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Former Obama Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Thursday that President Biden should take cues from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and admit he was wrong on inflation being transitory to regain credibility.
During an interview on “Your World,” Panetta told host Neil Cavuto there’s “no question” the administration failed to establish a strategy to combat the rising inflation threat because it underestimated just how prolonged America’s suffering would be.
“I’m always a believer that the truth is the best policy when it comes to being President of the United States,” Panetta said. “I think the president, it probably would be helpful if he acknowledged that he made a mistake along with the treasury secretary and the other economists, but that he is now going to take steps to try to deal with it.”
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Panetta’s comment comes shortly after Yellen admitted on CNN she had not anticipated the impact inflation would have, and that she was wrong in initially thinking that the risks associated with it were “small and manageable.”
With inflation rates crippling U.S. communities, the former defense official said Biden must take decisive action to prove his administration is up to the task of easing the country’s economic woes.
“When it does come to the economy and something that is impacting on all Americans in a 40-year high on inflation and the threat of a potential recession, I think the president has to come together on a strategy to try to deal with that,” Panetta said.
He encouraged the White House to consider a strategy that includes reducing tariffs with China, expediting the legal immigration process to fill the job gap, and examining an energy policy that includes domestic production.
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“[Biden should] Really try to put together some of the business leaders in the country and really establish some kind of consult there at the White House that can provide guidance as to what steps need to be taken and what restraints need to be put in place,” he said.
President Joe Biden listens as he meets virtually with infant formula manufacturers from the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
((AP Photo/Susan Walsh))
Panetta added, “We’re talking about the interests of the country. I understand we’re in a political year, politics prevails on every front. I understand that problem. But when you’re president of the United States, your responsibility is to the entire country, [in] trying to figure out exactly what the right approach here is to deal with a major problem facing this country. And to do that, it has to be both public and private and it has to be both Republican and Democrat working together to try to figure out a strategy that will confront inflation.”
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Panetta said he believes it’s possible to curb inflation with a proper strategy that resonates with the public.
“I think he can do it. I think it’s possible to do it. We’ve had to face those problems in the past. But the answer is to develop something that will be credible with the American people,” he said, “and it’s not going to be credible with the American people unless it represents all of the interests that have something to lose in this inflation battle.”