Paul Krugman — @paulkrugman


  • 1

    • More about the coronavirus relief debacle: What should Republicans have known, and when should they have known it? 1/ https://t.co/kViOwash2n
    • According to Times reporting, in April the WH was convinced that we'd follow Italy's trajectory, with the pandemic rapidly fading away 2/ https://t.co/cazkzKRCWk
    • By May, however, it was obvious that this wasn't happening — and Democrats moved quickly to enact a new relief bill 3/ https://t.co/lKK4n79EMd
    • Republicans, however, turned a blind eye; Trump, it's now clear, surrounded himself with toadies who assured their naked emperor that he was wearing the finest of clothes. And so they did nothing as catastrophe approached 4/
    • Seriously, these are people I wouldn't trust to water my houseplants. And no way would I trust them to feed my cat 5/

    3 days ago ago via Twitter

  • 2

    • The durability of Stephen Moore as the GOP's go-to guy on economics tells you something about the party. I don't think he's ever gotten anything — factual, legal, analytic — right 1/ https://t.co/rv2D3dMvwg
    • I mean, he can't even enter the right numbers in a spreadsheet 2/ https://t.co/hCnte39Eer
    • But the incompetence may be the point. If he could do anything right, he might not be politically reliable 3/ https://t.co/brCDuPWx1F
    • Totally forgot to tweet this out: I talked to Christiane Amanpour at some length last week, under the strict condition that I NOT wear a T-shirt https://t.co/ocqsofdfL5

    4 days ago ago via Twitter

  • 3

    • 30 million workers have had their financial lifeline cut off, and talks are stalled. But this isn't because "Congress" is dysfunctional; it's because *Republicans* are wedded to nonsense economics 1/ https://t.co/C6Lu334G4U
    • I don't mean that they adhere to doctrines I disagree with; I mean that they have no coherent doctrine at all other than visceral dislike for helping people in distress 2/
    • The claimed GOP objection to extending aid to the unemployed is the belief that it discourages workers from accepting jobs. In reality, all the evidence suggests that under current conditions that just isn't happening 3/ https://t.co/LFZfMpAyh0
    • But even if it were happening, we have 30 million workers receiving benefits and only 5 million job vacancies. What jobs would workers take if they wanted to work? 4/
    • More generally, unemployment benefits might raise workers' reservation wages — the wages they demand to take jobs. But higher wages in the economy as a whole don't directly reduce employment, as Keynes explained long ago 5/ https://t.co/FOvVcY1qDC
    • They only matter if you have a fixed money supply or if the central bank is worried about inflation, neither of which is remotely the case right now 6/
    • What about GOP opposition to temporary aid to states and cities? You don't even have to be a Keynesian to see that this is bad economics. It makes no sense to impose severe cuts in government services in the face of a known temporary revenue loss/ cost increase 7/
    • We should be helping states in a pandemic for the same reason governments pay for wars in part by borrowing: the needs are temporary and it's inefficient to cover them entirely by slashing nondefense spending and/or raising taxes 8/
    • In short, there is no economic theory or logic behind the Republican position. It's all about being mean-spirited and/or cynically exploiting a crisis to force governments to shrink 9/
    • And for what it's worth, I think Dems should hang tough. Republicans should be begging Dems to help them avoid catastrophe three months before an election. They have no business demanding that Dems do it their way. Appropriate stance for Pelosi: 10/ https://t.co/Z1d1bQqsHh

    5 days ago ago via Twitter

  • 4

    • It seems to me that we need a new concept to discuss the Trump/GOP reaction to the coronavirus disaster. Everyone knows about the Big Lie, which is so outlandish people can't believe it's a lie. What we have now is the Big Fail, so extreme that people can't process it 1/
    • I mean, if you've spent three years believing that Trump Made America Great Again, how do you deal with the fact that >1000 Americans are dying of Covid-19 each day, compared with 6 (six) in Italy? 2/ https://t.co/iZW5xFZs7L
    • There's a lot of grasping at straws. I see that Trump is gloating over new outbreaks in some countries, like Australia, that thought they had it beat. And that is a cause for concern. But bear in mind what AU's outbreak looks like compared to ours 3/ https://t.co/7liDIY5DWo
    • And Australia is imposing a full lockdown in Melbourne to stop this outbreak in its tracks; Florida, which is losing 180 people a day compared with Australia's 8, won't even require face masks and is reopening schools 4/
    • The point is that the contrast between the Trump hagiography and the reality of one of history's greatest policy failures is too great for the faithful (and of course Trump himself) to process. So they're becoming increasingly delusional 5/
    • To be a Trump supporter now is to be constantly at war with reality. And it's terrifying to think what that will mean if Trump loses the election 6/

    5 days ago ago via Twitter

  • 5

    • To make sense of the benefits disaster, you have to realize that Republicans don't understand that lack of sufficient demand can cause mass unemployment. I don't mean that they've rejected that view; they don't even know where it comes from 1/ https://t.co/aZJymxozht
    • Larry Kudlow, who is for our sins Trump's top economist — and long a go-to-guy for the GOP in general — said some revealing things in 2006, with no indication he's learned anything since 2/ https://t.co/HD7YxSiKp9
    • In his view, higher output means lower inflation, because money is chasing more goods. Not a hint that he understood that output might be depressed because of insufficient spending, or even that he understood the concept. "I don't get it," he declared; that at least was true 3/
    • So the whole GOP lives in a mental universe in which the only reason people might be unemployed is because they don't want to work, or maybe because employers pay too much taxes. The idea that cutting off income for millions will lead to more unemployment isn't in their minds 4/
    • And what they don't know can very much hurt you, and almost everyone else 5/

    6 days ago ago via Twitter

  • 6

    • One thing I don't think is fully appreciated is the fact that Republicans in general, and Trump a fortiori, have no idea what causes recessions. If they've even heard of Keynes, they imagine his as a left-wing agitator, probably an antifa terrorist 1/ https://t.co/i7C5KCYdod
    • People are mocking Judy Shelton over her goldbug views, but they forget that Paul Ryan — remember, the celebrated intellectual leader of the party — declared that he learned all his monetary economics from Ayn Rand 2/ https://t.co/AKsr6uQvtx
    • During the financial crisis even tenured Chicago professors reinvented old fallacies, such as Say's Law, and imagined that they were deep insights 3/ https://t.co/Q57KBijgai
    • Basically the GOP and its pet economists don't believe it's even possible for an economy to suffer from inadequate demand; if unemployment is high it must be because we're taxing the rich too much, or being too nice to the unemployed 4/
    • So the looming catastrophe as Pandemic Unemployment Compensation expires, sucking purchasing power out of the economy at a $900 billion per year annual rate, just doesn't register in their worldview 5/

    1 week ago ago via Twitter

  • 7

    • Gag me with a silver spoon. If there's one thing we've learned over the past decade, it is that there are no Republican deficit hawks — only poseurs who claim to care about deficits in order to block spending they don't like 1/ https://t.co/iDW9XulN1p
    • Nobody — nobody — in the party blinked an eye when Trump's tax cuts for corporations and the rich led to surging deficits 2/ https://t.co/iCEM49hAXJ
    • And the hypocrisy over supposed subsidization of blue states is thick enough to cut with a knife 3/ https://t.co/iC6rdysVGl
    • Red states in general, and Florida in particular, are hugely subsidized by blue states, especially New York. State federal balances of payments: 4/ https://t.co/36GNwUxEiO
    • And in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, when Florida was hit especially hard by the bursting of its housing bubble, the state effectively received huge aid from the feds 5/ https://t.co/2qHWWxvKkE
    • So when Republicans say that they're deficit hawks, they really mean that they don't want to spend money on people in distress, unless those people were rich to begin with. It's long past time for the media to stop taking their posturing seriously 6/
    • So Wallace and Gromit are evil. https://t.co/HDyvoqzy4f

    1 week ago ago via Twitter

  • 8

    • Gag me with a silver spoon. If there's one thing we've learned over the past decade, it is that there are no Republican deficit hawks — only poseurs who claim to care about deficits in order to block spending they don't like 1/ https://t.co/iDW9XulN1p
    • Nobody — nobody — in the party blinked an eye when Trump's tax cuts for corporations and the rich led to surging deficits 2/ https://t.co/iCEM49hAXJ
    • And the hypocrisy over supposed subsidization of blue states is thick enough to cut with a knife 3/ https://t.co/iC6rdysVGl
    • Red states in general, and Florida in particular, are hugely subsidized by blue states, especially New York. State federal balances of payments: 4/ https://t.co/36GNwUxEiO
    • And in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, when Florida was hit especially hard by the bursting of its housing bubble, the state effectively received huge aid from the feds 5/ https://t.co/2qHWWxvKkE
    • So when Republicans say that they're deficit hawks, they really mean that they don't want to spend money on people in distress, unless those people were rich to begin with. It's long past time for the media to stop taking their posturing seriously 6/

    1 week ago ago via Twitter

  • 9

    • A wonkish thread on the economics of unemployment insurance. Why? Because Republicans are talking nonsense, but also because it seems to me that even some of the people calling for maintaining generous benefits are missing the point 1/
    • The key point is that to evaluate the impact of the GOP's 🍸🍸🍸 plan to slash UI while making business lunches 100% deductible, we need to do *macroeconomics*; it's not just about worker incentives 2/
    • A good starting point is the Phillips curve: the hypothetical tradeoff between unemployment and inflation 3/ https://t.co/y5TB5UQflc
    • I'm well aware that there are some conceptual issues with this curve, and also that these days it's hard to find in US data. But there must be some effect of labor market tightness on inflation; clearly visible in countries with more extreme variation (SP's GDP deflator) 4/ https://t.co/PwuX0fLvl4
    • So, where do we find ourselves on that curve? It could be a policy choice, e.g., the Fed sets policy to achieve its inflation target. But maybe policymakers can't or won't do enough to assure adequate demand. In that case, the level of demand sets unemployment 5/ https://t.co/Q476akItjL
    • And since 2008 we've consistently been limited by the demand constraint: the Fed has almost never achieved its 2% inflation target, bc monetary policy constrained by zero lower bound, and fiscal support almost never sufficient 6/ https://t.co/ZkV8QQBWhU
    • So what happens if you expand UI? It might — might — reduce incentives to work, shifting the Phillips curve up and to the right. But it also increases aggregate demand. And because demand, not inflation, is the binding constraint it REDUCES unemployment 7/ https://t.co/0EikpIga73
    • Just to add that the demand constraint is far more tightly binding now than at any time in the past dozen years, because now we have a pandemic that requires people to NOT work. Crazy to talk about UI without that as the central point 8/
    • Now, the work incentives of UI are still interesting, although of little macro significance for the time being. My read is that the disincentive effect seems to be surprisingly small. You can see this just by looking at aggregate data. 9/
    • Generous UI didn't prevent a rapid rise in employment during the abortive reopening recovery of May-June 10/ https://t.co/rAbfD9j058
    • And the workers called back had relatively low wages, as you can see from the fall in average wages, which soared during the initial jobs plunge 11/ https://t.co/87tu5SYuAu
    • This tells you that the workers accepting jobs were precisely the workers who by and large were receiving more in unemployment benefits than from work. Presumably they nonetheless preferred the reality of a job that might last than depending on benefits that might soon vanish 12/
    • The bottom line is that all those concerns that we were keeping unemployment high by making it too comfortable had zero basis in reality. UI was helping employment, not hurting it — and the massive fiscal contraction now being perpetrated will be a disaster fin/

    1 week ago ago via Twitter


    • A couple of months ago, before the great reopening disaster, I did several interviews in which I was asked about the tradeoff between the economy and fighting the pandemic. I answered that there was no tradeoff; you can't recover until you beat the virus. 1/
    • But that seemed impossible for the interviewers to process: each time they would come back with, "Yes, but how should we make the tradeoff between the economy and fighting the pandemic?" 2/
    • But there really isn't a tradeoff. The US is now lagging behind other countries that didn't rush to reopen 3/ https://t.co/zMjZLsgYFf https://t.co/6CHWtPmj1i
    • Within the US, states that threw caution to the wind gained a short-term boost but are now falling behind 4/ https://t.co/KFOXCMgjDa https://t.co/X2HVqbZLsJ
    • So we sacrificed tens of thousands of lives for nothing, or less than nothing. MAGA! 5/

    1 week ago ago via Twitter


    • One of these trajectories is not like the others. Is it Trump's fault? Of course: pandemic response is heavily dependent on presidential leadership, and Trump has been a malign influence every step of the way 1/ https://t.co/c9Yumw4PPJ
    • But it's not just Trump. Republican governors also played crucial dire roles 2/
    • Ron DeSantis killed a lot of Floridians 3/ https://t.co/O3ItLuTCWP
    • Abbott killed a lot of Texans, although his state's toxic political culture is making it hard for him to do better 4/ https://t.co/piDTKNTMNC
    • So it's the ideology of modern conservatism as a whole, but just Trump's hopeless inadequacy, that has made America the sick man of the Western world — literally 5/

    1 week ago ago via Twitter


    • And another: the Real-Time Population Survey, conducted in coop with Dallas Fed, suggests a decline in employment between the June and July reference weeks 1/ https://t.co/gs5pnh9iiR https://t.co/qZcuFBVnwL
    • It's still not clear whether the official BLS number will be a small plus or a minus. But it won't be another big positive month 2/
    • Something I'm just registering: because official monthly employment reports are actually snapshots of the second week of the month, "August" numbers will reflect reality <3 weeks from now. It won't be great either 3/
    • And after that, just one more report before the election; report on October won't come until Nov. 5. Even if that report is great, how much impact can it have? 4/
    • So here's the thing: as far as I can tell, Rs still counting on a boom to rescue Trump. But they're already out of time 5/
    • Ernie Tedeschi has more. At least two surveys suggest that July may be a blowout jobs month — in the wrong direction. By no means a sure thing, but the "rocket ship" recovery has semi-officially crashed 6/ https://t.co/Of3Y7Dyjkq

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • The unemployment claims number was terrible by any normal standard, although it's kind of the new normal. It's one of various indicators suggesting a stall in the economic recovery 1/
    • We really don't know whether the next official employment number, which will be for "July" but actually a snapshot of the 2nd week, will be a small positive or negative. Politically that may matter; the reality is that either way we're stuck deep in a hole 2/
    • It's a really terrible time to be cutting off aid to 30 million unemployed Americans. But that's what Rs in the Senate are doing, apparently believing that restaurant workers etc. are living the good life on the dole and need to be forced back into their petri dishes 3/
    • PS: there will only be 2 job reports after the one coming in 2 weeks. Even if they're good, which is unlikely, how much can that help Trump at this point? fin/

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • GOP flailing over what to do now that reopening has stalled sheds light on the old "Evil or stupid?" controversy. It's now clear that the answer is, both 1/ https://t.co/t68Dg7Jep3
    • In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, it wasn't entirely clear what was motivating R demands for austerity in the face of mass unemployment. Was it sabotage — trying to hamstring Obama's crisis response? Or actual ignorance? 2/
    • That is, did they actually believe that amid a slump, when people are being forced to tighten their belts, the govt should tighten its belt too (which deepens the slump)? Or did they just pretend to believe that with a Dem in the WH? 3/
    • Well, right now people like Ted Cruz are making the same argument, and waging a war on unemployment benefits, with Trump in the WH. This suggests that Cruz et al really are ignorant, not realizing that ending worker support is likely to hammer the economy and ensure R defeat 4/
    • And it sure looks as if Rs really believe, in the teeth of the evidence, that UI is holding back recovery by encouraging workers to remain idle — not sustaining the economy by supporting consumer demand 5/
    • Now, this doesn't mean that Rs are or will be honest. Their deficit posturing was clearly hypocritical; they didn't even flinch when Trump's tax cut exploded the deficit, and you know they'll suddenly become deficit hawks if Biden makes it 6/
    • But recent events make it clear that it isn't just malice; ignorance is also driving GOP economic positioning 7/
    • Kind of amazing how the Northeast has gone from virus hotspot to a demonstration of what Americans could do if we didn't have such terrible leadership https://t.co/2TR8XjE3Gx

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • GOP flailing over what to do now that reopening has stalled sheds light on the old "Evil or stupid?" controversy. It's now clear that the answer is, both 1/ https://t.co/t68Dg7Jep3
    • In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, it wasn't entirely clear what was motivating R demands for austerity in the face of mass unemployment. Was it sabotage — trying to hamstring Obama's crisis response? Or actual ignorance? 2/
    • That is, did they actually believe that amid a slump, when people are being forced to tighten their belts, the govt should tighten its belt too (which deepens the slump)? Or did they just pretend to believe that with a Dem in the WH? 3/
    • Well, right now people like Ted Cruz are making the same argument, and waging a war on unemployment benefits, with Trump in the WH. This suggests that Cruz et al really are ignorant, not realizing that ending worker support is likely to hammer the economy and ensure R defeat 4/
    • And it sure looks as if Rs really believe, in the teeth of the evidence, that UI is holding back recovery by encouraging workers to remain idle — not sustaining the economy by supporting consumer demand 5/
    • Now, this doesn't mean that Rs are or will be honest. Their deficit posturing was clearly hypocritical; they didn't even flinch when Trump's tax cut exploded the deficit, and you know they'll suddenly become deficit hawks if Biden makes it 6/
    • But recent events make it clear that it isn't just malice; ignorance is also driving GOP economic positioning 7/

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • Is this even allowed? I though you were only permitted (and required) to write "Democrats in disarray." But seriously, Rs are clearly at a total loss on economic policy 1/ https://t.co/N38KpQaPOV
    • The basic story is that the GOP plan A was to declare Covid-19 over, reopen the economy, and preside over roaring job growth leading into the election. People could have told them that plan was likely to fail. In fact, they did. But there was no plan B 2/ https://t.co/4LxtfRQW1T
    • Then this happened 3/ https://t.co/VeAkPEyYZf
    • Mike Pence's infamous mid-June op-ed was actually a cry of desperation: data from outside the NY area already made it clear that a second surge was beginning. But Rs had no answer besides denial 4/ https://t.co/VLtr6GJeoy
    • But denial has consequences. Sunbelt states stayed open for infection long past the point where looming disaster was apparent; even now, key states aren't requiring masks or closing gyms 5/
    • And it's clear that the WH and Senate Rs gave literally no thought to economic policy options if emergency aid expired and the coronavirus was still raging. Even now, they seem fixated on creating a jobs boom that isn't going to happen 6/
    • Some of this has to do with the party's failure to come to a reckoning with the failure of its ideology during the last crisis. Nobody who predicted runaway inflation, soaring interest rates, or massive job loss from Obamacare has faced any consequences, or learned anything 7/
    • So we have a party fixated on the notion that unemployment benefits are preventing people from taking jobs, even though essentially no economists agree 8/ https://t.co/PwDZijCwv3
    • The result is that millions of Americans are going to lose crucial support this weekend — and Rs have barely begun to negotiate with themselves, let along try to reach a deal with Ds to help the nation. Total, and totally predictable, disaster. fin/

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • Millions of unemployed workers will suffer drastic income losses starting this weekend. House Dems passed a bill to deal with this 2 months ago; Rs just now beginning to talk about doing something 1/ https://t.co/mkMubqVzEM
    • This is the THIRD act of gross negligence by Trump and allies in the coronavirus crisis. First they refused to take the pandemic seriously; then they rushed to reopen, ignoring scientific warnings; now they've missed the chance to head off a financial crisis for millions 2/
    • The unifying theme is that this isn't a crisis they wanted to deal with, so they have repeatedly pretended that it isn't happening. Grotesque malfeasance, every step of the way 3/
    • Did I miss Trump saying something about the killing of Judge Esther Salas's son? Or did he exhaust his reserves of compassion feeling sorry for Ghislaine Maxwell?

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • I keep getting mail from people who don't understand the difference between levels and rates of change. Total US Covid-19 deaths per capita are higher than Europe, but Europe had a lot of deaths early on 1/ https://t.co/qAkDaEN0Lt
    • Currently, Europe has relatively few new deaths, while we're still dying fast — 10 times as fast as the Europeans 2/ https://t.co/WMqqnXn8wF
    • In other words, both sides of the Atlantic lost heavily in the beginning — but they brought it largely under control, and we didn't 3/
    • McConnell totally misunderstands the problem; thinks this is about stimulus, not support as the virus rages. So no deal on unemployment benefits any time soon, with extra benefits going away for many THIS WEEKEND 1/ https://t.co/zIHArvcSMU
    • The scale of this unforced error is stunning. In May Pandemic Unemployment Compensation — the extra $600/week, which is what is disappearing — was more than 4% of GDP. Snatching that away will impose huge hardship 2/
    • And the unemployed, especially this time around, have little in the way of savings. They'll be forced to slash spending, delivering a huge dose of austerity to the economy as a whole. Sending checks to people who still have jobs won't have anything like the same impact 3/
    • For the nerds: the marginal propensity to consume out of income is much higher for UI beneficiaries than for the rest, hence a much bigger multiplier 4/
    • This policy failure could easily deliver a negative shock of several percent of GDP. And it's not just Trump's fault; Senate Rs share much of the blame 5/
    • Another IGM survey of economists -- this one, of quantitative macroeconomic economists -- finds that they generally believe best thing for economy would be to continue or *increase* the $600 federal UI top-up https://t.co/yGuukWD51V https://t.co/Ec1hp8Ex00 — (RT @crampell)

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • McConnell totally misunderstands the problem; thinks this is about stimulus, not support as the virus rages. So no deal on unemployment benefits any time soon, with extra benefits going away for many THIS WEEKEND 1/ https://t.co/zIHArvcSMU
    • The scale of this unforced error is stunning. In May Pandemic Unemployment Compensation — the extra $600/week, which is what is disappearing — was more than 4% of GDP. Snatching that away will impose huge hardship 2/
    • And the unemployed, especially this time around, have little in the way of savings. They'll be forced to slash spending, delivering a huge dose of austerity to the economy as a whole. Sending checks to people who still have jobs won't have anything like the same impact 3/
    • For the nerds: the marginal propensity to consume out of income is much higher for UI beneficiaries than for the rest, hence a much bigger multiplier 4/
    • This policy failure could easily deliver a negative shock of several percent of GDP. And it's not just Trump's fault; Senate Rs share much of the blame 5/

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • Somehow, I don't think daily displays of willful ignorance and self-pity are going to jump-start Trump's campaign 1/ https://t.co/JEX8ahUofZ
    • Here's how well we're doing, measured by average daily deaths over the past week 2/ https://t.co/9kLsN5812x
    • And the economic news is looking disappointing or worse 3/ https://t.co/4OKpEdEUAa
    • Trump only has three modes: boasting about the great job he's doing, whining about media bias, and fear-mongering about dark-skinned hordes. How realistic is it to believe that any of these will gain traction in the next 100 days? 4/
    • Henry Farrell has a caustic blog post on economists who think they're smarter than epidemiologists, keying off a recent column of mine. But my col was about politicians, not economists; who are these economists we're talking about? 1/ https://t.co/KCjHsEGKmq
    • They're pretty clearly a minority of the profession. Some are part of the charlatan-and-crank wing; it's noteworthy when Stephen Moore leads a smear campaign against Anthony Fauci, but doesn't say much about the state of economics 2/
    • The rest seem to be more or less identical to the people who insisted circa 2009 that Keynesianism was nonsense and had been proved wrong — a case they made by reinventing 80-year-old fallacies 3/
    • There are, to be sure, economists who suffer from severe unearned arrogance, believing that because they can crank through complicated models they must be smarter than other people, including other economists. 4/
    • But this kind of ignorant arrogance/intellectual imperialism isn't unique to economists. Try talking economics with physicists! 5/
    • What's special about this situation isn't that people who know something about one field have delusions of omnicompetence. It's the political edge, which associates actually bad economics with conservative goals 6/
    • Fact check: actually, it is an exaggeration https://t.co/LthRO4JAXS

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • Henry Farrell has a caustic blog post on economists who think they're smarter than epidemiologists, keying off a recent column of mine. But my col was about politicians, not economists; who are these economists we're talking about? 1/ https://t.co/KCjHsEGKmq
    • They're pretty clearly a minority of the profession. Some are part of the charlatan-and-crank wing; it's noteworthy when Stephen Moore leads a smear campaign against Anthony Fauci, but doesn't say much about the state of economics 2/
    • The rest seem to be more or less identical to the people who insisted circa 2009 that Keynesianism was nonsense and had been proved wrong — a case they made by reinventing 80-year-old fallacies 3/
    • There are, to be sure, economists who suffer from severe unearned arrogance, believing that because they can crank through complicated models they must be smarter than other people, including other economists. 4/
    • But this kind of ignorant arrogance/intellectual imperialism isn't unique to economists. Try talking economics with physicists! 5/
    • What's special about this situation isn't that people who know something about one field have delusions of omnicompetence. It's the political edge, which associates actually bad economics with conservative goals 6/

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • Somehow, I don't think daily displays of willful ignorance and self-pity are going to jump-start Trump's campaign 1/ https://t.co/JEX8ahUofZ
    • Here's how well we're doing, measured by average daily deaths over the past week 2/ https://t.co/9kLsN5812x
    • And the economic news is looking disappointing or worse 3/ https://t.co/4OKpEdEUAa
    • Trump only has three modes: boasting about the great job he's doing, whining about media bias, and fear-mongering about dark-skinned hordes. How realistic is it to believe that any of these will gain traction in the next 100 days? 4/

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • How to think about the current economic policy impasse, the one that is about to cut off tens of millions of desperate families: the WH and Dems have fundamentally different visions of current reality (Dems are right) 1/
    • In the WH view, Covid-19 is old news and not a problem, so we should push everyone back to work with tax cuts — and financial punishment for anyone who hesitates out of fear of, you know, dying 2/
    • In the D view, we're still in the middle of the pandemic, because premature opening wasted the gains of the spring. A lot of the economy has to stay locked down, or even returned to lockdown 3/
    • And the task of economic policy isn't "stimulus," it's emergency relief to let both families and essential govt services survive the months of difficulty ahead. Cutting payroll taxes for people who can't work is worse than useless 4/
    • Hard to see any quick agreement when one side is living in a fantasy world. And for many workers, the $600 supplement ends SATURDAY 5/

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • Amazingly, I still hear from people who think Sweden's Covid response is a success story. Mostly they seem to be looking at total deaths and not realize that Sweden only has 10 million people. Per capita it looks terrible, although not as bad as America 1/ https://t.co/swQQaVZ0PH
    • One question, though, is why US in general and Sunbelt in particular look so bad. AZ, like Sweden, imposed few rules; has a bit fewer people; but far more deaths. Why? Is it general pop health? Voluntary social distancing in SWE? People crammed together in aircon? 2/
    • I actually have no idea, although I'm partial to the idea that the air-conditioned life makes maskless crowds especially deadly. Of course, I'm old enough to remember when people said that car-centric states couldn't have NY-style problems, so no need for caution 3/
    • So, did the Marx Brothers administer Donald Trump's cognitive test? https://t.co/uVQ3HqT6jK

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • So the Portland Police Association says its office was set on fire by protestors. The key word is "says." Maybe it really happened. But at this point nobody should trust a police union's word on such things 1/
    • Remember the poisoned milk shakes? 2/ https://t.co/wvS68lgjHi
    • Remember the poisoned milk shakes? 2/ https://t.co/wvS68lgjHi
    • This kind of thing is why "don't disseminate conspiracy theories" isn't helpful advice right now. By all means keep your eye on the big stuff. But we're now in a situation in which questioning what authority figures claim is just being realistic 3/

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • Coming back to this shocking-but-not-surprising report about how the Trumpists decided that we should live free and die. I was struck by how Italy (!) became first a reassuring model, then an unattainable ideal 1/ https://t.co/cazkzKRCWk
    • The divergence in per capita deaths since late April is really striking 2/ https://t.co/kUwxe2SuWp
    • How many Americans would still be alive if we had matched Italy's performance? Around 40,000 so far. And we're losing >20K each month more than we would if we had brought deaths down to Italian levels 3/
    • Again, we're not talking about some super-capable authoritarian regime. We're talking about a country often seen as the sick man of Europe; but unlike America, it's run by people who actually care if their citizens die 4/

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • New York bungled the initial response, in part because the problem was new, and a lot of people died. Since then, however, the city and state have done what needed to be done. The Sunbelt hasn't https://t.co/kC9ZXlL9PA
    • I should add that neighboring states like NJ, and pretty much the Northeast as a whole, also deserve credit https://t.co/07vJUiZ7Ci
    • A horrifying but not surprising tick-tock. Four years ago, would you have imagined that American health experts would fantasize about we could have been Italy? (our current death rate is 10X as high) https://t.co/cazkzKRCWk
    • Maybe Kevin Hassett can write a tell-all on his role in WH fantasies of Covid-19 fading away. Suggested title: "Deaths 36,000"

    2 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • Where we are now: at this point, it will be almost impossible for Trump to win reelection legitimately. It's quite possible, however, that he will try to steal the election. And if you don't think that can happen, you're not paying attention 1/
    • On the legitimate election: Trump staked everything on ignoring the virus and reopening the economy. He lost. The virus is running wild, especially in the states that were Trumpiest in their policies 2/ https://t.co/CBEyDjKVsj
    • And multiple indicators, from payrolls to restaurant diners to small business revenue to household surveys, suggest that economic recovery has stalled as the pandemic surges 3/ https://t.co/gbV9U5z0if
    • Even if the pandemic and the economy somehow turn around — and how is that supposed to happen? — there isn't enough time to rescue Trump. Oh, and the attempted October surprise — you know there will be one — will fall flat from the boy who cried "fake news" 4/
    • But attempted theft could happen in multiple ways; expect to see many or all in November 5/
    • Men claiming to be federal agents, but without identification, are already making arrests. Coming to polling places in November? https://t.co/slrSQEUDZ4
    • Broken voting machines in D-leaning precincts? Mysterious and selective rejection of millions of absentee ballots? The list goes on. Don't say they wouldn't; clearly they will if they can. If you aren't scared, you're oblivious. fin/
    • Raise your hand if you know that Toronto is in Canada and not in the United States. https://t.co/0YOEMU9Vyd — (RT @davematt88)

    3 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • Where we are now: at this point, it will be almost impossible for Trump to win reelection legitimately. It's quite possible, however, that he will try to steal the election. And if you don't think that can happen, you're not paying attention 1/
    • On the legitimate election: Trump staked everything on ignoring the virus and reopening the economy. He lost. The virus is running wild, especially in the states that were Trumpiest in their policies 2/ https://t.co/CBEyDjKVsj
    • And multiple indicators, from payrolls to restaurant diners to small business revenue to household surveys, suggest that economic recovery has stalled as the pandemic surges 3/ https://t.co/gbV9U5z0if
    • Even if the pandemic and the economy somehow turn around — and how is that supposed to happen? — there isn't enough time to rescue Trump. Oh, and the attempted October surprise — you know there will be one — will fall flat from the boy who cried "fake news" 4/
    • But attempted theft could happen in multiple ways; expect to see many or all in November 5/
    • Men claiming to be federal agents, but without identification, are already making arrests. Coming to polling places in November? https://t.co/slrSQEUDZ4
    • Broken voting machines in D-leaning precincts? Mysterious and selective rejection of millions of absentee ballots? The list goes on. Don't say they wouldn't; clearly they will if they can. If you aren't scared, you're oblivious. fin/

    3 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • Moore isn't just known for bad predictions; he's known for being unable to get basic facts right 1/ https://t.co/JxsV84pEb0
    • See this Columbia Journalism Review piece 2/ https://t.co/hCnte39Eer
    • The fact that Moore has long been a go-to guide for Republicans — and is a Trump favorite — tells you a lot about the people who keep hiring him 3/
    • Calling on Americans to find new jobs with the highest unemployment since the Depression is awesome. Making Ivanka Trump the face of a campaign urging self-reliance is simply surreal. https://t.co/y54NSqMKuZ

    3 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • Newsom is effectively putting CA back on lockdown. Necessary; eventually AR/TX/FL will have to follow suit, or the public will effectively do it anyway 1/ https://t.co/cUYS3G4rwX
    • Who could have imagined this happening? Anyone who paid attention 2/
    • Who could have imagined this happening? Anyone who paid attention 2/
    • Exactly the scenario I warned about 2 mos ago 3/ https://t.co/4LxtfRQW1T

    3 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • Aside from the capital gains tax break — included, I guess, to remind plutocrats that Trump is their friend — everything here is about pushing people back to work, which might make some sense if we had beaten the virus 1/ https://t.co/vuUEHgDCzi
    • But the reality is that we wasted the results of the lockdown, which means we need to do it all over again 2/
    • Here's where we are now: right back where we were in March 3/ https://t.co/FOOCnwOHxj
    • Oh, and a crucial part of the safety net — expanded unemployment benefits — will go away in TWELVE DAYS 4/

    3 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • The rush to reopen will sicken or kill many Americans. On the other hand, it will be bad for the economy too 1/ https://t.co/IBrqXSGIrT
    • This was predictable and predicted. I warned about it here 2/ https://t.co/4LxtfRQW1T
    • Simon Wren-Lewis warned about it in the UK 3/ https://t.co/ffz7pMu7lp
    • There was never a tradeoff between growth and deaths. All there was was a marshmallow test. And thanks to Trump and his party, we failed it 4/

    3 weeks ago ago via Twitter


    • It's now clear that the US took a decisive wrong turn in late March, rushing to reopen even though Covid-19 wasn't remotely under control. And here's one way to think about it: America drank away its children's future 1/
    • What, after all, was the situation under lockdown? It was annoying but sustainable. Many workers and some businesses were receiving enough in emergency aid to avoid hardship, and we could have plugged the holes in that safety net, making lockdown tolerable much longer 2/
    • Could we afford to do that? Yes. Borrowing costs were very low. There were no financial constrains on taking as long as necessary to control the virus. But there was one crucial thing where lockdown inflicted long-term damage: education 3/
    • Students really need in-person teaching; we now know, if we didn't before, that remote learning is a very poor substitute. So our policy should have been to do whatever it took to make reopening schools in the fall relatively safe 4/
    • What actually happened, however, was that many states, especially in the South, rushed to resume business as usual, allowing big parties, opening restaurants and — incredibly — bars. And the consequence of letting people drink in crowds was a viral surge 5/
    • Now nobody knows either how we can open schools without disastrously reinforcing the pandemic, or how we can educate America's children without normal schooling. So as I said, we drank away the future of our children — and that of the nation 6/
    • Words fail me https://t.co/27IH8Li1B6

    1 month ago ago via Twitter


    • It's now clear that the US took a decisive wrong turn in late March, rushing to reopen even though Covid-19 wasn't remotely under control. And here's one way to think about it: America drank away its children's future 1/
    • What, after all, was the situation under lockdown? It was annoying but sustainable. Many workers and some businesses were receiving enough in emergency aid to avoid hardship, and we could have plugged the holes in that safety net, making lockdown tolerable much longer 2/
    • Could we afford to do that? Yes. Borrowing costs were very low. There were no financial constrains on taking as long as necessary to control the virus. But there was one crucial thing where lockdown inflicted long-term damage: education 3/
    • Students really need in-person teaching; we now know, if we didn't before, that remote learning is a very poor substitute. So our policy should have been to do whatever it took to make reopening schools in the fall relatively safe 4/
    • What actually happened, however, was that many states, especially in the South, rushed to resume business as usual, allowing big parties, opening restaurants and — incredibly — bars. And the consequence of letting people drink in crowds was a viral surge 5/
    • Now nobody knows either how we can open schools without disastrously reinforcing the pandemic, or how we can educate America's children without normal schooling. So as I said, we drank away the future of our children — and that of the nation 6/

    1 month ago ago via Twitter


    • Scotus decision de facto means no info before election. Scandal isn't going to bring Trump down. Yes, he surely committed treason; yes, he has surely profiteered off his office. But he has enough collaborators to protect him. If he falls, it will because of failed policy.
    • Scotus decision de facto means no info before election. Scandal isn't going to bring Trump down. Yes, he surely committed treason; yes, he has surely profiteered off his office. But he has enough collaborators to protect him. If he falls, it will because of failed policy.
    • As Harry Enten says, it's a Covid-19 election. https://t.co/3xUSrtccYt
    • BREAKING: Supreme Court rejects Trump’s dubious claims of immunity from releasing his tax returns, but creates a built in delay, likely past the election. Think we will see them about the same time we see Florida’s hospitalization & death data. — (RT @ASlavitt)

    1 month ago ago via Twitter


    • This fits with many other straws in the wind, suggesting that recovery either slowed or actually went into reverse in the 2nd half of June, as new cases soared 1/ https://t.co/zvXZHeDIhZ
    • Among other things, it now seems unlikely that Trump will go into November able to boast about a robust recovery, and quite likely that he'll preside over a stumbling economy and a rising death toll 2/
    • Among other things, it now seems unlikely that Trump will go into November able to boast about a robust recovery, and quite likely that he'll preside over a stumbling economy and a rising death toll 2/
    • Some policies that would be better than the UK's 50% subsidy for sit-down restaurant meals: 1. Subsidies for restaurants that don't serve meals (see: farm subsidies). 2. Pigouvian taxes on people eating in restaurants. 3. Throwing Pounds into the English Channel. https://t.co/jjA49dRAM1 — (RT @jasonfurman)

    1 month ago ago via Twitter


    • A month or so ago, people were telling me that the choice between reopening and not was a false one — the thing to do was "smart" reopening, which took maximal advantage of mitigating measures like masks and social distancing 1/
    • What we actually got, however, was stupid reopening, which is producing exactly the viral spikes we feared 2/ https://t.co/iV26xF0hjO
    • You might have expected some effort to clean up — to try to hold on to some reopening while going for the mitigating measures. But no: the Trump-Fox axis is doubling down on stupid 3/ https://t.co/uVowPBwquZ
    • Why do this? Part of the answer is that Trump believes that admitting mistakes is weak, so he always doubles down. It's also, probably, about the desperate hope that pretending things are OK will fool people for a few months 4/
    • But that really looks like a bet that has already failed. The problem is that even a hopeless political strategy can still kill a lot of people 5/

    1 month ago ago via Twitter


    • This is Florida, the state the right was hailing as a role model just a few weeks ago. No data on hospitalizations, because the state won't release it 1/ https://t.co/Pg82zXwC9M
    • But Ron DeSantis evidently feels that there aren't enough infected people in his state 2/ https://t.co/bg7vp5r9UW
    • One thing you can sense from Republicans is an outraged sense of injustice — how dare the world throw Covid-19 at them, when things seemed to be going so well? But the real surprise is that it took this long for Trump to face a real crisis 1/
    • Every other modern president faced some kind of external challenge during his first three years. Obama took office amid a financial crisis. Whatever you think of his response, GW Bush faced 9/11. Clinton faced stubbornly high unemployment, Bush the elder Saddam Hussein 2/
    • But Trump inherited a nation at peace, with a steadily growing economy. Until this March he could just sit on top of a smoothly moving train and claim that he was driving it 3/ https://t.co/N0EY8dUdKd
    • In other words, Covid-19 was his first significant test. And he flunked it with flying colors 4/
    • Transition to things-aren't-looking-so-greatness. Those June job gains were a snapshot from almost a month ago, and aren't what's happening now https://t.co/WGSTf1fWuA https://t.co/r9Qj0YIcl5

    1 month ago ago via Twitter


    • One thing you can sense from Republicans is an outraged sense of injustice — how dare the world throw Covid-19 at them, when things seemed to be going so well? But the real surprise is that it took this long for Trump to face a real crisis 1/
    • Every other modern president faced some kind of external challenge during his first three years. Obama took office amid a financial crisis. Whatever you think of his response, GW Bush faced 9/11. Clinton faced stubbornly high unemployment, Bush the elder Saddam Hussein 2/
    • But Trump inherited a nation at peace, with a steadily growing economy. Until this March he could just sit on top of a smoothly moving train and claim that he was driving it 3/ https://t.co/N0EY8dUdKd
    • In other words, Covid-19 was his first significant test. And he flunked it with flying colors 4/

    1 month ago ago via Twitter