BUST: How Paul Krugman Flip-Flopped from Prophesying ‘Biden Boom’ to Defending ‘Not So Bad Economy’

May 1st, 2023 12:09 PM

The so-called ‘Biden boom’ that New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman has repeatedly foretold clearly never materialized. Now, he’s desperately trying to move the goalposts.

Krugman’s April 27 headline said it all: “Joe Biden and the Not-So-Bad Economy.” The columnist deluded himself. Krugmant claimed that he is “dreading the political crystal ball-gazing” that inevitably develops every election cycle. But he didn’t bat an eyelash about brazenly whipping out his faulty economic crystal ball to once again gaslight Americans on President Joe Biden’s abysmal economy. [Emphasis added.] 

“Much political discussion, it seems to me, is informed by a sense that the economy will be a major liability for Democrats — a sense that is strongly affected by out-of-date or questionable data,” Krugman bleated. “The overall situation is, well, not so bad.” That’s quite an astronomically different reality compared to the prophecy Krugman burped out in November 2020 before Biden took office: “Making the Most of the Coming Biden Boom.” He was adamant then that it was a “good bet” that the “economy will come roaring back” once the Biden admin supposedly got a handle on the COVID-19. Reality clearly wasn’t kind to Krugman … again.

But it gets more ridiculous. Just a few months into Biden’s presidency, Krugman proclaimed in July 2021 how it was “Morning in Joe Biden’s America.” Now, he’s throwing his hands up and hedging that he’s “not predicting a ‘morning in America’-type election; such things probably aren’t even possible in an era of intense partisanship.” However, Krugman still grasped at whatever he could to salvage the left’s economic messaging: “But the idea that the economy is going to pose a huge problem for Democrats next year isn’t backed by the available data.” [Emphasis added.] 

Krugman’s interpretation of the so-called “available data” is extremely deceptive. The columnist waved around the “historically low” unemployment rate as some kind of good omen in the face of persistent inflation, probable recession and a banking crisis, etc. “However, I keep hearing assertions that this number is misleading, because millions of Americans have dropped out of the labor force — which was true a year ago,” Krugman whined. “As a recent report from the Council of Economic Advisers points out, labor force participation — the percentage of adults either working or actively looking for work — is also right back in line with pre-Covid projections.” In short, claimed Krugman, “we really are back at full employment.” Not so fast.

Just three days after Krugman published this nonsense, the Chamber of Commerce (COC) released an April 30 report that wound up completely undercutting his assertion that labor force participation realigned with pre-COVID projections. “Workforce participation remains below pre-pandemic levels. We have 3 million fewer Americans working today compared to February of 2020,”  the COC reported. 

Further, the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity currently estimates that the “true” unemployment rate as of March 2023 was actually 22.9 percent.  As LISEP stated in a 2020 white paper, simply using the headline unemployment number (3.5 percent) to measure the health of the economy — as Krugman is doing — “is misleading in many instances, and otherwise fails to give a complete picture of the economic landscape for the majority of Americans.”. 

But according to Krugman’s detachment from the real world, “the economy is in better shape than I suspect most pundits or even generally well-informed readers may realize.” Then again, this is the same economist who told readers six days before Biden's 2021 inauguration: "Don’t worry about inflation."  [Emphasis added.]

Conservatives are under attack. Contact The New York Times at 1 (800) 698-4637 and demand it distance itself from Krugman’s economic nonsense.