Janet Yellen Will Set Out Thursday on ‘Economic Victory Tour’

Whom, though, is one to believe?

AP/Susan Walsh
The treasury secretary, Janet Yellen. AP/Susan Walsh

President Biden’s secretary of the treasury, Janet Yellen, will supposedly be launching on Thursday at Detroit a month-long economic victory lap to counterprogram the reality of America’s economic malaise. 

In an article headlined “Yellen Kicks Off Monthlong Economic Victory Tour,” Axios reported learning, “Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will deliver a major economic speech … to sell President Biden’s signature legislative achievements before the midterms.”

The strategy recalls a famous scene from the 1933 Marx Brothers film “Duck Soup,” in which a character tells Chico Marx, “But I saw you with my own eyes,” to which he responds, “Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?” 

Washington may look at passing laws and spending and see victories, but each time Americans look at their incredible shrinking 401(k)s, stock portfolios, and buying power, their eyes tell them a different story. 

Mr. Biden’s orgy of printed money — $1 trillion last month alone, between the student loan giveaway and so-called Inflation Reduction Act — promises to make the problem of consumer price inflation worse, and Americans see that too.

Ms. Yellen will spike the football on legislation designed to inflate the economy, such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and the CHIPS Act, which Bloomberg News warned could turn into a “$280 billion boondoggle.”  

The secretary will also tout statistics on the low unemployment, though Americans can see those for what they are, too. As the Washington Post laid out, the labor shortage is yet another crisis hiding in plain sight.

“There are nearly 11.3 million unfilled jobs in the United States today,” the Post reckons, and “60 percent of small businesses can’t find workers to fill open jobs.”

A recent Monmouth University poll finds Americans of voting age are blind to the rosy scenarios painted by the administration, with inflation the top concern for 33 percent.

That concern was followed by gas prices at 15 percent, the economy at 9 percent, and “everyday bills, groceries, etc.” at 6 percent, for a total of 63 percent who’ll see the administration’s victory dance as a slap in the face — if Republicans are smart enough to make the case.

Ms. Yellen is also infamous for her insistence that inflation would be “transitory,” which is to say the hoi polloi should grin and bear it because it’d be over soon.

Inflation, though, is still raging, which Ms. Yellen had to admit in a July appearance before the Senate Finance Committee, when the facts and figures defeated even her powers of denial.

In a June CNN interview, the secretary said, of dismissing inflation in 2021, she was “wrong then about the path that inflation would take” due to “unanticipated and large shocks to the economy that have boosted energy and food prices, and supply bottlenecks that have affected our economy badly that I didn’t at the time fully understand.” 

Well, if she didn’t understand then, why should Americans put stock in her month-long series of economic pep talks now? She’s as laughable as super-fans of the New York Jets, who every preseason since their 1969 victory in Super Bowl III have declared that this is the year they return to glory despite the team’s perennial shortcomings.

No amount of spin is going to bring down the cost of groceries or gasoline. The reality is that only policies promoting sound money and getting citizens back to work can accomplish that.

Like generations of loyal players on Gang Green, Ms. Yellen is willing to run the ball whatever the odds, and who can blame her? With the success the administration has had in redefining “recession” as no longer two quarters of negative growth, she just might reach the end zone. 

So the administration is telephoning the former chairman of the Federal Reserve. It sees her as its best cheerleader for warmed-over promises that economic boom times are just around the corner. 

In the face of all this manifest economic malaise, the best response the Biden administration can come up with is more spending and a defiant question: Who are you going to believe, Janet Yellen or your own eyes?

The New York Sun

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