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AS THE ECONOMY collapsed in 1970s Romania, communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu weaponized his state media apparatus to claim that the country was experiencing record levels of growth. In reality, things were so bad that Ceaucescu’s apparatchiks were so short on fresh produce that they would fill markets full of wooden “food” for the purposes of state media. The crisis became so severe that by the time Ceaucescu was toppled and consequently executed in 1989, the country was experiencing a widespread famine.
Things are fortunately not so severe in the United States. Yet last week, the latest economic data was unambiguous. The country has now experienced two-quarters of negative growth, meaning we are in a period known as an economic recession. As noted by the Oxford English Dictionary, the term refers to a “period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.”
Although such a decline in economic activity can be attributed to a range of factors, the individual who must ultimately shoulder the most responsibility is the president himself. Yet like Ceausescu, Biden is refusing to accept the economic reality. “That doesn’t sound like a recession to me,” Biden snapped at reporters at a press conference on Monday, before walking out the room.
Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen similarly sought to dismiss the label. “Most economists and most Americans have a similar definition of recession — substantial job losses and mass layoffs, businesses shutting down, private sector activity slowing considerably, family budgets under immense strain,” she told a press briefing. “In sum, a broad-based weakening of our economy. That is not what we’re seeing right now.”
Meanwhile, John Harwood, the White House Correspondent at CNN (the unofficial propaganda arm of the Biden administration), also attempted to play down claims of a recession on behalf of his bosses. Describing it as a “silly debate,” Harwood claims that recent job numbers make it “pretty clear” that the U.S. is not in recession.
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The debate about the current strength of the American economy may well be nuanced. Yet the steadfast refusal of Biden and his most senior officials to accept this basic reality is typical of an administration that plays fast and loose with the truth. Indeed, such behavior is more reminiscent of a tyrant like Ceaucescu than a man who during his presidential campaign promised to “take responsibility instead of blaming others.”
Note: This article originally appeared in El American’s newsletter on August 7, 2022.
Ben Kew is English Editor of El American. He studied politics and modern languages at the University of Bristol where he developed a passion for the Americas and anti-communist movements. He previously worked as a national security correspondent for Breitbart News. He has also written for The Spectator, Spiked, PanAm Post, and The Independent
Ben Kew es editor en inglés de El American. Estudió política y lenguas modernas en la Universidad de Bristol, donde desarrolló una pasión por las Américas y los movimientos anticomunistas. Anteriormente trabajó como corresponsal de seguridad nacional para Breitbart News. También ha escrito para The Spectator, Spiked, PanAm Post y The Independent.