PORTLAND — US President Joe Biden on Saturday criticized British Prime Minister Liz Truss’s original economic plan as a mistake and said he was not concerned about the strength of the soaring US dollar.
Truss on Friday fired her finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng and scrapped parts of their economic package after it sparked financial market turmoil, including a steep dive in the value of the pound.
Biden, a Democrat, frequently criticizes conservative “tricle down” economic policies, associated in the United States with former President Ronald Reagan and Republicans.
His White House, though, had previously declined to comment on the Truss plan, which initially foresaw scrapping Britain’s 45% top income tax rate.
“I wasn’t the only one that thought it was a mistake,” Biden told reporters during a stop at an ice cream shop in Oregon, referring to the Truss proposal.
“I think that the idea of cutting taxes on the super wealthy at a time when – anyway, I just think – I disagreed with the policy, but that’s up to Great Britain to make that judgment, not me.”
Earlier on Saturday Britain’s new finance minister Jeremy Hunt said some of the country’s taxes would go up and tough spending decisions were needed, saying Truss had made mistakes as she battles to keep her job just over a month into her term.
High inflation is afflicting the United States and countries worldwide, creating a political headache for Biden ahead of the November midterm elections in which control of the US House of Representatives and Senate are at stake.
The dollar has soared against other currencies.
“I’m not concerned about the strength of the dollar. I’m concerned about the rest of the world,” Biden said.
The president said the US economy was robust.
“Our economy is strong as hell – the internals of it. Inflation is worldwide. It’s worse off everywhere else than it is in the United States,” he said.
“So the problem is the lack of economic growth and sound policy in other countries, not so much ours.”
A Labor Department report on Thursday showed US consumer prices increased more than expected in September as rents surged and the cost of food rose.
The president made his comments at the end of a multi-day western swing that concluded in Oregon, where he sought to give a political boost to Democrat Tina Kotek, who is running for governor. (Reporting by Jeff Mason in Portland, Oregon; Additional reporting by by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler and Tom Hogue)