Biden’s National Economic Council Director Brian Deese painted a gloomy picture of the economy on Sunday as he argued for the need for more stimulus spending.
Despite strong jobs numbers for March and additional signs of economic improvement in the economy, Deese told Fox News that, “we still are down 8.4 million jobs from where we were a year ago. We have millions of people out of work. More than two million women have left the labor force because they’ve had to choose between caring for their family members and their jobs. And so we have a long way to go. What our plan says is let’s keep the economy going. Let’s see more job creation.”
Congress approved $1.9 trillion in stimulus last month and Biden is now pushing for an additional $2 trillion in “infrastructure spending.” Biden also intends to ask Congress for an additional $2 trillion to help pay for a health care and child care package in the coming months.
It’s a record amount of spending that some economists, including former Clinton Treasury secretary Larry Summers says is reckless and may lead to massive problems in the years ahead.
“The economy and virus are spiraling downward. Now’s the time to act,” insists Deese.
In actuality, recent data points to a recovering economy. The unemployment rate fell to 6.0%, as the economy added more than 900,000 jobs last month. Manufacturing data and consumer sentiment numbers have also show significant improvement.
But, it’s not just about the here and now for Deese–it’s about an overall shift in the economy for the future.
“Let’s also think to the longer term about where those investments that we can make that will really drive not just more job growth, but better job growth, not just job growth in the short term, but job growth in the long term by investing in our infrastructure, by investing in our research and development in a way that we haven’t since the nineteen sixties,” said the former head of ‘Global Sustainable Investing’ (the green energy arm) at the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock.
“If we do that, we think we can not only have a strong job rebound this year, but we could sustain it over many years. That’s the goal.”
When pushed by host Chris Wallace on why $400 billion for elderly care and $213 billion on affordable housing was included in an ‘infrastructure’ bill, Deese said, “We really need to update what we mean by infrastructure for the 21st century.” He continued explaining that affordable housing is infrastructure because it’s construction. Elderly care will include construction for facilities for the elderly and young, as well calling it, “the infrastructure of care.”