US Treasury Secy Janet Yellen Concerned Over Rising Living Costs

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has spoken about rising living costs and admitted that times are tough. In a recent interview, Yellen said increases in the price of food and housing are noticeable because they’ve shot up so far over a short period. The Secretary also acknowledged that getting on the property ladder is a significant challenge. “With higher mortgage rates, it’s tough for young people who would like to buy a house to enter the market,” she said. 

Secretary Yellen further noted her concerns that while wages have increased, sometimes more than inflation, voters across America notice only the higher prices in the grocery store. She said they will likely have these in mind when they cast their ballot in November. Recent polls indicate that most Americans believe the country is in recession, adding to Democrat concerns that President Biden is viewed as failing on the economy. 

In a May Harris poll for the Guardian newspaper, 56% said they think the US is in recession, despite figures showing that GDP is up and grew by 1.6% this year. President Biden has consistently stated that America has the world’s fastest-growing economy, but the poll indicated that Americans are unconvinced.                 

Analysts speculate that voters may be confusing recession with inflation, but they note that this will likely make little difference in the November elections. Democrat strategists are, therefore, calling on the President to improve his communications on the issue. 

Obama’s primary strategist, David Axelrod, stated that Biden has enormous problems connecting with the electorate on economic issues. “His desire to claim credit is a huge obstacle,” Axelrod said. He added that facts and figures are often irrelevant, and people’s experiences and cash in their pockets inform their political decision-making. 

Biden’s aides reportedly urged him to empathize more with people’s financial concerns. Jared Bernstein, chair of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, said he must combine this with elaboration of “some very important economic gains that occurred on his watch.”