Efforts to buoy economy ‘to take skill and luck,’ Yellen says, as alarm grows over possible downturn

President Biden on Monday doubled down on his administration’s mantra that an economic recession isn’t an inevitability despite widespread fears to the contrary.

“There’s nothing inevitable about a recession,” Mr. Biden told reporters Monday during a stroll down the beach in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

The comments echo those of Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen who acknowledged during an appearance on ABC News’s “This Week” on Sunday that “inflation is unacceptably high,” but said a recession is not a foregone conclusion.

“Clearly, inflation is unacceptably high. It’s President Biden’s top priority to bring it down,” she said.

She also said that while it is “going to take skill and luck” for Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell to control inflation while buoying the job market, it is possible.

Economists warn that the Federal Reserve’s aggressive moves to control inflation threaten to trigger an economic downturn.

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Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who served in the Obama administration, said on Sunday that a recession is likely coming.

“Look, nothing is certain, and all economic forecasts have uncertainty,” Mr. Summers on NBC. “My best guess is that a recession is ahead.”

“I base that on the fact that we haven’t had a situation like the present with inflation above 4 percent and unemployment beyond 4 percent without a recession following within a year or two,” Mr. Summers said.

Mr. Biden said he spoke with Mr. Summers on Monday morning.

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