Washington (AFP) – President Joe Biden said Thursday that the American people are “really, really disappointed” after two turbulent years with the coronavirus pandemic.fluctuations in the economy Now the price of gasoline is going up that criticize family budgets. But he stressed that recession was “not inevitable” and hoped to give the country a greater sense of confidence.
Speaking to the Associated Press in a 30-minute Oval Office interview, the president emphasized the battered economy he inherited and the ongoing psychological scars caused by the pandemic that has disrupted people’s sense of identity. He was alarmed by Republican lawmakers’ claims that last year’s COVID-19 aid plan was entirely responsible for driving inflation to a 40-year high, calling the argument “weird.”
As for the general American mentality, Biden said, “People are really frustrated.”
“Their need for mental health in America went up exponentially because people saw everything as depressing,” Biden said. “Everything they depended on was upset. But most of it is a result of what happened, and what happened as a result of the COVID crisis.”
This pessimism has carried over to the economy as record prices at the pump and persistent inflation threaten the ability of Democrats to hold onto the House and Senate in the midterm elections. Biden addressed economists’ warnings that fighting inflation could push the US into a recession.
“First of all, this is not inevitable,” he said. “Secondly, we are in a stronger position than any country in the world to beat this inflation.”
As for the causes of inflation, Biden has shown some defensiveness in this regard. “If it’s my fault, why is inflation higher in every other major industrial country in the world? Ask yourself that? I’m not a wise man,” he said.
The president said he sees reason for optimism with the 3.6% unemployment rate and America’s relative strength in the world.
But restoring confidence so far has eluded Biden, whose approval ratings have been steadily declining as he has lost support among Democrats and has insufficient evidence to show he can restore a sense of bipartisan normalcy for Washington.
Biden’s Oval Office is filled with pictures of presidents who have faced crises that have endangered the country, and the president has acknowledged similarities with his situation. A portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt hangs above his fireplace, a highlight because historian John Meacham told Biden that no president has ever held office with the economy in such dire circumstances. There is also a painting of Abraham Lincoln, who becomes president of a brutally divided nation on the verge of civil war.
However, Biden’s treatment is not much different from the diagnosis made by former President Jimmy Carter in 1979, when the US economy was crippled by stagflation. Carter said the United States was experiencing a “crisis of confidence” and “the erosion of our confidence in the future threatens to destroy the social and political fabric of America.”
The president said he wanted to give the United States more vitality, fortitude, and courage.
“Be confident,” Biden said. “Because I am confident. We are in a better position than any country in the world to own the second quarter of the twenty-first century.”
Biden’s sombre assessment of the national psyche comes as voters are nervous about his job performance and the direction of the country. Only 39% of US adults approve of Biden’s performance as president, according to a May poll From the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Research, retracting negative reviews a month ago.
Overall, about 2 in 10 adults said the US was going in the right direction or the economy was doing well, both down from about 3 in 10 in April. Those declines were concentrated among Democrats, with only 33% within the president’s party saying the country was heading in the right direction.
Biden said the Republican Party’s social policies are contributing to public concern. He noted that GOP lawmakers could face midterm consequences if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, potentially removing national protections for abortion access. The president said voters would consider “this Republican Party’s failure to prepare” to respond to “the country’s fundamental social concerns.”
The president outlined some of the tough choices he faced, saying the United States needed to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February even though tough sanctions imposed as a result of that war caused gas prices to soar, creating a political situation. Danger to Biden in the election year. He called on oil companies to think about the world’s short-term needs and increase production.
When asked why he issued the financial sanctions against Moscow that have disrupted food and energy markets globally, Biden said he made his calculations as commander in chief and not as a politician contemplating elections.
He said, “I am the President of the United States.” It’s not about my political survival. It’s about what’s best for the country. Don’t joke. Don’t joke. So what happens? What happens if the most powerful force, NATO, the organizational structure we put together, walks away from Russian aggression?
Biden revealed the potential for chaos in Europe if Russia continues unhindered to move deeper into the continent, and encouraged China to seize Taiwan North Korea is becoming more and more aggressive with its ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons.
Biden renewed his claim that the major oil companies They benefited from higher prices without increasing production as much as they should. He said companies need to think about the world in the short term, not just their investors.
“Don’t just reward yourself,” he said.
Consumer prices It has jumped 8.6% over the past year, the biggest rise in more than 40 years. Republican lawmakers said Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package from last year started a spiral of price increases.
There is no evidence for that claim, the president said, noting that other countries have fetched higher prices as economies reopen and people get vaccinated. However, Biden acknowledged Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s claim That spending had a limited inflationary effect.
“You could argue whether it has a marginal or secondary effect on inflation,” he said. “I don’t think it happened. And most economists don’t….but the idea that it caused inflation is strange.”
However, high inflation created a dilemma for Biden. He has prioritized bringing back millions of jobs and has seen the unemployment rate return to levels close to pre-pandemic levels. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate, hoping to slow the economy and reduce inflation to its 2% target.
The Fed’s policy tightening caused financial markets into recession and led many economists to warn of a possible recession next year. The president encouraged Americans to be patient.
“They shouldn’t believe a warning,” he said. “They should just say: Let’s see. Let’s see what is right.”
The president is still trying to steer his domestic agenda through Congress, after an earlier iteration last year failed to liquidate the Senate 50-50. Biden said “I think I have the votes” to lower prescription drug prices, lower family utility bills with tax incentives and introduce a minimum corporate tax of 15%. He said his plans would cut expenses for many Americans, although the measure would be curtailed from previous intentions to expand the child tax credit, comprehensive pre-kindergarten programs and other programs.
“I will be able to have, God willing, the ability to pay for prescription drugs,” Biden said. “There is more than one way to reduce the cost of workers.”
Then Biden, acknowledging his political limitations, added, “I can’t get everything done.”