Janet Yellen, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury at Clinton Global Initiative summit at Hilton Midtown Hotel.
Lev Radin | Lightrocket | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday said there is a “disconnect” between the actual performance of the U.S. economy and how Americans feel about how President Joe Biden has handled it.
The negative opinions that Americans share in polls on the economy “mainly reflects their answers on how is the economy more broadly doing,” Yellen said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
But she predicted that people will start to feel more positive about the overall economy once they see the effects of Biden administration legislation and policies.
“It’s going to take some time. We’ve had a trifecta of legislation that President Biden and Congress have passed,” Yellen said.
“We’re investing in America in ways we haven’t for decades.”
Approximately 3 in 5 respondents to a Wall Street Journal poll of registered voters disapproved of Biden’s performance in handling the economy. And 63% reported they did not like how the president has handled inflation.
In an earlier poll, only 36% of adults approved of Biden’s job on the economy, while 42% approved of his overall job performance, according to The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The results are particularly unwelcome for Biden, as he is seeking reelection next year.
Katty Kay, BBC News special correspondent, noted that inflation and unemployment are decreasing as she asked Yellen to “answer the riddle that the White House is finding so befuddling,” which is why “those good numbers” are not being reflected in polling.
Yellen replied, “I agree with you that there’s a disconnect and I don’t have a simple and convincing answer.”
“But Americans have been through a lot,” Yellen said. “The pandemic really took a toll on American families, on children and households.”
“We are enjoying a remarkable recovery but also with high inflation, much of it reflecting supply bottlenecks that developed during the pandemic and then with Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine.”
But Yellen said a downswing in inflation, combined with more jobs, will bolster the post-pandemic recovery.
The 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act will spur massive infrastructure improvements and grow the “clean energy economy” as well as manufacturing, she predicted.
“We’ve seen since the beginning of the Biden administration, $500 billion worth of investment in manufacturing that has been announced and is being undertaken, that is going to be creating a really good set of manufacturing jobs throughout the country, and particularly in areas that have been missing out on growth and seeing declining wages for a long time,” she said.