On Monday’s broadcast of CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledged that “Americans still see increases in some important prices, including food, from where we were prior to the pandemic.” And responded to poor polling data on the economy by stating that “it’s our job to explain to Americans what President Biden has done to improve the economy. I think as inflation comes down, prices stop rising, and the labor market remains strong, Americans will begin to see that we have made meaningful progress.”
Co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked, “Thanksgiving is coming up, and some good news at least that we’re hearing in terms of inflation and the price of turkey and what it’s going to cost people at home to buy it, to get through Thanksgiving has come down, but it is still more expensive than where we [were] in 2021. How do you think about where we are in this inflation battle?”
Sorkin then said, “Madam Secretary, it may be good news for Americans, but it doesn’t seem to be showing up in the polls for President Biden, and I also want to read you something. A recent poll by The New York Times and Siena College finding 59% of voters under 30 rate the economy as poor. So, philosophically and sort of intellectually, you can look at a lot of these numbers and say, man, this is a great economy in so many ways on a relative basis to history and the like, but at the same time, you have poll numbers and others saying that they don’t feel it.”
Yellen responded, “I’m aware of that, and I think it’s our job to explain to Americans what President Biden has done to improve the economy. I think as inflation comes down, prices stop rising, and the labor market remains strong, Americans will begin to see that we have made meaningful progress. And importantly, the administration is making investments in America that will show up and improve conditions and more availability of good jobs in many parts of the country that have not seen a lot of progress. We’ve had good economic results on the coasts. Many parts of the country over the last several decades have been left behind, and now, as a result of the trifecta of legislation that’s been passed, the infrastructure bill, the CHIPS and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, we’ve had over $500 billion in manufacturing investments that have been announced. We’re beginning to see some of those come to fruition, a new battery built in the middle of America, in places that really need good jobs, and I think this is really improving America’s prospects over the medium term, and, over time, Americans will see that and feel more hopeful about our prospects.”
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