Yellen acknowledges having underestimated U.S. inflation problem

Yellen's comments came one day after The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by President Biden on plans to deal with U.S., global inflation
Janet Yellen

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has acknowledged that she mis-forecasted the country's now record-high U.S. inflation when she said last year that it would on be a "small risk." 

"I think I was wrong then about the path that inflation would take," she said Tuesday on CNN.

Inflation, caused by a mix of factors including supply chain problems, the Ukraine war and the federal government pumping trillion of dollars into the U.S. economy during the pandemic, is now a major concern for President Biden and fellow Democrats trying to win reelection this fall. 

The situation, including annualized inflation in March reaching a 40-year high, also has the potential to get worse, because efforts by the Federal Reserve to cool the economy by increasing interest rates could slow it into a recession.

The White House has in previous months also predicted that inflation would be only a short-term concern.

Yellen also told CNN: "As I mentioned, there have been unanticipated and large shocks to the economy that have boosted energy and food prices and supply bottlenecks that have affected our economy badly that I didn't – at the time – didn't fully understand, but we recognize that now."

Her comments came one day after The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Biden on his plans to deal with U.S. and global inflation, both part of a larger administration strategy to make clear to Americans that inflation is a top priority.