ABC’s Karl Grills Jean-Pierre on ‘Orwellian’ Inflation Reduction Act

News & Politics

On Sunday’s edition of ABC’s This Week, viewers witnessed a random act of journalism from co-anchor Jonathan Karl who challenged White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on why the recently passed legislation referred to as the Inflation Reduction Act should be called that since according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the legislation will have a negligible effect on inflation at best. Karl even suggested the name sounded Orwellian. 

Before getting to that question, Karl started out by sucking up to the Biden administration and their economic record. He bemoaned how “just 37 percent of Americans approve of President Biden’s handling of the economy” and “70 percent say they felt the economy was getting worse.”

“We have since learned that inflation actually abated in July,” Karl proclaimed. “Why is it that if things are getting better, so many Americans are unhappy with President Biden’s handling of it?” 

Jean-Pierre repeated the Biden administration’s claim that there was “zero percent of inflation” last month and credited the Inflation Reduction Act for working “to lower costs for Americans.” 

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This led Karl to ask about the dishonestly named Inflation Reduction Act:

But let me ask you, it’s called the Inflation Reduction Act, but the Congressional Budget Office which is nonpartisan said that there would be a negligible impact on inflation this year and barely impact inflation at all next year, isn’t it almost Orwellian? 

Jean-Pierre responded that the legislation is “making sure that billionaires in corporate America are paying their fair share making sure that the tax code is a little bit more fair” and she claimed that “when you put it in its totality, you will see that it will bring down lower the deficit, which will help fight inflation.”

When asked to clarify her answer by Karl whether she disagrees with the CBO’s assessment, Jean Pierre doubled down: “it is going to fight inflation. It has been proven it has been said by economists across the board on the Republican side and the Democrat side.” 

While Karl did ask the right question, he’s too late. The time to challenge the Biden administration about the Orwellian named “Inflation Reduction Act” would’ve been before it was passed by Congress and signed into law, not after. 

This segment on ABC was made possible by Nature’s Bounty and Verizon. Their information is linked. 

To read the transcript of this portion of the interview click “expand”:  

ABC’s This Week
8/14/2022
9:24:41 a.m. Eastern

JON KARL: Let me turn to the domestic agenda, so we saw our poll that came out ABC News/IPSOS that came out last Sunday, showed that just 37 percent of Americans approve of President Biden’s handling of the economy, 70 percent say they felt the economy was getting worse, now we have since learned that inflation actually abated in July. Why is it that if things are getting better, so many Americans are unhappy with President Biden’s handling of it?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: So you know we’ll say this. You know we’ve said this before, like get it, we understand what the American people are feeling at this time, this is a number one priority, inflation has been a number one priority for the President. Lowering costs has been a number one priority for this President. If you look at everyday this summer we saw gas prices go down by more than a $1, saving Americans about a little more than 100 bucks a month, that matters, and that is because partly of the work that this President has done, you just mentioned how inflation abated. 

You look at the CPI date last month in July. Zero percent of inflation. And so that is the work that we’ll continue to do, and if you look—I know we’re about to talk about what Congress did, what Democrats in Congress did with this Inflation Reduction Act, the work of this President. 

This President when he announced back in 2019 he wanted to make sure that he had — he led with his conviction on what is needed for the American people, making sure that we build this economy from the bottom up and the middle out, do not leave anyone behind and you see that anti-inflation bill you see that it’s going to lower costs for Americans. 

Prescription drugs, energy costs, and also let’s not forget those 13 million Americans on the ACA Affordable Care Act who are now going to continue to see their premiums go down, that is important.

KARL: But let me ask you, it’s called the Inflation Reduction Act, but the Congressional Budget Office which is nonpartisan said that there would be a negligible impact on inflation this year and barely impact inflation at all next year, isn’t it almost Orwellian? How can you call it Inflation Reduction Act when the nonpartisan experts say—-

[crosstalk]

JEAN-PIERRE: I appreciate the question, we’ve actually addressed this, the CBO. It was the top line number, there’s more in there that shows that it will have the money from–remember how we’re doing this, too, it’s making sure that billionaires in corporate America are paying their fair share making sure that the tax code is a little bit more fair, when you do that, when you put it in its totality, you will see that it will bring down lower the deficit, which will help fight inflation. Look, here’s the thing, we have 126 economists, both Republicans, both Democrats who have said it’s going to fight inflation. We have five former Secretaries of Treasury–

KARL: So you disagree with the assessment of— 

JEAN-PIERRE: Well there’s more to it. It was the way that Republicans did that was so that it could make an argument that is false. It is going to fight inflation. It has been proven it has been said by economists across the board on the Republican side and the Democrat side.

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