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Chris Wallace To WH's Pfeiffer: "If Things Are So Great How Come They're So Lousy?"

CHRIS WALLACE: You talk about income inequality. Some experts say the real reason that you got such income inequality is because of the weak Obama economic recovery.

Let's take a look at some of the numbers there. Since the president took office, median household income has dropped from $55,900 to $52,100. Poverty has increased by 6.7 million to a record 46.5 million. And participation in the labor force has dropped from 65.7 percent to a 36-year low of 62.8 percent.

Wouldn't a stronger, more robust economy and recovery solve a lot of these problems the president is talking about?

DAN PFEIFFER: Well, absolutely. But I think it's important to remember this president inherited the worst economic situation through the Great Depression, a financial crisis.

WALLACE: But the recession ended four years ago.

PFEIFFER: Yes. And we have created in the last 46 months, 8 million jobs. The unemployment rate has dropped to 6.7 percent. We have -- we are producing more oil than before. We are -- American auto industry is number one in the world again.

We are making progress. There is more to do. That's what you hear the president talk about. I think it's important to remember that what we're trying to do here is restore opportunity for all Americans. Grow the economy and create jobs.

WALLACE: But you talk about restoring opportunity. Median household income is down. Labor force participation is down. Food stamps are up. Poverty rate is up.

If things are so great, how come they are so lousy?

PFEIFFER: I think we made tremendous progress. But there is much more work to do. The president always said that.

American businesses, American workers have doing the right thing. Washington needs to help them. And we have a series of proposal last year and additional ones this year that will -- these things have been bipartisan in the past, like raising the minimum wage, infrastructure. If Congress were to do that, we would make tremendous progress.

This can be a year of action. And we can make real progress. But we have to do it together. If Congress doesn't act, the president will.

WALLACE: One of the things that people say is a drag on the economy is ObamaCare. And I want to put up these numbers. According to a report last month, almost 400 businesses have cut workers and hours to avoid the employer mandate. And major employers like Target, Home Depot, Walgreens and Trader Joe's say they're going to drop part time workers from health insurance and direct them to the ObamaCare exchange.

Question, despite the president's promise, isn't it true that first, you had millions of people who were -- lost their policies because they were in the individual market. Now, you're going to have people that are employed, part timers or even some full timers that are going to be thrown out of their health care plans that supposedly they liked and are forced into the exchanges because of ObamaCare.

PFEIFFER: I think, I'd say, first, two things. You know, when we passed the Affordable Care Act, every Republican said it's going to be a job killer. Since it's been passed, we created eight million jobs in this country, for American business and workers.

WALLACE: Wait, wait. The plan didn't really go into effect until October.

PFEIFFER: And second, for --

WALLACE: And you also delay the employer mandate for a year.

PFEIFFER: Long before the Affordable Care Act, businesses made a decision about who they're going to -- what kind of coverage they're going to offer and who they're going to offer to. What is different now is that if your business, your employer decides to no longer offer coverage, you have guaranteed access to affordable health care. Before the Affordable Care Act, you would be out of your own. If you had a pre-existing coverage, you wouldn't have a chance of getting coverage.

WALLACE: But a lot of people are being dropped because of the Affordable Care Act. Some of these companies that were employing and giving health insurance to part-time workers are now going to drop them because of all the regulations, all the expense, and it's going to be another case of millions of people who like their plan not being able to use it.

PFEIFFER: If you go back and read the papers for the last decade, you will read stories every day of employers making the same decision. What is different now is that if your employer makes that decision, you have guaranteed access to affordable health care.

WALLACE: You're not suggesting, though, that Trader Joe's and Target and Home Depot and Walgreens who just announced they're going to throw people into the exchanges, that it has nothing to do with ObamaCare.

PFEIFFER: They can explain what their reasons are. What I'm saying is that if your employer makes decision, you have guaranteed access to affordable health care with better benefits than you had before.

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