White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese on Wednesday pushed for Congress to spend more amid the ongoing record-high inflation.
Deese advised CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the June Consumer Price Index showing that inflation had risen to 9.1% did not “reflect what we’ve seen over the last 30 days,” with gas prices dropping nearly 40 cents.
“[I]t doesn’t reflect what we’ve seen over the last 30 days, which is a significant decline in gas prices, down about 40 cents,” Deese explained. “That June report — about half of it was driven by energy prices, and we’ve seen moderation since. But the second point is that in the core, inflation remains too high, which is why we need action. And I want to underscore if there’s one thing to take away from this report, it’s that there’s more urgency now than ever in Congress moving to pass a bill to try to build more domestic semiconductors, to try to bring down the price of those goods.”
Deese was asked how to break out of the “circle” of more spending driving up inflation.
“I think you have to look at the unique situation that we’re in as an economy and think about how do we build more supply, how do we increase the productive capacity of our economy so that we actually can supply more goods, bring prices down,” he replied. “We know the answer on semiconductors exactly. We need more supply of those goods. You were just talking about housing, same issue.”
Deese added, “Obviously, mortgage rates are going to increase as the Fed continues to tighten. But as we do that, we need to keep homebuilders building supply because we know that at core, the housing issue is a lack of affordable supply. It’s been a decade or more in the making, but as we move through this transition, providing incentives, for example, for builders to continue to build affordable homes, as we do so, that’s out of the traditional box of fiscal, you know, Keynesian fiscal stimulus, it’s more about how do we actually invest to build more capability here in the country that will help bring down prices in areas like semiconductors and housing.”
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