Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Donald Trump's Off-the-Wall Claims About Economic Reality

Paul Krugman is correct when he writes:
The U.S. economy added 10.3 million jobs during President Obama’s second term, or 214,000 a month. This brought the official unemployment rate below 5 percent, and a number of indicators suggested that by late last year we were fairly close to full employment. But Donald Trump insisted that the good news on jobs was “phony,” that America was actually suffering from mass unemployment.

Then came the first employment report of the Trump administration, which at 235,000 jobs added looked very much like a continuation of the previous trend. And the administration claimed credit: Job numbers, Mr. Trump’s press secretary declared, “may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.”

Reporters laughed — and should be ashamed of themselves for doing so. For it really wasn’t a joke. America is now governed by a president and party that fundamentally don’t accept the idea that there are objective facts. Instead, they want everyone to accept that reality is whatever they say it is.
It is positively bizarre to claim that the Labor Department is putting out phony numbers when it is politically expedient to do so but then turn around and claim the Labor Department is putting out accurate numbers when it is politically beneficial to do so, especially when the numbers appear to just be part of a continuing trend.

It is one thing to argue that there is a problem with Department of Labor data collection methods and reporting but it is off-the-wall to claim there is a problem and switch when the data favors the point you want to make.


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