A clip of former President Bill Clinton defining a recession as “two quarters in a row” of economic contraction has been circulating on social media, and Republicans are using it to take a dig at President Joe Biden.
The video showed the then president at the White House in December 2000 alongside incoming President George W. Bush answering questions from pooled press. Asked about his fears of a potential recession, Clinton replied by defining the term, saying: “Well, a recession is two quarters in a row of negative growth.”
Sen. Ted Cruz retweeted the clip on Saturday alongside the caption: “Bill Clinton was right.”
Though a recession is usually defined by two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, administration officials have disputed the definition in an apparent deflection on the nation’s current financial woes.
As RTM previously reported, “the Biden administration has been trying to change the definition of recession to lessen the impact of the upcoming economic data releasing Thursday.”
Most people would consider a recession to be when a nation shows back-to-back quarters of negative GDP growth as many definitions define it. However, Biden officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and economic adviser Brian Deese, have argued in recent months that, even should Thursday’s economic information come back showing negative growth for the second quarter in a row, the economy is not necessarily in a recession.
The recent attempts to move the goalposts led Michael Strain, resident scholar and director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, to take to Twitter to point out that each of the past 10 times the economy has experienced two consecutive quarters of negative growth, a recession has, in fact, ultimately been declared.
Strain posed a question to his followers in the tweet, “Question: Out of the past 10 times the U.S. economy has experienced two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, how many times was a recession officially declared? Answer: 10.”
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