Trump WH Economist to Newsmax: New Inflation Numbers 'Pretty Depressing' (Newsmax/"American Agenda")
By Jay Clemons | Thursday, 13 October 2022 03:50 PM EDT
Tomas J. Philipson, the former acting chairman of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers during the Trump administration, had a blunt response to whether America was in a recession, while appearing on Newsmax Thursday.
From Philipson's perspective, the average American might be indifferent to the nation's Gross Domestic Product posting negative growth for back-to-back quarters. Instead, the people are focused on their hard-earned dollar stretching further than this time last year.
Americans "couldn't care less about economists arguing about whether or not we're in a recession," said Philipson, while appearing on "American Agenda" with hosts Bob Sellers and Katrina Szish.
"The people care about the decline. … If the people's paychecks cannot buy as much as it could a year ago" or 18 months ago. "That's what matters," said Philipson, currently an economist at the University of Chicago.
Philipson was also quick to note: Thursday's inflation number for September — 8.2% over this time last year — leaves out two vital staples for American consumers.
"It's pretty depressing, because the core inflation [numbers] don't include food and energy," says Philipson.
In other words, the government may claim inflation has gone up only 8.2%, but Philipson says that number could be substantially higher when Americans regularly stop to purchase gasoline, or hit the grocery chains for soaring food prices — particularly meat and eggs.
On Thursday, the Biden White House announced a boost in Social Security payments for 2023 — at 8.7% — the highest rise in 40 years.
However, Philipson cautions that senior citizens, and especially the elderly, likely won't experience any benefits from the increased payments, due to higher inflation (averaging 8.5% in recent months).
"All the inflation is a direct reduction in [seniors'] standard of living," says Philipson. "Wow, 8.5% … that's an enormous hit."
Philipson then reminded the Newsmax audience the boost in Social Security payments was adjusted to the Consumer Price Index, but doesn't necessarily account for wage-to-population increases.
"All this [White House] talk about a 'soft landing' is kind of irrelevant to [seniors]. They basically hard-landed a long time ago," said Philipson, while adding that Democrats "have taken a huge hit with fixed-income population. … Relative to population increases, I don't think people realize how dire it is."
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