Biden has also consistently blamed the Russian invasion of Ukraine for the historically high price of gas, which, according to AAA, reached a national average of $5 per gallon Friday.
“Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump,” Biden said at a March press conference. “Since [Russian President Vladimir] Putin began his military build-up on the Ukrainian border … the price of the gas at the pump in America went up 75 cents.”
“I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home,” he added.
Americans don’t seem convinced by the White House’s narrative. The latest Fox News Poll released Wednesday showed Biden’s approval on the economy at only 29%, with his approval at handling inflation even lower at 23%.
Arguably more substantial was a survey of 49 economists conducted by the Financial Times and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, in which 68% said they believe a recession will occur next year.