Senior White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said Friday there is a growing disparity in how Republican-led states and Democratic-led states are recovering from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The thing that as an economist gives me pause as I look forward is that there’s a radical difference right now in the data between red states and blue states,” Hassett told Fox News.
Hassett made an example of a “blue state like Vermont, which elected a socialist senator,” referring to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), a self-described democratic socialist. Under Vermont’s Republican governor, Phil Scott, the state has kept many restrictions in place despite having a low infection rate.
“Other states are wide open,” Hassett said. “So I think that there is going to be increasing divergence between the economies of blue states – where unemployment is going to be staying very, very high and the economies are going to stay closed – and the red states that are mostly open.”
Public health officials have linked early and aggressive closures with lower rates of infection. A number of Republican-led states, like Texas and Arizona, have seen recent spikes in their coronavirus cases as they continue opening businesses, though other states such as California have also seen rising cases amid reopening.
Hassett claimed Friday that the president was the only person who predicted the positive May jobs report, which showed that the economy added 2.5 million jobs – pushing the unemployment rate down to 13.3 percent – as businesses began to reopen after coronavirus-related closures.
“Hopefully the surprises will continue to be on the upside,” Hassett said. “… Right now the models are not working very well and what we need is somebody who has the instinct of running lots of businesses to help guide us through this, and that’s what the president is doing.”