By Howard Schneider and Jarrett Renshaw
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – High unemployment. Rising prices. Gas lines.
They’re a bad memory for Americans old enough to remember the 1970s – but they’re also likely causing a few sleepless nights in the White House, as the United States’ economic recovery from the unprecedented coronavirus recession hits some bumps.
The jolts are dampening consumer confidence, ramping up inflation fears, and helping Republicans build their case against President Joe Biden and his ambitious plans to revamp the U.S. economy with trillions in new spending.
As the 1970s show, high joblessness and rising prices the United States saw in April can be a potent political force.
Republicans crafted a “misery index” out of the two factors to attack then-president Jimmy Carter. After hitting 75% approval ratings early in his presidency, the Democrat was trounced in a 1980 landslide.
Graphic – The “misery index” revisited: https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-ECONOMY/MISERY/oakpeknqqpr/chart.png
Support for Biden remains strong and U.S. equity markets remain near record highs.
The White House says there’s bound to be surprises as the United States emerges from an unprecedented pandemic.
“We must keep in mind that an economy will not heal instantaneously,” Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers told reporters Friday. “It takes several weeks for people to get full immunity from vaccinations, and even more time for those left jobless from the…