Buttigieg on Inflation: We Have ‘Issues’ ‘Associated with’ Unemployment Rates Due to Stimulus

On Tuesday’s “CNN Tonight,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg responded to a question on whether the spending in the American Rescue Plan is partially to blame for inflation by stating that “we have a lot of the issues that are associated with those very low unemployment rates” as a result of the American Rescue Plan.

Host Don Lemon asked, “President Biden is blaming the pandemic and Putin’s war for inflation. But what about that $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan? The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank concluded last year, Secretary, that the stimulus contributed to inflation. Shouldn’t at least part of the blame be placed on that?”

Buttigieg responded, “Look, at that time, the country was facing the continued risk of economic collapse, action had to be taken to bring back the economy, to make sure that Americans had more money in their pockets, that jobs that would have been lost, perhaps forever, were saved. Now, it is true, right now, we have a lot of the issues that are associated with those very low unemployment rates. Right now, we have fewer people on unemployment than we’ve had, I think, since 1970. And when that happens, that does create pressures in labor markets. But if you consider the alternative, the possibility that we could have seen the kind of economic collapse that was a very real risk before the American Rescue Plan, there’s no question that that was the right thing to do. It has saved countless jobs, likely millions and millions of jobs, and it’s one of the reasons why the job creation record of this president in his first year is one that is the most swift creation of jobs in American history.”

Lemon followed up, “But did it contribute to inflation as economists say?”

Buttigieg answered, “Look, I think that historians and economists will be debating the early 2020s and what happened for many years and decades. But right now, we’re still living in that moment. Right now, what we’ve got to do is focus on the tools that are in our hands that will actually help right now.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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