Paul Krugman Reveals How the Trump Presidency Will Get Immeasurably Worse
Paul Krugman yearns for a parliamentary system of government in Monday's column. If we had one, Donald Trump would already be facing a vote of no confidence after his abysmal weekend temper tantrum.
Trump's hissy fit was about reports of his puny inauguration crowd numbers. Krugman wonders how he'll react to entirely accurate reporting about far more important numbers during his presidency.
In his dreadful inaugural address, Trump talked about "American carnage," making one question exactly what he is looking at out his window at Trump Tower. Certainly, the country has its share of problems, but some of the job numbers tell a better story. Krugman's got them:
First, the economy. Listening to Mr. Trump, you might have thought America was in the midst of a full-scale depression, with “rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.” Manufacturing employment is indeed down since 2000; but overall employment is way up, and the unemployment rate is low by historical standards.
And it’s not just one number that looks pretty good: Rising wages and the growing number of Americans confident enough to quit their jobs suggest an economy close to full employment.
What this means is that unemployment probably can’t fall much from here, so that even with good policies and good luck, job creation will be much slower than it was in the Obama years. And since bad stuff does happen, there’s a strong likelihood that unemployment will be higher four years from now than it is today.
Oh, and Trumpist budget deficits will probably widen the trade deficit, so that manufacturing employment in particular is likely to fall, not rise.
So much for being the greatest jobs president ever.
Certainly with the dismantling of Obamacare, the numbers of uninsured Americans will again skyrocket, another number heading in the wrong direction for Trump and his spokespeople to invent "alternative facts" for.
Trump also continues to lie about violent crime numbers, which are way down for the most part. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but also the distinct possibility that things could get much worse in that department.
Krugman has zero doubt that Trump will continue to deny inconvenient reality. But what about his supporters? Will they continue to believe him? "They might," Krugman writes. "After all, they blocked out the good news from the Obama era. Two-thirds of Trump voters believe, falsely, that the unemployment rate rose under Obama. (Three-quarters believe George Soros is paying people to protest Mr. Trump.) Only 17 percent of self-identified Republicans are aware that the number of uninsured is at a historic low. Most people thought crime was rising even when it was falling. So maybe they will block out bad news in the Trump era."
The spell could break, however, given the human tendency to credit themselves for improvements and blame their leaders for the bad stuff. When Trump's absurdly grandiose promises fail to materialize, there's a decent chance for disillusionment.
Trump will very likely attack the messenger when things fall apart, just as he has done in the past. Watch this space for temper tantrums against non-partisan entities like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and the Census Bureau when they fail to report the fantasy Trump wants to spin.
And the "dishonest media," of course.