“We saw the job report. Only 6,000 jobs will be created in the private sector. And at this rate it will be 10 years before we get to full employment. That’s not an exaggeration,” Biden said on Friday morning in the Oval Office during a meeting house democratic leadership.
“I appreciate you all coming over because – with the urgency with which you move – it’s about people’s lives. It’s not just about numbers,” Biden said. He added that a lot of Americans “really hurt” and that Congress has an opportunity “to do something consistent here”.
Citing lessons from his time working on the Recovery Act during the Obama administration, Biden reiterated, “We can’t do too much here, but we can do too little.”
Warned of issues in the plan that could affect financial stability and the value of the dollar, Summers said that the implementation of the stimulus could result in unprecedented inflationary pressures, emphasizing that the proposed stimulus is three times the projected shortfall .
Biden added, “It’s not just the macroeconomic impact on our economy and our ability to compete internationally. It’s people’s lives. Real, living people hurt and we can fix it.”
The job report released on Friday morning found that 49,000 new jobs were created in January, but the country has still shed nearly 10 million jobs since the coronavirus pandemic. It also showed that the unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, exceeding economists’ expectations. This was the first drop in two months.
Minutes before Biden spoke to reporters on Friday, Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House Economic Advisory Council, also criticized Summers’ assessment.
“I think he’s wrong on this in pretty profound ways, and there’s a way Larry offers a warning that we’ve already heeded … I disagree with the reasoning. We have to make it big and we need to get courageous to finally overcome this crisis, leave this virus behind us for good and finally and reliably initiate a robust, inclusive and racially just recovery, “Bernstein told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “We have said time and time again that the risk of becoming too small is much greater than the risk of too much. That does not mean that the type of work we do does not involve risk, as it always does in business the case is . “
“But what worries Larry here is that inflation is overheating,” added Bernstein. “And right now we have inflation that has been below the Fed’s target rate of 2% for well over a decade.”
Bernstein also said that Summers’ claim that the Biden administration “rejects potential inflationary pressures” was “absolutely wrong”.
CNN’s Betsy Klein and Anneken Tappe contributed to this report.