Back in 2019, when Donald Trump was in the White House, CNN White House correspondent John Harwood believed that a recession is when there are two quarters of economic shrinkage. Oh, how times have changed. Under President Joe Biden, after two quarters of economic shrinkage, Harwood not only believes that we’re not in a recession, but that “this is a very strong economy”:

Transcript:

“Well, politically, at this moment, this is a very good report for President Biden. First of all, we had, a couple of weeks ago, a silly extended debate over whether or not we were in a recession. These numbers make pretty clear that we are not in a recession. You don’t add half a million jobs when, in a recessionary environment, makes it more likely that that first quarter GDP number’s gonna get revised up and not be negative as it was in the initial report. There’s nothing presidents like better than adding a lot of jobs and being able to tell Americans it’s a great time to go out and get a job. The flip side, of course, as Mark just referred to, is, uh, it means a hot economy. And because both President Biden and the Fed have indicated that getting inflation down is a top priority. Remember, inflation has been a huge political problem for President Biden. That means the Fed is likely to have to be, uh, continue to be very aggressive in terms of raising interest rates. Now, in the immediate term, uh, uh, the economy is in quite good shape. But it does, uh, present the possibility that if the Fed slams on the brakes, uh, too abruptly, not skillfully enough, you could end up in a recession, either late this year or in early 2023. But right now, this is a, uh, very strong economy, very strong labor market. The president’s gonna, uh, crow about that today.”

Not if John Harwood crows about it first! Oh, wait. He already did. Because of course he did.

The debate over whether or not we were in a recession was only “silly” in that media hacks like John Harwood were willing and eager to go along with the White House and attempt to change the definition of “recession.” We are not witnessing, contra John Harwood, a very strong economy or very strong labor market.

That’s not a labor force participation rate you’d expect to see in a booming economy. Jobs that re-emerged after COVID do not count as jobs created, and if people aren’t taking those jobs, then what is there to crow about?

Maybe it has something to do with the public having eyes and ears and knowing that they’re being lied to? Just a hunch.

Stay tuned! The way things are going, we’ll find out soon enough.

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Related:

CNN’s John Harwood notes that most households ‘have a cash cushion’ to navigate through inflation