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CNN White House correspondent John Harwood was flamed by critics over the weekend for minimizing the effects of inflation on American families and claiming they had not “been ‘crushed’ badly enough” to stop them from spending money.
“In Washington debate, inflation is ‘crushing’ families[.] [I]n real life, pandemic relief has eased the pain,” the liberal journalist wrote in a Sunday tweet, linking to an article he authored headlined, “Why Washington can’t have an honest debate about inflation.”
In the piece, Harwood claimed the political conversation surrounding inflation was “largely a charade,” and that families, rich and poor, still had more money than they did before the pandemic because of the checks issued as part of the coronavirus relief packages in 2020 and 2021.
“They have not been ‘crushed’ badly enough to prevent them from spending at a steady pace,” he added, before citing economist Mark Zandi who, according to Harwood, said “American households are for the most part in a good financial place. “
Despite later claiming the White House didn’t have much power when it came to the ability to bring down the price of goods, and describing the inflation debate as “largely phony,” he admitted that presidential policies did have the ability to make inflation worse .
He pointed to the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plansigned into law by President Biden not long after taking office, as something economists agreed “exacerbated inflation somewhat by over-stimulating consumer demand,” and that because of that, Republicans “had a point” in their criticism of the administration’s role in rising inflation.
Critics took to social media to blast Harwood, with some arguing he was “insulting to struggling families,” and others that he was living in “a bubble” and out of touch with everyday Americans.
“This is what a real ‘mean tweet’ looks like,” wrote FOX Business host Charles Paynewhile National Review’s Dan McLaughlin asked, “Have you talked to a human being recently?”
Former Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wrote that “the only thing worse than living in a bubble is living in a bubble and justifying their ignorance of real life by referencing ‘experts’ who live in a bubble.”
“Stop being a hack and insulting to struggling families,” wrote NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck, while journalist Scot Bertrum tweeted, “This take is quite literally unbelievable. As in, no sentient being will believe it.”
Journalist Stephen Miller tweeted a screenshot of a separate tweet from CNBC on Saturday showing its reporting that American families actually had “an average of $9,000 less in savings than they did last year,” despite Harwood’s claim that savings was what was preventing inflation from hurting families.
“This is bananas. Actually it’s not, because people even can’t afford them anymore. Just ask anyone who has to buy groceries,” writer Kelly Maher tweeted, while journalist Ian Miles Cheong joked, “Where’s the disinformation governance board when you need it?”
Inflation hit 8.3% in April as it continued to hover near a 40-year high.
according to a new Census Bureau surveymore than one-third of households reported difficulties in paying bills from April 27 through May 9.
Fox Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report.