Biden Rejects Ex-Treasury Secretary’s Recession Warning

Biden Rejects Ex-Treasury Secretary's Recession Warning former treasury secretary larry summers Larry Summers (Mike Theiler/AFP via Getty Images)

By Jay Clemons | Monday, 20 June 2022 02:10 PM

President Joe Biden and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers are apparently embroiled in a civil but substantive dispute regarding the state of the United States economy and the threat of a recession.

On Sunday, Newsmax chronicled Summers saying that his "best guess" involved a recession phase, perhaps sooner than later.

"Look, nothing is certain, and all economic forecasts have uncertainty. My best guess is that a recession is ahead," Summers told host Chuck Todd during an appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press."

Summers added, "I base that on the fact that we haven't had a situation like the present with inflation above 4 percent and unemployment beyond 4 percent without a recession following within a year or two."

Biden pushed back against Summers' guess on Monday, with Biden saying he didn't think a recession was a given for the coming months.

"No, I don’t think it is," said Biden, when asked if a recession is more likely than ever. "I was talking to Larry Summers this morning, and there's nothing inevitable about a recession."

The definition of a recession?

According to, it's a "significant decline in economic activity that lasts for months or even years. Experts declare a recession when a nation's economy experiences negative gross domestic product (GDP), rising levels of unemployment, falling retail sales, and contracting measures of income and manufacturing for an extended period of time. Recessions are considered an unavoidable part of the business cycle — or the regular cadence of expansion and contraction that occurs in a nation's economy."

Biden's Monday comments took place near his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where reporters pressed him about cutting health care costs for Americans, along with tax reform steps for combating inflation.

"I think we're gonna be able to get a change in Medicare and a reduction in the cost of insulin," Biden said. "We also can move in a direction that we can provide for tax increases … on those in the corporate area as well as individuals as it relates to [former President Donald] Trump's tax cuts."

"Recession" talk essentially got rolling last Thursday, citing an interview with the Associated Press, when Biden addressed the news of the Federal Reserve increasing national interest rates an extra three-quarters of a point.

"… We're in a stronger position than any nation in the world to overcome this inflation," Biden said Thursday.

Three days later, while appearing on ABC's "This Week," current Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she doesn't believe a recession is "inevitable."

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