Jason Furman, Harvard’s Aetna professor of economic policy, said the country would not face these issues if unemployment were still 10%, an apparent reference to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell’s comments earlier this year, when he said unemployment in January was around that figure.
Furman said that if this unemployment were still a reality, the country “would have had a much worse problem.”
Conservatives on social media took issue with Klein’s retweet, claiming that he was in effect downplaying the hardships that some Americans experience.
“Struggling to pay for food, fuel and housing due to rising prices is not a ‘high-class problem,'” Tommy Pigott, director of the Republican National Committee’s quick response, tweeted. “The bite makes everyone worse off, but instead of stopping the damage, their strategy is to try to turn on the Americans.”
Klain did not immediately respond to an email from Fox News after hours.
President Biden on Wednesday announced an agreement to expand operations in the Port of Los Angeles as prices continue to rise and container ships are waiting to dock in a traffic jam that threatens the U.S. economy and holiday shopping.
Prices are skyrocketing because container ships are stranded in ports and unloaded goods are waiting for trucks, leading to mass shortages and delays that have caused a longer-than-expected bout of inflation.
The rising costs are eroding wages for workers, creating a drag on growth and driving Republican criticism of Biden, just as his multibillion-dollar tax, economic, climate and infrastructure agenda goes through the crucible of congressional negotiations.
Furman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News. He engaged a commentator who said that unemployment generally affects a small percentage of the total population, while “inflation is noticed and felt by everyone.”
Furman said his previous post was not political analysis, but rather his “social judgment”.
“That said, unemployment is always politically expensive in a way that is confusing given your blatantly true statement,” he said. “2009 was a good year for the 140 million people with jobs, most of whom got big real increases. But it didn’t feel good.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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