Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

Perino On Whether The Country Is In A Recession: ‘I Don’t Know’

Posted on

"Perino On Whether The Country Is In A Recession: ‘I Don’t Know’"

Share:

google plus icon

Today, reporters questioned White House Press Secretary Dana Perino on whether the U.S. economy is now in a recession. Perino, however, was unable to answer and became frustrated when reporters continued to push her:

Q Do you think the U.S. economy is in a recession?

MS. PERINO: You know I don’t think that we know. … So I couldn’t say. The classic definition of a recession is not something that we could determine now, or forecast. It’s something that people look back on. [...]

I don’t know — look, April, I don’t know if there’s — if we are in a recession right now. And in fact, there’s no one who could actually tell you if we precisely are in a recession right now. [...]

But I don’t think anybody could tell you right now if we’re in a recession or not. Those are just — those are determinations that come later.

Watch it:

President Bush and his administration have long resisted admitting that the economy is in trouble by quibbling about the technical definition of “recession.” In April, when most economists were saying that the U.S. economy was in a recession, Bush was insisting that it wasn’t. In March, he inexplicably claimed that “when people take a look back at this moment in our economic history, they’ll recognize tax cuts work.”

Even though Perino said that “no one” can say whether the United States is facing a recession, a new National Association of Business Economists poll finds that two-thirds of economists “say the U.S economy is in recession or will be by the end of the year — up from a little over half of those surveyed in May.” Data also indicate that the United States is in a consumer recession and a labor market recession. Even Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has reluctantly admitted this point, although he too has said that a recession is just “a technical term used by people who are economists and make these kinds of judgment.”

Transcript:

Q Do you think the U.S. economy is in a recession?

MS. PERINO: You know I don’t think that we know. Obviously, this next quarter is probably not going to be a very good one. And we know that. But we know that the last quarter we had about a 2-percent* growth, which is not too bad. But obviously, right now we are in a very difficult situation. But we’re working every day to make sure that we effectively put this plan to use so that we can pull up out of it and return to job growth.

So I couldn’t say. The classic definition of a recession is not something that we could determine now, or forecast. It’s something that people look back on. [...]

Q Going back to Ann’s question about a recession, you said, we don’t know. And that’s somewhat — it’s changing, especially from February, when President Bush emphatically said, when I did an interview with him, he said, we’re not in a recession and we’re not going into a recession. He was emphatic about that. What has changed since February to now?

MS. PERINO: Just look at what’s happened. That’s what’s changed, is what’s happened in the market.

Q No, no, I’m not being flippant — I mean, I know things have changed. But he was emphatic, saying we’re not in a recession and we’re not going into one. And just last week you were standing at the podium — you and Tony stood at the podium, saying –

MS. PERINO: I wasn’t here last week.

Q Well, the week before. Okay, let’s –

MS. PERINO: I don’t know — look, April, I don’t know if there’s — if we are in a recession right now. And in fact, there’s no one who could actually tell you if we precisely are in a recession right now.

Q All I’m just saying –

MS. PERINO: Last February, when the President was asked that question — again, if you look at the classical definition of a recession, we were not in it. That doesn’t mean that the President doesn’t understand that people are hurting, or that people are concerned about their savings accounts, or people are concerned about their retirement accounts. But it doesn’t mean that we are necessarily in a recession. And I think we should be careful about throwing around words like that until there’s actually some evidence.

Clearly, right now we’re in a very distressing situation. And next quarter’s growth will not — well, I couldn’t tell you what the number is going to be, but it’s not going to be anything to write home about. So we are realistic in that regard. But I don’t think anybody could tell you right now if we’re in a recession or not. Those are just — those are determinations that come later. But that doesn’t take away from the importance and the gravity and the seriousness of the situation we have — are facing right now.

Update

Today, Steve Forbes said that the United States is in a “serious recession.”

Featured

Tired of being lied to Says: “If you are standing in a boat, and there is water around your waist, you do not have to ask anyone, ‘Are we sinking?’”

« »

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.