Fox News host Bill Hemmer confronted a former top Obama economics official Friday for claiming that skyrocketing inflation and supply chain disruptions are “high class problems.”
What is the background?
Harvard economics professor Jason Furman, who served as chairman of former President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, downplayed current economic woes last week as problems only for American elite.
“Most of the economic problems we’re facing (inflation, supply chains, etc.) are high class problems. We wouldn’t have had them if the unemployment rate was still 10 percent. We would instead have had a much worse problem,” Furman tweeted.
Notably, White House chief of staff Ronald Klain was clobbered on social media after endorsing Furman’s claim. By supporting Furman’s claim, Klain was seemingly attempting to deflect responsibility from President Joe Biden for current economic struggles.
What did Hemmer say?
“Jason, you started a prairie fire yesterday,” Hemmer said. “To paraphrase Jay Leno, what the hell were you thinking?”
Furman, however, defended his claim. He alleged rising inflation is a “good thing” because it means Americans are spending more money.
The problem isn’t that our ports stopped working, it’s that people are buying so much stuff, that so much is trying to come through our ports right now. We have record volumes, you know, that both has a good side, a bad side, you need to keep both those in your head.
Furman went on to admit the U.S. economy “has an inflation problem, and we need to deal with that,” but softened the blow by claiming inflation is up because demand for goods is through the roof.
Hemmer, though, pushed back, grilling Furman over how significantly increased gas prices, for example, is a “high class problem.”
“Middle-class America is paying for that,” Hemmer said.
“Americans are traveling more than they were a year ago. That’s a good thing. Americans are spending more; they’re spending more in restaurants; they’re spending more on sporting goods; they’re spending more on nights out; they’re spending more on travel,” Furman responded. “That’s all a really good thing. That’s what’s most important.”
When asked whether he stands by his “high class problems” remark, Furman did not waiver.
“There’s a good side to what’s going on — people are spending more than they’ve ever spent before — and there’s a bad side to what’s going on,” he said. “When everyone spends more than they’ve ever spent before, that drives prices up.”
Former Obama economist grilled on controversial inflation tweet