by Debra Heine
The White House is being accused of gaslighting the American people with “Soviet levels of propaganda” as Biden officials attempt to change the definition of recession amid economic data that shows the United States is entering into a recession.
A recession is traditionally defined as two consecutive quarters of economic decline.
The GDP in the first quarter of 2022 shrank at an annual pace of -1.6 percent—far worse than the mild increase analysts had expected. The numbers for second-quarter economic growth will be announced Thursday morning, and they are expected to be ugly. The Atlanta Fed is projecting another -1.6% decline, meaning we have officially entered into a recession—unless we broaden the definition of recession.
“What is a recession? While some maintain that two consecutive quarters of falling real GDP constitute a recession, that is neither the official definition nor the way economists evaluate the state of the business cycle,” Biden’s economic team said in a post on the White House website on July 21. “Instead, both official determinations of recessions and economists’ assessment of economic activity are based on a holistic look at the data—including the labor market, consumer and business spending, industrial production, and incomes. Based on these data, it is unlikely that the decline in GDP in the first quarter of this year—even if followed by another GDP decline in the second quarter—indicates a recession.”
The Biden Administration is redefining “recession” in an effort to avoid political backlash.
It’s not a recession if you change the definition of recession.
Soviet-level propaganda from a soviet-level regime. pic.twitter.com/bXtvPpOeD8
— BowTiedRanger (@BowTiedRanger) July 24, 2022
In cable news appearances over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and White House Council of Economic Adviser Jared Bernstein, pounded the regime’s new definition.
“Actually two quarters of negative GDP doesn’t necessarily qualify as a recession,” Bernstein told CNN Saturday night. He went on to insist that the variables that NBER uses to determine whether we are in a recession “tend to look pretty good.”
On Meet the Press Sunday, Yellen insisted that the country is not in a recession, even if it looks and feels like a recession.
“I do want to emphasize: What a recession really means is a broad-based contraction in the economy. And even if that [second-quarter-GDP-growth] number is negative, we are not in a recession now,” Yellen told host Chuck Todd.
The secretary denied that two quarters of contraction is the “technical definition of a recession.”
“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,” she said. “And most of the data that they look at right now continues to be strong. 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. We’ve got a very strong labor market. When you’re creating almost 400,000 jobs a month, that is not a recession.”
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) July 25, 2022
Yellen, it should be noted, was one of the most prominent voices in the Biden regime insisting last year that inflation would be temporary.
NEW: The consumer price index jumped again in July, now up 5.4% year-over-year.
— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) August 12, 2021
Monday morning, Biden’s far-left Director of National Economic Council (NEC) Brian Deese also denied that the country is under a “technical definition” of recession.
“The technical definition considers a much broader spectrum of data points, but in practical terms, what matters to the American is whether they have a little economic breathing room, have more job opportunities, their wages are going up,” Deese said on CNN. “That has been Joe Biden’s focus since coming into office.”
Deese: U.S. food banks struggling to keep up w/ skyrocketing demand & inflation because of "Putin’s invasion of Ukraine" pic.twitter.com/y3HCPv3Hge
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) July 25, 2022
Deese also defended the Biden administration’s destructive energy policies last month, saying they are about “the future of the liberal world order.”
Biden officials keep citing the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) as the ultimate arbiter of recessions, but the NBER “isn’t exactly speedy about these declarations,” National Review’s Jim Geraghty pointed out. “Back in December 2008, it announced that the U.S. was in a recession . . . that had begun almost one year earlier in January 2008,” Geraghty recalled, adding that the low unemployment numbers we currently enjoy do not seem to be a sign of a healthy economy.
It is indeed true that it’s odd to see an economic recession when unemployment is at just 3.6 percent. The other counterargument that the Biden administration keeps trotting out is that companies are hiring, which is usually the opposite of what happens in a recession. As of May, the U.S. had 11.3 million unfilled jobs.
But an unfilled job doesn’t actually produce anything — other than perhaps help-wanted ads — which means that those 11.3 million openings aren’t contributing to the GDP. The Biden administration is pointing to the near-record number of job openings as a sign of economic strength. But all those empty office cubicles, empty spots on the assembly line, unanswered calls, and unfilled wait-staff shifts feel a lot more like a sign of economic weakness.
Conservative pundits called out the Biden regime on social media.
“This is so pathetic,” wrote GOP communicator Matt Whitlock on Twitter. “First, the gall to think you can change long-held definitions to suit your political circumstances. Second, to think this helps the American people who already have huge recession fears and low confidence in the Biden economy. Deck chairs on the Titanic.”
“The Biden admin changed the definition of ‘immunization’ when the covid vaccines didn’t work, changed the definition of ‘woman’ to satisfy the woke mob, and changed the definition of ‘recession’ when they destroyed our economy. Objective truth does not exist with these people,” tweeted CPAC chair Matt Schlapp.
“We have been in a recession since at least July,” tweeted Town Hall’s Katie Pavlich. “Dishonest word spinning from the White House doesn’t change consecutive and negative GDP. It also doesn’t change the painful situation of everyday Americans, caused by Biden’s war on energy.”
“We’re about to see just how much the media is over Biden. If they go along with the Biden Administration’s redefinition of what a recession is after four decades of holding it as 2 quarters of negative growth, the press is dead, and only the propagandists remain,” said radio talk show host Eric Erickson.
Although the corporate media is likely to play along with the ruse, average Americans will not be quite as easy to convince, argued SchiffGold’s Michael Maharrey in a post on Monday. “We all know the economy is a wreck. We’re living it,” he wrote. “But that’s the nature of gaslighting. The whole point is to make you question your own sanity and sense of reality. It’s creepy and Orwellian But that’s what government does.”
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Debra Heine is a regular contributor to American Greatness.
Photo “Joe Biden” by The White House.