Former President Donald Trump has warned Americans to brace for something “a lot worse than a recession” while blaming the Biden administration’s poor stewardship of the economy for soaring inflation and denouncing the tax hikes in the latest Democrat spending bill.
Trump made the remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas on Saturday, where the former president raised the alarm on the state of the union.
“Our country is being shot. It’s being destroyed,” Trump told attendees, while touting his administration’s record on the economy and national security.
Trump spoke of “creating the most secure border in American history, record tax and regulation cuts, $1.87 gasoline, no inflation, low interest rates, record growth in real wages, record growth in our economy.”
Soaring Inflation, Recession
During Trump’s tenure, the highest the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation gauge came in at was 2.9 percent in July 2018, while in his final month in office, January 2021, inflation clocked in at 1.4 percent.
Under Biden, inflation has climbed steadily, soaring 9.1 percent year-over-year in June 2022, a figure not seen in more than 40 years.
In his speech, Trump drew a contrast with the economy under President Joe Biden, blaming the president for the highest inflation in decades that Trump estimates is costing American families as much as $7,000 a year.
“After the pandemic, we handed the radical Democrats the fastest economic recovery ever recorded, the history of our country, ever recorded,” Trump continued. “They’ve turned that into two straight quarters of negative economic growth, also known, despite their protestation to the contrary, as a recession.”
Two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth are a common rule-of-thumb definition for a recession, although recessions in the United States are officially declared by a committee of economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) using a broader definition than the two-quarter rule.
Despite a number of economists arguing that the United States is in a recession based on the two-consecutive-quarters rule, the Biden administration insists that the economy isn’t in a recession, citing NBER’s consideration of a broader range of indicators.
A key argument against recession made by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and others in the Biden administration is that the U.S. labor market remains tight, with unemployment at 3.5 percent and, at 10.7 million, the number of job openings remaining well above the 6 million or so people classified as unemployed.
By Tom Ozimek