Treasury Secretary Yellen Won’t Rule out Recession, Talks China but Doesn’t Say Much


Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who is currently in China on a busy visit, started the proceedings off by bowing repeatedly in front of Chinese Vice-Premier He Lifeng, in Beijing. It’s not exactly a display of strength is it?

She embarrassed herself further by mispronouncing his name.

She spoke to Margaret Brennan from Beijing on Sunday’s “Face the Nation”, and discussed the U.S. China relationship and our future economic prospects. Brennan asked when “economic growth” will return to the level it was prior to the pandemic. I could have replied for Yellen: “When we get a Republican president.”

Yellen has her own opinions:

You know, before the pandemic, the [Trump] economic system was at full employment with low unemployment rates and a moderate growth rate. The pandemic caused a massive contraction of our economy and job losses.

As the recovery progressed, thanks to President Biden’s economic policies and our success in our vaccination campaign, there was an extremely rapid, dramatic rebound on the labor market.

Biden’s economic policy? Biden’s economic policies? I’m not sure what she means by the COVID vaccines being successful. They didn’t work as promised and no one wanted them anymore. The labor market has recovered as a result of the artificial stifling of the economy by federal and state mandates and lockdowns. In April, the Biden administration ended the national emergency (months or even years later than it should have).

Brenna asked whether the recession threat was no longer on the table. Yellen said that it might still happen:

The possibility is not totally off the table. We would expect a slower rate of job growth, given the current strength of the job market. The prime-age labor force is at its highest level for several decades. This strong job market has brought workers back. As long as this level of participation remains high, the job growth will return to a normal level.

It is true that the economy has improved after the pandemic. Biden’s extravagant spending has pushed inflation up to levels where many Americans, if they are not the majority, don’t think that it is doing well. CNBC’s All-America Economic Survey, conducted in April, showed that an astonishing 69 percent of respondents had a negative view of the economy. In the same poll, 62 percent disapproved of President Biden’s handling of the economy. Only 34 percent approved.

Yellen spoke extensively with Brennan about China’s desire to dominate the global stage. The treasury secretary avoided most specifics and evaded questions regarding the spy balloon or other aggressive CCP behavior. She painted a picture of mutual co-operation that was rosy.

I attended the meeting in Bali between President Xi, President Biden, and both expressed the view that the world was big enough for our countries to flourish, to work together on global challenges and to develop a meaningful relationship. We also agreed that it was important to stabilize our relationship in order to achieve this.

Yellen’s conversation lasted for more than 15 minute, but she kept her cards close and spoke in generalities, never giving specifics. She was trying to be diplomatic and not label Chinese President Xi Jinping a “dictator” like her boss recently did, but she lacked strength.

She lost the battle as soon as she bowed to the vice premier.