Biden declares ‘America’s back’ despite high inflation and new covid surge

Biden’s sunny Thanksgiving Day message comes amid economic and pandemic headwinds

Bevan Hurley
Friday 26 November 2021 22:35
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Joe Biden had an optimistic Thanksgiving Day message for America, even as his administration arguably faces its greatest challenges yet amid spiralling inflation and surging Covid cases.

“My message is after two years, you’re back, America’s back,” Mr Biden said in a call to NBC Today anchor Al Roker during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York.

But Mr Biden is facing significant economic challenges from the economy to Covid.

Consumer prices jumped 6.2 per cent in October compared to the previous year, on the back of increasing food, gas, and housing costs.

It was the highest inflation rate more than 30 years, and comes after 18 months of government stimulus checks and bond buying to prop up the US economy.

The cost of Thanksgiving Day dinner spiked 14 per cent in a year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and White House officials have repeatedly described inflation as transitory, expressing reassuring messages that the economy would adjust once post-pandemic supply chain issues were resolved.

But economists are now painting a bleaker picture: that higher prices are here for the long haul.

Complicating the economic picture is a resurgent Covid-19, with cases spiking in most states.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 100,000 new cases on 23 November, and the seven-day average of new cases reached 94,000.

Joe and Jill Biden called in to Al Roker during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade

That’s the highest it’s been since mid-October, when the Delta variant ruined President Biden’s hopes for a steady recovery from the pandemic.

With millions travelling for the holidays, cases are likely to continue to rise.

There are concerns that a new variant emerging in southern Africa could prove resistant to vaccines.

These concerns were set aside during the call between the president and Mr Roker, who have enjoyed a friendly relationship for many years.

“There’s nothing we’re unable to overcome, Al. And you’re one of the reasons for that, pal. You’re always up, you’re always rooting,” Mr Biden said.

“Well we appreciate it, Mr President,” Mr Roker replied.

“Thank you so much. I hope you’re going to continue to watch the parade. Santa is coming. Santa is coming, Mr President!”

“I’m waiting for Santa,” Mr Biden joked.

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