On Friday, U.S. Labor Secretary Martin Walsh argued that OPEC’s latest refusal to boost oil production has been a wake-up call that the U.S. needs to be “less reliant on foreign energy.” Watch:
“I think you point something out that is really important, and that is the irony of all of this, right?” CNN’s Poppy Harlow said. “You as the Labor Secretary, you want to have more people employed where that is a sign of a good economy. But with inflation as high as it is now, the Federal Reserve needs the job market to cool, right?”
“And it is cooling from the average of 510,000 jobs added a month added in the last 12 months,” Harlow added. “And wage growth, although it is up 5%, it has been cooling off over recent months. Both things that the average American wouldn’t necessarily want, but this economy needs to get a handle on inflation. So, I suppose I’m asking, is the Biden Administration happy to see those things happening vis-a-vis the war on inflation?”
“Well, certainly I think that, you know, the plans that the President put out there to tackle inflation in a lot of cases are working,” Walsh said. “We’re seeing it come down incrementally. We’d like to see it come down more than that.”
“Certainly the supply chain issue added a bit concern to the inflation numbers,” he continued. “Obviously gas, what OPEC has done now, is disappointing, certainly to the President and to us, but it also just points out that we need to be less reliant on foreign energy, we need to continue to move forward.”
“You know, some of the things that the Fed have done, certainly you add what the Fed is doing and what Treasury is doing, what we’re doing as an administration collectively together, we’ll hopefully continue to see these inflationary pressures come down where we don’t go into recession,” he added. “I mean, I personally, you know, when you say recession, you can’t compare this moment in time to any other period in the past when we talk about recessions because we’re coming off a worldwide catastrophe and a global pandemic. So, the pressures are different. You know, we’re not the only country in the world, obviously, dealing with this. European countries are dealing with this as well.”
Despite OPEC’s recent announcement that it was carrying out a 2 million barrels a day cut in oil production, Biden has paused new leases for oil and gas drilling over a legal dispute with several states, while tapping 10 million more barrels from the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserve.