Ronald Klain, the White House chief of staff, was criticized online Thursday night after retweeting a message from a Harvard professor that summed up our main economic problems as “high class problems.”
Jason Furman, Aetna professor at Harvard on the practice of economic policy, said the country would not face these problems if the unemployment rate was still 10%, an apparent reference to comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell earlier this year when he said the unemployment rate in January was around that number.
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Furman said if this unemployment rate were still a reality, the country would “have had a much worse problem.”
Conservatives on social media took issue with Klain’s retweet, saying it actually downplayed the difficulties some Americans face.
“Struggling to pay for food, fuel and shelter because of the rising prices is not a ‘high class problem’,” tweeted Tommy Pigott, director of the rapid response of the Republican National Committee. “Biden makes everyone’s situation worse, but instead of stopping the damage, their strategy is to try to enlighten the Americans.”
Klain did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a deal to expand operations at the Port of Los Angeles as prices continue to climb and container ships wait to dock in a traffic jam threatening the U.S. economy and holiday shopping.
Prices are rising in large part because container ships are stranded at ports and because goods unloaded await trucks, leading to massive shortages and delays that have caused inflation to surge longer than expected.
Rising costs eat away at workers’ wages, hold back growth, and spark Republican criticism of Biden, just as his multibillion-dollar tax, economic, climate and infrastructure agenda cuts through the crucible of negotiations in Congress.
Furman did not immediately respond to an email from Fox News. He hired a commentator who said unemployment typically affects a small percentage of the overall population while “inflation is noticed and felt by everyone.”
Furman said his previous post was not political analysis, but rather his “social judgment.”
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“That said, unemployment is still politically costly in a way that is puzzling given your blatantly true statement. 2009 was a great year for the 140 million people with jobs, most of whom got real big increases. . But was not feeling well. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report