“I’ve been on a few trips recently and took the opportunity to do a bit of naked-eye economic assessment. As I’m sure many people can confirm, planes are flying full, while shops and restaurants are jammed. It definitely looks like a booming economy out there.
That’s also what the numbers say. In his State of the Union address, President Biden — while acknowledging that inflation has eroded wage gains — pointed to the 6.5 million jobs added last year, “more jobs created in one year than ever before in the history of America.” This claim was entirely correct.
Yet the public doesn’t believe it. According to a new survey by Navigator Research, only 19 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy is experiencing more job growth than usual, while 35 percent say that it is experiencing more job losses than usual.”
“. . . And while I do not come here to bash the news media, I do feel that we’re missing a big part of the story if we take negative public views of the economy at face value without pointing out that they’re at odds not just with official statistics but also with self-reported experience. And we should try to understand where that disconnect is coming from.” -30-
David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Good question, thank you Paul Krugman. I like the comment that it is partly the poison of GOP and Fox and company negative propaganda. I think it is also the fault of the news. I don’t remember ever seeing once, a giant headline at the NYT this year, about how good the economy or hiring really was last year. I learned about it from quiet articles, as if it were not a big deal.
I propose a third cause, climate change, extinction rates, and overpopulation anxiety. Informed people are deeply depressed at regular intervals if they are paying attention. This funk, which is real, also possibly permeates the larger society. They see the devastation around the world in the news, and my guess is that it effects their general outlook more than many economist and social commentators think.
Traditional economics hasn’t caught up to the realty of over population and limited planetary resources. While the economic slump due to Covid caused headlines. Underneath those headlines, one read, our social carbon footprint declined dramatically. The vaccines save millions of lives. Even that good news has a dark component. 8 billion humans are the cause of both the climate crisis and the great sixth extinction of species, which is accelerating. I predict that even people who don’t understand or follow this science, who don’t look up, are at some level disturbed by the stories referring to it.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.net
“Do you remember Donald Trump’s trade war? You can be forgiven for having forgotten all about it, given everything that has happened since; it sounds trivial compared with his effort to stay in power by overturning a fair election. Even in terms of policy while in office, it was far less important than his pandemic denial, and probably less important than his tax cuts or his sabotage of health care.
But the trade war was uniquely Trumpian. His other policy actions were standard-issue Republicanism, but the rest of his party didn’t share his obsession with trade deficits; indeed, he probably wouldn’t have been able to do much on that front except for the fact that U.S. law gives presidents enormous discretion when setting tariffs. Only Trump really considered trade deficits an important issue; and he, er, trumpeted what he called a “historic trade deal” under which China agreed to buy an additional $200 billion in U.S. goods and services by the end of 2021.
Now, Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, who has been the go-to source on the trade war from the beginning, has a final assessment of that deal. And it turns out to have been a complete flop: “China bought none of the additional $200 billion of exports Trump’s deal had promised.”
So Trump was a chump; the Chinese took him to the cleaners. But if you want to do a post-mortem on the trade war, Trump’s haplessness in dealing with foreign leaders is actually a minor part of the story. Far more important is the fact that the shocks we’ve been experiencing since the pandemic began make the Trumpian view of trade look even more economically foolish than it did when he took office.”
“. . . And looking forward, why should we expect the G.O.P. to do any better in opposing Biden’s longer-term initiatives?
Bear in mind that both infrastructure spending and raising taxes on the rich are very popular. Democrats seem united on at least the principle of an invest-and-tax plan — and these days they seem pretty good at turning agreement in principle into actual legislation.
To block this push, Republicans will have to come up with something beyond boilerplate denunciations of socialists killing jobs. Will they? Probably not.
In short, the prospects for a big spend-and-tax bill are quite good, because Democrats know what they want to achieve and are willing to put in the work to make it happen — while Republicans don’t and aren’t.” -30-