Alternate Universe Krugman

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on December 30, 2003

On the day the NASDAQ closed above 2,000 for the first time in 21 months, The New York Times' most irrelevant columnist, Paul Krugman, comes out with a column designed to show that the economy is not improving.

To quote, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Krugman's point is:

Everything you know is wrong
Black is white, up is down and short is long
And everything you thought was just so important doesn’t matter
Everything you know is wrong
Just forget the words and sing along
All you need to understand is
Everything you know is wrong

As the economy continues to get better, Krugman's denunciations of the President and his economic policies seem more and more desperate.

The measured unemployment rate of 5.9 percent isn't that high by historical standards, but there's something funny about that number. An unusually large number of people have given up looking for work, so they are no longer counted as unemployed, and many of those who say they have jobs seem to be only marginally employed. Such measures as the length of time it takes laid-off workers to get new jobs continue to indicate the worst job market in 20 years.

This doesn't pass the smell test. Krugman tells us, correctly, that a 5.9 percent unemployment rate "isn't that high" (he could have said, is relatively low). Then says that the number is misleading because of numbers that he won't (or can't) quantify. Really, would those numbers really be all that telling? In past mild recessions were these things not true? When we were going through President Carter's "malaise" were people encouraged to keep looking for jobs?

Krugman is living in some sort of alternate universe where black is white, up is down, and good economic news is really bad economic news.

As the economy continues to improve, Krugman's doom and gloom predictions will appear more and more foolish then they do now (which will be quite an accomplishment).


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December 2003



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