CNN’s Jim Sciutto Asks Biden Official Why We Need Infrastructure Package ‘If The Economy Is Set To Boom’ After Big Jobs Report

‘These numbers are good, they’re above forecast’

CNN anchor Jim Sciutto asked Biden chief economist Cecilia Rouse why the country needs a $2 trillion infrastructure package if last month’s jobs report indicates “the economy is set to boom.”

On Friday, Sciutto spoke to Rouse, who is chair of the White House Council Of Economic Advisers, about the March jobs report that showed nearly a million new jobs added last month — and wondered  if that’s bad news for President Joe Biden’s plans to spend trillions on infrastructure:

SCIUTTO: So these numbers are good. They’re above forecast. I know that there’s still about an $8.4 million job deficit. But economists are forecasting continued growth, even a boom going into the summer. And I wonder, if the economy is set to boom, why the need to inject another $2 trillion in via this large infrastructure proposal?

ROUSE: Well — well, thank you, Jim. Yes, these were encouraging numbers. It suggests that the speed with which we have accelerated the vaccination rollout and getting shots into arms and just the confident economic structure that the Biden administration has put in place has really provided the confidence that the economy needs to start to get going again. But we still have more work to do. So, yes, the American Rescue Plan was designed to help get us past this pandemic to insure that people could get to the other side safely.

However, we do know that even this time last year, well maybe a little bit before this time last year, when the economy — when the unemployment rate was relatively low, there were some structural inequalities that this — that we had been not making the kinds of important infrastructure investments in our roads and our bridges. We had not been investing in research and development, which we know is so critical for generating innovation that’s help us get to the next level. And that our workers, many of whom are caring for our most important loved ones, have not been earning very good salaries.

SCIUTTO: Right.

ROUSE: So the rescue plan is designed to get past the pandemic.

SCIUTTO: OK.

ROUSE: The American Jobs Plan is meant to invest in our future. And so they’re quite distinct. The rescue plan is supposed to be short. The investment is — will take longer, it’s more foundational.

Sciutto isn’t alone in seeing the positive jobs report as a detriment to the president’s ambitions regarding infrastructure. A Washington Post op-ed by a Republican think-tank expert entitled “Why the strong jobs report may be bad news for Biden” predicts calamity if Biden succeeds, based on the same jobs report.

(h/t Mediaite)

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