The Biden administration said for weeks on end that a recession is “not inevitable,” and now their meaning is clear. When it comes, as it may well this week, the White House will simply change the definition of recession.
No, there’s nothing Soviet or 1984ish about this propaganda coup the Democrats in Washington want to pull off. No sleight of hand, no “voodoo economics” — to dig up Bush Sr.’s old phrase — and no outright lying to the American people.
On Thursday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis is expected to release the nation’s second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP). If it follows the footsteps of the first quarter, Democrats have to campaign on a recessionary economy for the midterms and beyond.
The first quarter GDP decreased by an annual rate of 1.6%. By definition of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a second consecutive quarter of negative growth means the country is in a recession.
Clearly the Democratic party must avoid this at all costs, and redefining what a recession actually is may be their only hope. The race is on to make that a reality.
White House Council of Economic Advisers chair Cecelia Rouse tried to get ahead of the curve last week. In a blog post, she said that several other indicators show the nation is not going through a recessionary economy.
Among her points are the strong job market, consumer spending, and industrial production. She also noted another recessionary “rule of thumb” — as opposed to the actual rule — involves average unemployment rate.
The term Democrats now prefer is “by most measures.”
This point was hammered home on the Sunday talk circuit by White House officials trying to preempt possible bad news this week. National Economic Council Director Brian Deese told “Fox News Sunday” that people are underestimating the “strength and resilience” of the economy.
Treasury Secretary Janet “inflation is only transitory” Yellen said on ABC’s “This Week” that she expects the economy to slow. However, the labor market and reaching full employment means the U.S. is in a period of “transition to steady and stable growth.”
All of this is a word salad for telling the American people that what they see is not what they see. The numbers may or may not show a second negative GDP quarter, but no sleight of hand erases what voters know. The nation is struggling under crushing inflation, and it has not improved.