Joe Biden Refuses to Take Blame for Inflation

President Joe Biden has said high inflation is not his fault and that a recession is not inevitable, in a new interview he gave to the Associated Press (AP) and which was published on Friday.

Biden reportedly became somewhat defensive when asked about inflation, which stood at an annualized rate of 8.6 percent in May, and is now at a 40-year high after dropping slightly in April.

The president pointed to the fact that other countries are also experiencing inflation (although the U.S. annualized rate is one of the highest in the world), and he also touted low unemployment figures.

Biden Speaks at a CEO Summit
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at a session of the CEO Summit of the Americas hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on June 09, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Biden has said high inflation is not his fault in a new interview. Anna Moneymaker//Getty Images

U.S. unemployment is currently 3.6 percent, while Japan's is at 2.3 percent, Germany's is just under three percent, and the U.K.'s is just over four percent.

AP asked Biden if Americans should believe warnings about a possible recession, to which he replied that it was not "inevitable."

"They shouldn't believe a warning," Biden said. "They should just say: 'Let's see. Let's see, which is correct.' And from my perspective, you talked about a recession. First of all, it's not inevitable.

"Secondly, we're in a stronger position than any nation in the world to overcome this inflation. It's bad. Isn't it kind of interesting?" the president said.

"If it's my fault, why is it the case in every other major industrial country in the world that inflation is higher?" he asked. "You ask yourself that? I'm not being a wise guy. Someone should ask themselves that question. Why? Why is it? If it's a consequence of our spending, we've reduced the deficit. We've increased employment, increased pay."

Other developed economies have also seen significant rises in the annualized rate of inflation. For example, the rate of inflation in the U.K. was a 40-year high of nine percent in April.

Earlier in the interview, Biden also rejected suggestions from Republicans that his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, introduced at the beginning of his administration, had exacerbated inflation and resulted in a higher cost of living.

"Zero evidence of that. Zero evidence of that," Biden said, pointing to reductions in the U.S. federal deficit.

"We grow the economy. Today, today, we have more people employed than, in a long, long time and we gained another 8.6 million jobs. And guess what? We still have hundreds of thousands of job openings," the president said.

Biden was also asked about Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's comments that the the $1.9 trillion package may have marginally affected inflation, and he sought to draw a distinction between her view and that of Republicans.

"Now you just said two different things. You said Republicans said I caused inflation," the president told AP. "She said it may have a marginal impact on it. Two different things."

"You could argue whether it had a marginal, minor impact on inflation. I don't think it did. And most economists do not think it did. But the idea that it caused inflation is bizarre," he said.