Obama’s Trickle-Up Economics

New statistics show that government can raise the quality of life for ordinary families without hurting the economy.

Comments: 291

  1. Kudos to the President for doing almost exactly what he told us he would do if elected. Even with a country that had been driven into the ditch by the Grand Old Pirates. It certainly shows our resilence.

    But as the President said in Philly this week, there is still a lot of work to do. Gosh. That means that a third term for Democrats in Hillary Clinton will be a good deal for us all.

    Hillary 2016

  2. I think GOP might stand for Greedy Obstinate Pirates. (Thanks for the help with the P.)

  3. Not only did he do what he promised, he did what Romney promised as well.

  4. The Republicans have been touting "Job Creators" for decades as the business leaders exported our economy. The only good thing about Trump is his bring back factories rhetoric.

  5. Which is just rhetoric,

  6. Dr. Krugman, it really doesn't matter that, under this president, his greatest initiatives have translated, on the whole, to improvements to rank-and-file families and individuals. The Fox-Limbaugh-ALEC evil axis has successfully orchestrated the deafening cacophony of promised Socialist destruction so that rational thought was nowhere to be found.

    Congress, early on in President Obama's administration, was determined to short-sheet his stimulus package to the point where it was effective--but only up to a point. The modest funding failed to provide the teeth needed to begin an earnest push towards infrastructure repair. As a result, the Mitch McConnell-John Boehner insurrectionists could claim credit for a program that fell between two stools. They also wasted billions of taxpayer dollars in their serial vote to repeal his ACA.

    President Obama was never meant to succeed. Rather than do their jobs, as their sworn oaths demanded, this treasonous Congress sought, for reasons of race and ideology, to wreck his legacy. He singlehandedly pushed back against the right wing prophets of doom; he halved the unemployment rate to 4.9%; got millions insured against catastrophic illness; and presided over a slow but steady increase of job growth.

    Quite impressive, considering the disloyal opposition. It's all at risk this November.

  7. Thanks for mentioning ALEC. Of Limbaugh (and the rest of talk radio), FOX News and ALEC, ALEC has been the most destructive. Most Americans don't know this because they are very good at flying under the radar. A Trump presidency fits their purposes perfectly. His idiocy will paralyze Washington, shifting power more to the states, - just where they want it.

  8. Sox,

    The Constitution you want, isn't the same one the rest of us have. The Congress elected by "we the people who bother to vote" controls the money and how it's spent.

    You want an Emperor with a rubber stamp Congress. Don't start whining about gerrymandering either as the Senate is elected at large and you don't have that either!

    Outside the NYT and other fringe outlets with a few hundred thousand viewers or readers your ideas aren't selling.

    You should have gone with Bernie Sanders, you would be winning now!

  9. "We expected good news; but last year, it turns out, the economy partied like it was 1999" says Paul Krugman.

    Complete and utter bunkum.

    Maybe Krugman partied like it was 1999 but the MAJORITY of us did not. Just because a few added massively to their personal wealth does NOT make a recovery. Krugman and other 'economists' seem to believe that what they utter by simply opening their mouths, equals fact. It does not, and we know it.

    Or, maybe I am unlucky, but I seriously doubt the hundreds of people I speak to in business are ALL unlucky. Krugman is a propagandist, period.

    No? Prove it.

    The NYT is populated by people who are not part of the main-stream, they (as in Krugman) do not have a grip of what regular folks want, need, or aspire to. Shame on the NYT for continuing to publish this nonsense.

  10. This isn't an editorial that Mr. Krugman is writing, its pretty much a slice of the Census Bureau's report. You may feel that your own situation or that of your friends and relatives has not recovered, but that's just a sampling. The Census is based on thousands of samples and reflect the aggregate. Census samples are not perfect and they may not completely reflect reality, but they are consistent in their modeling and over time will give an accurate picture of the economy.

  11. There are some people who like to look at the glass as half full and others who see it as half empty. You fit in the latter group.

  12. Why don't you call us back after you read the column? Or maybe you should start with a dictionary and look for the word "statistics"?

    However, I think there is only one question that is really relevant for a Trump supporter: Who do you hate most?

    Being so filled with hate seems pretty deplorable, but all I can do is feel sorry for you and hope you grow up to be less driven by your hatreds. It might even improve your luck?

  13. "Only serious nerds like me eagerly await the annual Census Bureau reports on income..."

    Prof. Krugman, what you mean is serious nerds who happen to be economists or professors of economy.

    I would gather that most other nerds, serious or otherwise would give this a pass.

  14. We'll soon see how adept Republicans have been in persuading American voters they are victims and have been taken to the cleaners by those duplicitous Democrats. The Trumpeter has raised the question whether a society created with the goal of empowering diverse groups with diverse interests to cooperate so as to enhance the prosperity and well-being of its members as a whole. Should the Trumpeter prevail, it will signal that democracy is a dead duck, a victim of those who falsely claim to have been victimized.

  15. That overall improvement took EIGHT YEARS rather than the two or three it should have following a major recession is more a testimony to the strength of our economy than to Mr. Obama’s policies. It also says something about how many have dropped out of the labor force to increase the competition for some skills enough to raise some wages. Britain’s labor force participation rate (those employed or looking for a job), for example, is 78.5%, while ours is 62.5% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

    That so many Americans have just given up isn’t a positive testimonial. And how is it that life is so rosy when our economic growth is projected to be stuck at about 1% for as far as the eye can see?

    But I’m happy to see Paul acknowledging that high-earners are paying as much in federal income taxes as they did before Reagan – but he still doesn’t include the effect of rising state and local taxes, including property taxes and surcharges on higher incomes in some of our states.

    Finally, if everything is so rosy it’s puzzling to see Donald Trump’s growing political viability, buoyed up by the convictions of millions of people that their lives haven’t gotten better but worse – the income improvements have largely benefited the tech workers of Apple and Google, not the increasing numbers of burger-flippers who have fueled job-growth numbers under our president.

    What America indeed got from Obama’s policies was the disaster that conservatives predicted. But Paul soldiers on.

  16. Thankfully, Obama's and progressives' policies prevented America from getting hit by the disaster that was started by the Bush administration, and so desired and pushed for by the McConnell/Boehner conservatives after Obama was elected.

  17. @Richard Luettgen: Richard, it's taken "EIGHT YEARS" because the president has done it all ON HIS OWN. You and your right-wing confederacy of dunces always scramble to the handy bromide of job-seekers throwing up their hands and giving up, melting into the unemployment shadows of "burger flippers."

    I also detect the scent of your resentment here of those employed by Apple and Google. The land changed, Richard, from blue-collar to digital. Those who eschewed the benefits of a college education during St. Ronnie's reign are now paying the price. They got caught looking the other way, stoned on the "welfare queen" and "strapping young bucks" joints served up by the states' rights president along with his absurd "trickle-down" witchery.

    Richard, your President Dick Cheney (oh, I'm so sorry, I meant W.; forgive me) blew up the US economy with tax cuts benefitting the 1% and took us to two (unpaid) wars, and you're angry that it's taken President Obama "EIGHT YEARS"?

    If your Donald Trump finds the White House, it may take at least EIGHT DECADES for his serial disasters to be cleared away. Woe will be us.

  18. Sox:
    You could also mention that we have been waging significant military actions around the world (more than one might expect for a country that is "not at war"), and that could not have helped either.

  19. Does one dare hope that Democratic candidates, from president down to dog catcher, will take Krugman's points and beat their Republican opponents over the head with them? Repeatedly? Demand, not supply, builds economies. Putting money in the pockets of people who already have more than they could ever spend does nothing. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
    A national infra-structure/education upgrade initiative would put money in middle and working class pockets immediately and pay off into the future. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

  20. "Demand, not supply, builds economies."

    As stated by Adam Smith in 1776!

    "Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer. The maxim is so perfectly self-evident that it would be absurd to attempt to prove it."

    Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations' Book IV, Chapter VIII

  21. Regarding Trickle Up Economics:

    As a volunteer tax preparer for the past 12 years I have seen many low income families leave the tax site with stars in their eyes and four figure Earned Income Tax Credits in their refunds, soon to be in their bank accounts, and soon after to be spent, spent spent.

    What better way to stimulate the economy than to give money to people who will spend it?

  22. Ralph, precisely! Democratic messaging, other than by President Obama, seems always to be weak. They just seem incapable of using all of the political and policy tools at their disposal. Dems came out of their convention looking like the patriotic, red-white-and blue side, thus partially removing the mantle of patriotism from the unpatriotic GOP. And, that's what they are: UNPATRIOTIC!

    Now, Dems need to take the "fiscally conservative" mantle away from the GOP. The GOP is not fiscally conservative. They support crony capitalism, not real competitive capitalism. So, these proven truths pointed out by Krugman should be hammered against Republicans at every level. When the middle class gets stronger and bigger, that's the engine of the great American economy. That's what brings up the working class and provides upward mobility for the poor. So, that's really FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE!

    Why can't you idiotic Democrats understand that you can remove the myth that Republicans are in any way fiscally conservative? What is wrong with you? Expanding and strengthening Social Security and Medicare will increase the security and spending of the middle class. And, simply making the fixes to Obamacare, like were made to Romneycare in Mass., would also strengthen the entire economy. Republicans, you are just plain wrong most of the time, and you are not the fiscal conservatives in American politics and policy. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is insanity. AE

  23. Henry Ford understood Trickle-Up Economics.

    It made him a rich man while he raised worker pay.

    He later described it as the best "cost-cutting" move he ever made because better pay reduced worker absenteeism and improved productivity.

    Cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans flies in the face of logic, as they are the least in need of greater discretionary income and they have the lowest marginal propensity to consume.

    Does Trickle-Up Economics mean "soak the rich?"

    Absolutely not, and that is abundantly clear once we move past just income and toward wealth - the true source of riches.

    Wealth - particularly generational wealth - largely avoids taxation entirely.

    Republicans have made it a pet project to ban the "death tax" - an oxymoron since the dead have no Earthly possessions to pay.

    It's for the 2nd generation after a $10.9 million exemption, unlike the bus boy taxed on $1.

    The wealthy can get liquidity from capital gains without ever selling through margin accounts.

    But when they do, they pay preferential capital gains taxes.

    There are wonderful wealthy people who make the world a better place, like Warren Buffett.

    He advances a wonderful plan, the Buffett Rule, to help address disparities in taxation between the rich and the poor.

    Also, ending the multinational deferral of taxation before repatriation and shifting Social Security and Medicare to the general budget would do wonders for the lives of Americans and the robustness of the economy.

  24. Henry Ford only gave in to the striking workers demands when his wife pleaded with him to do it. This was after his goons had been beating up the workers and Ford needed to get the workers back into production.

  25. Thanks for the warning to be aware of Fox News propaganda. Much appreciated.

    You’re not addressing criticism of Obama policies from the Left, only from the Right. This makes it easier for him to look like our hero---and he looks like one in the photo. Yes, he’s much much much better than the rw Gop crazies, and the One who shall not be named, ok?

    Obama has dealt with one of the worst oppositions in our history. And our presidents are restricted by a political system financed by the 1 percent.
    We’re called the richest, greatest country at the convention. We deserve better than just “an element of trickle-up economics in its response to the Great Recession”.
    Trickle –up? Phooey---is that the best this country can do for what was once the world’s strongest, most secure middle/working class?

    And our liberal pundits should be leading the way for more daring reform. Daring in the US system anyway.

    As for ‘redistribution’.... the resources and productivity of the country and its citizens has ALREADY been redistributed away from us, the majority, upward to the 1 percent. That's tiny super rich well organized group who finance our elections—uniquely among world democracies. The mass of citizens vote, but the elite few do the financing—and thus set the limits of policy.

    Is it too daring to push for re-redistribution of our resources back to the citizens? And to refute the myth of big bad govt, when govt is us? Or is that too too radical for these times?

  26. That Black President
    Is what some Whites resent
    More than inequality,
    Being White's their treasure
    Their yardstick of measure,
    Overrides the Economy.

    We need hate defusing
    Bigotry refusing
    Brotherhood in the air,
    Black and White together
    All bias must tether
    Fight for a System that's fair

  27. What's actually remarkable is that Obama managed to achieve anything despite being constantly harangued from daring to save the American economy, the auto industry (remember how successful cash for clunkers was?), provide a safety net, end unending wars (and bring home the troops), providing options under healthcare and equality to love anyone.

    Now just imagine if Republicans actually chose to work with him to come to a middle ground and try solve issues? Oh, I forgot. It may have led to the description of the most successful American president ever and a super majority Democrat-led Congress. But just imagine if it had happened...

  28. The pain of an enormous missed opportunity. It is the real scandal, you are right. We could have broken the back of the corporate state, taken the money out of politics, if not for those fools in congress. They continue to threaten our children's future with their wrong-headed ideas. It's painful to think of how good it could have been if these poor people had worked with Obama instead of stonewalling him. Just as the French revolution continues to play itself out today in France, the civil war never really ended in the USA.

  29. End unending wars? The US is bombing six (6) countries. We still have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Sauds have purchased $115 Billion worth of war toys. North Korea and Iran (yes, Iran, thanks to their newfound cash infusions) are building their nuclear arsenal. Some achievement.

  30. Perhaps not the best, but the best I have seen in my 59 years.

  31. Happy days are here again. So if you insist on feeling blue as you peer into your empty wallet, you've probably been watching too much Fox News.

    Yes, median incomes are up and poverty is down. But look closely at the Census figures and you see that although people might be working longer hours, they certainly haven't gotten a raise. Most of the new jobs created have been of the low-wage, service sector variety.

    According to the report, the median pay of single women without children jumped 8.7%. This sounds fantastic until you realize that their actual median salary increased to $29,022 from $26,022 in 2014. That's nowhere close to a living wage, especially if most of it has to go toward skyrocketing rent. So if you don't think you've come a long way, baby, by getting 5-10 more hours at Walmart thanks to the beneficence of the clan that owns nearly as much wealth as the bottom half of the population, then you've probably been watching too much Fox News.

    Under "Total Income Dispersion", the report shows that the poorest, lowest quintile received only 3.1% of total income, while the top 20% raked in more than half of it. The top 5% grabbed more than a fifth of the entire pie. Income inequality is not improving, not at all.

    Another report out this week found that only 16% of the jobs available to new college grads give them enough purchasing power to buy a home and start a family.

    So turn off Fox, all you pessimists, and raise a glass to Dr. Pangloss.

  32. Excuse me, but where did you get the median income stats? Not from the census report. As stated median yes median as in the income of the worker whose income is half way between the riches and poorest, made 56k plus. If you are right there is s difference between salary and income of the degree you stated, then the median person, I.e, your average joe made 30 k from assets. Does this seem reasonable to anyone?

  33. Kyle, Karen is talking about "the median pay of single women without children". Read more carefully.

  34. Someone expects to buy and home and start a family on an entry-level salary? Has that world ever existed?

    Maybe the problem is the expectation of not having to work one's way to the top...

  35. Time and time again, the Democrats prove that government is a cooperative force for good that enriches the nation by leveraging it's economy. Democrat leadership has closely tracked periods of prosperity.

    As the population grows, so must the government to provide vital services. The population has doubled since the 1950's. Logic dictates that so must services.

    Without government, we would be driving on dirt roads and dying young.

    President Obama is yet another Democrat who has presided over another economic expansion after a disasterous economic fall. The last period of prosperity was under Clinton in the 1990's.

    There are many imperfections in Hillary Clinton as there are in all of us, but I most definitely want Hillary to carry on the work started by Obama. A Trump Presidency would unleash the Pirates and real criminals of America.

  36. Yes, the curve is bending at last. Income is increasing. Jobs are growing. Healthcare coverage is expanding. Maybe, just maybe, the curve will continue to bend upward and Paul Krugman will report the sustained growth we all hope to see.

  37. Darn, I was going to make a comment along the same lines regarding 'trickle down' but you beat me to it.
    (Darn again, I meant to post this at a reply to Patrick.)

    Need more coffee....

  38. Trickle-down economics is one of those great lies that no amount of contrary evidence can seem to kill.

    Another great lie of similar scale and longevity is liberal media bias.

  39. Actually, it is not a great lie. The Rich really do "Trickle" down on us.

  40. Got to thank Patrick. His comment made me smile.

  41. Well put.

  42. If Americans " vote their pocket books" and the president's approval ratings continue to rise, perhaps "our long national nightmare" will be over, and we'll no longer have to endure Mr. Trump in our lives.

  43. Apres Obama le deluge. We are going to regard these past 8 years as a golden age in many ways, particularly if know-nothing idiocy prevails in the Electoral College, upon whom the upcoming November election actually depends.

  44. Dear lord not another 2000 disaster. Could happen though. The vote of the people was thwarted by Florida in 2000 and nearly so by Ohio in 2004. The race is tied in the former and Trump leads in the latter.

  45. Three articles appeared in The Times this past week painting a far less rosy picture of the economy and the ACA than Prof. Krugman does. This is a classic case: whether the glass is half empty or half full depends on where you stand.

    There are millions of Americans who still can't find the good jobs they once had, and who struggle to pay their bills. There are millions under Obamacare who defer medical care because they can't afford the deductible. Or, if covered by Medicaid, they can't find a doctor who will take them.

    This is not to blame President Obama, who has done his best under the circumstances. But it is a question for Paul Krugman: whether he serves the best interest of Democrats by continuing to paint a Pollyanish picture, or whether he contributes to the distrust and resentment that propels so many long-suffering Americans into the arms of Donald Trump.

  46. With Trump, the glass will be only half full - and cracked.

  47. Ron, it's not that I disagree with you, but your comment would be more convincing if it contained a few figures and references as Krugman's column does.

  48. Interesting column, but I wish it were more persuasive. In particular, the degree to which President Obama's executive policies were able to counteract the partisan and even destructive obstructionism of the so-called Republicans, especially the ones controlling the House of so-called Representatives. I searched the article for some strong evidence, but correlation is not the same as causation, and there is no solid proof in the "coincidence" that good economic times come when there are Democrats in the White House.

    Trump's supporters seem quite delusional. Or maybe they are brilliant in being able to believe multiple versions of the reality without going nuts. Even if they accepted the economic data as real, they could say it's the deadlock that caused economic improvements, but removing the deadlock will also cause economic improvements.

    Obviously I'm still hung up on the election, and this column seems too tangential to me...

  49. Ah but correlation is proof that the negative is false. You might say it's not proof that his policies helped, but it is proof that they didn't hurt the economy. And the ACA definitely helped increase access to health insurance for millions. Many of those who needed it but where shut out due to pre-existing conditions.

    Trump's tax cuts would be for the rich, and if he doesn't kill all the programs that help the middle class then the deficit will add 4trillion to the debt in 4 years. And this wouldn't be to fight s recession.

  50. Actually, Kyle, "correlation does not imply causation" is useless because one can newer "prove" causation in the real world, especially in economics. Even in physics, in spite of zillions of experiments, they never could "prove" Newtonian Mechanics."

    But you are correct, "no correlation implies no causation" is the basis of science.

  51. If we want to keep the economy moving forward, it is necessary for everyone who is planning on voting for a third-party candidate to vote for the Democratic nominee. Whether you like her or not, she is the best qualified for the job and the most likely to work on plans to improve the lives of all Americans.

    Donald Trump, like all Republican nominees, has a plan to (guess what) cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Same old, same old failed policies that have been proven not to work. The opposite is true, raising taxes on these groups actually brings more funds into the Treasury and into circulation and leads to more prosperity.

    This race is getting too close for anyone to waste their vote on a third-party candidate.

  52. Obama is indeed our Hero!

  53. Now, now, you are making Bill Clinton jealous! Hillary thinks he can fix our economy if she is President, because he just knows how to.

  54. My hesitation in supporting Mr. Obama for president was if he could connect with the American people in the way that was needed, to bring them to understand that it is they, the American people, that need to bring about the changes needed for a more equitable society, not the POTUS, not wether he was an intelligent and compassionate person who would be as capable or more so than anyone else in taking on the responsibilities of the POTUS. Unfortunately I was right. What we desperately need in a POTUS is someone who can reach out to the American people and connect with them in a way that can break the power of the corporations attention hold over them, to get them to realize that they have the power to make life better but they must take the actions needed to do it, not wait for others to make the changes. Pay your employees a fair wage. Respect all people as they should be respected. Understand that a more equal economic distribution of profits benefits everyone, even if it means that a few will have less but still much more than they need. We are embarking on a crisis period in our history. Climate change is going to force changes in the way that we live beyond anything that we can foresee. We must unite as a people to meet this challenge. We need the leader that can do this. We need the leader who will say that it is up to you to take the initiative, I can only do so much with the power you that have given me, you must do the rest.

  55. Ed, I believe Bernie had that ability, at least with younger voters.

  56. Except unvetted Bernie would very quickly have been utterly destroyed by the right wing attack machine, and he never provided any evidence of how he would get his policies enacted, and by the end of the primary season he was exhibiting a a grumpy, uncompromising personality that showed he did not have the chops to be an effective chief executive.

  57. Yes, asking the general population if they "feel" the economy is doing better is pointless. That question is political. FOX News deals in fear and I have high school and junior high students who believe Clinton is the devil because they repeat what their parents have heard no FOX. News outlets must deal in facts. The fact of the matter is that Obama's polices work and those of the Extreme Right do not. Anyone who wants to argue for economic policies of the Extreme Right can come to Kansas and see first hand our disaster authored by the Extreme Right.

  58. Television rules the minds of billions. Trump is the Television Man.

  59. My sympathies. Much is the matter with Kansas, since its just being Kansas.

  60. And if you want to see democratic policies working go next to Colorado. We are booming.

  61. Quite the rosy picture you paint. But any growth, even in poverty level wages, is cause for celebration; at least it didn't get worse.
    However re Obamacare, we've got to get pronto to single payer or public option. Doctors and nurses are not making the big bucks, it's the insurance companies raking it in while raising our rates outlandishly each year blaming it on-surprise-Obamacare. The most important department in a hospital is billing, VIP is one who knows how to creatively bill with zero error.
    Obamacare was a start, and it's not an unalloyed success. Yes it's better than nothing. But big insurers are pulling out claiming they can't afford to compete in it, red states balk because Obama. Time to get the massive profit of the big insurers out and the health of citizens as priority. Insurance companies had it handed to them but always grab for more. Check out their exec pay.
    Change we need won't happen today but it's still best to be fully honest, if only so the right can't use pieces like this as a cudgel.

  62. 1. With the possible exception of Germany, all other developed countries have tried a health insurance system based mainly on loosely regulated private insurance. None of them could get it to work. The only one using it today is Switzerland, but there the federal gov writes a basic policy which all insurances cos must offer and are not allowed to profit from it. Also while their cost per person ($6325) is much less than ours ($8713), it is still much higher than the (OECD) average ($3453).

    2. As we see, when faced with the sicker patients, private insurgence cos fold. This is the trouble with the public option. The private cos will find a way to avoid the poor & sicker patients who will flock to the public option thus raising its costs. Republicans will point to its higher costs as an example of why gov. health care does not work.

    In addition, one of the main advantages of a universal gov run system is that there is only one entity dealing with the problem. Insurance 101 teaches us that, statistically, the larger the pool, the more efficient the plan. In addition, there are large administrative saving. The overhead and compliance costs of private insurance cos waste over $600 Billion each year without even counting patient compliance costs.

    3. The bottom line is that HR676 which simply gave an improved Medicare to everyone and was only 70 pages long would have given Americans better care at much, much lower cost. Is it to late to change our mind?

  63. We won't know until the votes are counted. American prosperity for everyone will not be restored until we deposit the myths about "Job Creators" on the ash heap of history where they belong. Along with the entire Right Wing, Chamber of Commerce and Kochtopuss agenda.

    Until the "average" voter grasps what a pack of lies they have been fed by the propaganda channel, we will continue to struggle with a minority (20% of the
    electorate?) that truly believe electing obstructionist right wing ideologues will solve our problems. At which point they will all become "Good Americans" and deny ever having believed the Propaganda Channel.

    But it is still a long and difficult struggle at the polls ahead of us. As the professor says, mostly around here they just quote the latest sound bite from the Propaganda Channel.

    Vote Democratic, and encourage others to do the same.

  64. Home ownership rates at 50-year lows. Labor force participation at all-time lows. More people collecting disability payments than ever. Obesity at all-time high, infant mortality rate comparable to third-world countries. Minimum wage service jobs at all-time high, teenage summer employment at historical lows, meaning heads of households are working at jobs that cannot support a family. A particular president is not necessarily the culprit here, but the donor class and their apologists in the media are. And with few exceptions they are Hilary supporters. Take that into the voting booth friends and reline the bird cage with this columnist's paid ad.

  65. The donor class? A new scapegoat in identity politics?

    I agree--no one president is responsible for the faults of America, but I refer you to Walter Mondale's accusation (1984) that Reagan and his economics were in the process of turning America's steel country into a rust bowl (cf. dust bowl). The press picked that up as Rust Belt--a long-term phenomenon. The fault, Marie, lies in our economic ideologies--government bad; taxes bad; free market good; Citizens United good; Devil take the hindmost.

  66. Marie--did you bother to read the column (did the NYT monitor?)? I don't see where you refute any of Krugman's points in your comment.

  67. Marie the dawn is breaking and I can see clearly now the glass is one quarter empty.

  68. There is more than you think here. Obama repeated a natural experiment started by Bill Clinton with the same resuls. In the 1990s Clinton raised taxes and created a surplus that went to reducing the national debt. But the elevated taxes on high income stimulated greater investment on the theory that it's better to put money at risk and have a chance of reward or at least a loss deduction than to simply let the government take it. The result was an increase in annual venture capital investment from a low of $30 billion to a high of $100 billion in 2000. We are still living off the inventions and company formations of that era. Obama caused a similar pattern proving that if you want the job creators to do their job, a little stick is as important as the carrot.

  69. Agree Denis - and Clinton only raise taxes on the top 1%, from 35 to 39.5% which after deductions meant they still paid less than 20%. The top 1% has THAT much money!

  70. "Obama caused a similar pattern proving that if you want the job creators to do their job, a little stick is as important as the carrot."

    So you believe it's the job of the federal government to force businesses to invest their money, even if it may not be in the business's best interest?

  71. There were economists that predicted 2008 and their argument is easy to understand. The first thing to realize is that the federal deficit measures the flow of money FROM the federal government TO the private sector.

    The first chart at http://www.slideshare. net/MitchGreen/mmt-basics-you- cannot-consider-the- ... shows what happened.

    In the 1990's spending and the deficit were reduced. The flow of money out of the federal sector was reduced.

    Simultaneously the flow of money into the private sector was reduced. Then in about 1996 money began to flow out of the private sector, out of the country in fact. In about 1998, Money started flowing into the federal sector. This is the Clinton surplus. Money was rapidly flowing out of the private sector.

    In 2001, the Bush administration started, and we had deficits again, but our trade deficit was really large. Except for a brief period in 2003, the Bush deficits were not large enough to compensate for the money going out of the country. Money still flowed out of the private sector.

    People then turned to banks to get money. Private debt exploded. But the banks could create only so much money.

    Finally in 2008, the economy crashes. Now there certainly were other factors which contributed to the 2008 crash. e.g. high inequality meant the Rich had excess money to speculate with, but the cumulative effect of money leaving the private sector from about 1996 to 2008 and the resultant huge increase in private debt was the main cause.

  72. And this happened with no help from the Republican controlled Congress, which has been actively sabotaging America.

    Imagine if the U.S. could unleash herself by deploying both fiscal AND monetary policies conducive to growth and prosperity for ALL and not just a few

  73. The problem is that these are facts that don't register for inhabitants of the alternate reality who celebrate Trump as the champion of the downtrodden who happen to be white. We know that typical Trump fanatics are generally well off and their yelling points about jobs, wages, taxes, etc., mask their defining agenda, which is make America white again.

    It's a constant of history: bad economic times and a high tide of racism, xenophobia, and chip-on-shoulder nationalism are twins inseparable since birth. It's not a big leap to think that an extended period of economic decline would produce a deeper, more intense spasm of racist friction, exacerbated by a Black president, BLM backlash, Rap culture, Dark-skinned terrorists, uppity millionaire Black NFL players dissing their white benefactors and their national anthem, the affirmative action takers. Dry tinder Trump put a match to. And like a moth to flame, a see/hear/speak no evil media couldn't help itself.

    Consider Trump's newly proclaimed jobs policy -- he promises 25 million jobs in ten years, reported as a fact. Some articles featured a final paragraph quoting an independent analyst saying Trump would need 10 million immigrants because that many jobs would exceed the available workforce. Given most readers scan the top three or four paragraphs and very few read to the last paragraph, 25 million jobs sounds great. That's way more than HRC.

    Trickle-up Economics meet Trickle-down Media.

  74. Professor Krugman you did not get the Memo? The Rebranding of the GOP is now complete. Remember Preibus "Autopsy Report" and how the GOP "needed to address how it is viewed by the American Electorate"? Paul Ryan was the surgeon on that rebranding effort and insists it is not "trickle down" anymore. It is now "The People Agenda". So lets get our nomenclature correct. What is the "People Agenda"? Cut the living daylights out of anything that is for "People" such as SNAP Benefits while increasing Farm Subsidies, the usual "Privatization" scam of everything, increase our already bloated Defense Budget because ISIS is going to. I believe Lindsey Graham said it best, "come here and decapitate while we are sleeping" and naturally, jobs. Sound familiar? Well that is because you did not get the Memo. Peoples Agenda. OK?

  75. Because of, or in spite of the policies you support? Record numbers have given up looking for jobs, we are $20 Trillion in debt, up from $10 Trillion when Obama took office, our inner cities are slaughterhouses, 54% or urban black males are unemployed, Obamacare is failing dismally, Social Security disability applications are at record highs, and GDP growth and passbook savings have been near-zero for 8 years. All while we've finally achieve full energy independence, a national goal since 1973. The economy should be booming, but it's not.

  76. If you ever used a credit card, you know it takes years to pay back with interest. We bought tax cuts and an unnecessary war on a credit card - policies you may have supported - it crashed the economy and now you try to to blame it on the president who willingly inherited this debt and has in fact reduced spending, oversaw job creation, low gas prices and still gave you tax cuts. Is everything perfect and back to normal for all families - no - but maybe a little patience and a little less partisanship would be in order, Bob. I don't suppose you support Trump's tax cuts which would be similar to the ones we had to borrow 2.7 trillion to fund in the early part of the previous decade.

  77. Wow. Thanks for informing me. I had no idea that America had become such a hell-hole. Ah, for the eden that was America when the last Republican president was in office.

  78. Did any reasonable person really think the Census Bureau would release anything except wine and roses in the quarter preceding a Presidential election? Readers need to review not only Krugman's take, but also pinions/news in other sources, like the WSJ, to get a balanced assessment. Too many readers satisfy themselves with only one source of information.

  79. Most of the single source news folks accept the lies of FOX as gospel with no fcct checking. The economy does better under Democrats in the modern era--look it up.

  80. "Too many readers satisfy themselves with only one source of information."

    Boy, are you right about that! But yu're wrong about who the one source people are.I read the Wall Street Journal from time to time (it's fun to read information in their editorials that is sometimes directly contradicted by information in the straight news section), follow FOX News, and avidly listen to talk radio. I can state, unequivocally, that the one source information people are more on the right than the left.

    And what special information do you have that contradicts the Census? The Census has more resources than anyone else and it's hard to imagine a source that can study the situation of the American people better. Saying the Census has been politicized is just too easy.

  81. Although you don't come right out and say it, you imply that you doubt the authenticity of the Census Bureau data since you do say that we should look at the opinions of such sources as the WSJ. If so, that puts you in the same league as Donald Trump who will probably say that the positive economic news from the Census Bureau report is a conspiracy between the Obama administration and the Bureau to help Democrats in November. He discards or discredits facts when they don't support his position.

  82. According to the GOP, money is good for the rich, but bad for the poor.

    If we elect Trump, expect the GOP to take all Social Security and Medicare money. Bet the rent.

  83. As an owner of a professional remodeling business, we are overwhelmed with demand from middle-class homeowners who want to update and improve their homes. And this is a trend that actually has been building for the last 8 years. Every year has gotten slightly better than the last. It's my observation of real-world events that most businesses actually do better under a Democratic Administration than a Republican one. Which is why I'm very concerned about a possible Trump Administration which frankly, will be a disaster for the economy and America in general.

  84. "As an owner of a professional remodeling business, we are overwhelmed with demand from middle-class homeowners who want to update and improve their homes. And this is a trend that actually has been building for the last 8 years."

    Which of Obama's policies has created more business for you?

  85. It is because republicans have never been as concerned about a healthy economy as much as they are about proportional wealth and its relationship to power and control. Republicans have one foot in the past on many levels: the power/force paradigm of old is but one.

  86. Your comment should be block quoted in the middle of Dr Krugman's next piece.

    Wish I could "recommend" it 10 times.

  87. I don't watch Fox. Ever. I am a Clinton supporter and a liberal Democrat.
    I also make exactly 50% less in income than I did 5 years ago. My STEM career is gone forever, disappeared by the patent cliff. There are no jobs I can get without significantly risking years of income instability. So I've had to start over, on the bottom rung, in a different industry in my 50's. I live in a major metropolitan area.
    If I were more gullible and less educated, I could be Trump supporter. As it is, I'm just angry that once again I'm told that my current predicament is all in my head as a result of watching the one channel on TV I avoid like the plague.

  88. Thank you for saying this. I have "re-invented" myself professionally, constantly upgrading my skills, and yet my salary is now only 10% higher than it was when I was in my 30s. I'm now in my 60s. No mention in this (or any of the many articles singing the praises of the current economy) of the effect of flat-lined salaries on people approaching (so-called) retirement age. And, no, I am not an underskilled factory worker; I'm a technical writer. And, no, I don't take my talking points from Faux News either.

  89. NO one is telling you that your situation is all in your head. The overall economy is doing much better, just because your situation is not improving does not negate that overall picture. Neither Paul Krugman nor Hilary Clinton would deny your situation, and they have policies to help you--Trump has nothing to give you.

  90. Of course, the slow recovery is partially attributable to Republican Congress' dereliction of duty and obstructionism.
    Yes, we are much better off than George W. left us.
    But no, these numbers don't reflect reality, this is an 'on paper only' recovery that has only benefitted a relatively small percentage of the population in real terms. And I don't watch Fox News and I find that reasoning rather insulting to Americans who still feel left out of this economy.

    If the presidency of Barack Obama teaches us anything, it should be that presidents, regardless of color or party affiliation, are nothing but tools of the elite to concentrate wealth and power. Obama instituted the ‘Greatest Transfer of Wealth in history’ to the 1%.

    Its taken forty years of neo-liberalism to create a society of vast inequality, financial instability, democratic corruption, rampant job insecurity, permanent austerity for the many and runaway wealth for the few.

    Financial de-regulation, suppression of wages, longer hours, substitution of wage rises with credit cards and pay day loans, tax havens, tax holidays, tax avoidance, tax reductions, smashing unions, destruction of workers rights, temporary contracts, agency work, privatization of state assets, state subsidies of low wages, monopoly media, mass surveillance, secret courts, curtailing of dissent, perpetual war, the creation of perpetual fear etc. are the underlying issues that caused the crash and were never fixed.

    Obama just threw money at it.

  91. Americans have proven they can ignore the obvious! Parents hold on to grief; their loss, expressed as blame, becomes a political vendetta. A racial backlash flourishes; criticism of it is a “mistake.” A 60-year women is punched in the face, knocked to the ground, bruised; the security candidate at his own rally did not keep her safe and offers no regrets. A pastor is insulted and ridiculed because he didn't get his way: to profane the United Methodist church with a political rally. Gestures alone evoke promises of war and policy shifts: no stairs, no summit; attacks will blast way annoying boats. We are told the gas chambers are being warmed, in a chilling echo of the holocaust, not the first anti-Semitic remark from Trump's campaign.

    This is not bold; it is stupid. It is defianc, ugly and cruel. It is narcissism with cognitive deficiencies. It is a void of commonsense or decency. It is a flawed, deeply disturbed man being used as a prop to summon the crowds across America that cheered lynchings and pointed at the swinging bodies, with children in tow.

    The political economy can easily be ruined by bad decisions. Trump's trade fights will not bring jobs back, but it will bring back breadlines, as poverty spreads as sales tumble, interest rates rise, the economy stalls, the government privatizes and Trump enriches himself as we are fed daily lies. The promise made in Charleston, “Ruins, ruins,” (never a Union win!) is neigh as reporters call his stupidity “bold.”

  92. In an volatile world of violence and extremes, of irrational claims and global poverty among great wealth, and terrorism carried out by citizens against their fellows in the name of religion and race, what we need is a man who is the embodiment of instability and destructiveness; his every word an insult, a lie or a call to violence? How will this create the magical thinking of 4% growth in a world of stagnant wages, bloated oil, and diminishing demand, private and corporate?

  93. The only thing you left out is that we will no longer have western allies. Everyone I know who is not a FOX adherent, here and abroad, is terrified of a Trump "presidency."

    In Poland and France this summer I cannot remember a conversation that did not include questions like "how in the world can Trump happen in America".

  94. Paul, your Brethren pointed out last week that HRC is getting "Gored"! The 1/2 of the electorate who is supporting DT dont have the educational fortitude to read and digest the NYT or any other peice of media which does not spew out a 5 second sound bite! You and your ilk continue to do the best you can to show the real results, real effort, reality in the HRC ticket but......... Reality haters and Reality TV like Fox are not interested in facts; and more importantly those 'viewers' dont even know reality TV is actually stages and scripted!

    All of us readers have read the NYT and have drank the cool aid, we are the converts who understand trickle down never trickled down, nor was it ever intended to do anything but create a financially strengthen group whose money could be used as Citizen United declared, that money is actually tax money that should have been levied and trickled down into the progressive social programs you just talked about!

  95. >>>>

    If only the GOP cared about statistics. Statistics generally work against their arcane belief system, so they disregard them. And the vast majority of people in this messed up country have no concept of statistics. The fact that the world is normal (normality) makes no difference to them. If all the GOP had cancer and Obama or the Dems had the cure, they refuse it, or somehow twist it to make it look like they came up with the cure.

    This is a counterfactual election, its basis is irrationality not rationality.

    Side note: The fact that salaries have gone up is nice, but do these statistics factor in the higher cost of living? Everything one touches in the grocery store is $3 to $4. For example, if I make $10 a week and bread costs $1 a loaf, and then Master gives me a raise to $11 but now bread costs $2 things have not improved, no?

    As I've said many times before, one always has to look for the lie or contradiction which is immanent in bourgeois math. Usually a 9th graded can intutively see them, but every once in awhile they're buried deep, but rest assured they are there.

    “Men are wicked a sad and constant experience makes proof unnecessary.”

    J.J. Rousseau

  96. The US inflation rate has been dropping. Ten years ago, it was about 3% per year. Now it's below 1% and has been for a few years. The 5.2% increase in median household income applies to the last year. So your concern is the opposite of what is actually happened. Source: http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/current-inflation-rates/.

  97. Unfortunately, we are not really wired to grasp the concepts of statistics easily. It would seem that palaeontologically we are primed to give attention to single events. Therefore, the grandfather who smoked chain until the age of ninety-five is far more convincing than the abstract notion that smokers run a higher risk to die early of cancer. Statistical results normally refer to statements of probability; with advanced complexity our models are necessarily depending on deliberately chosen constraints. Thus, accusations of slanting results seem easily sustained. In addition, factors of delayed response play a considerable role in statistical applications. Thus, there is some evidence that the inertia of the economic system hid the recuperation that was already under way when Bush 41 lost the election to Clinton 42. Since economics is such a complex interplay of factors, we are left with a lot of room for interpretation. Even with an (inexisting) utmost effort at intellectual honesty, economics remains a "dismal science".
    Rationality would dictate to humbly accept these limitations as limitations rather than throw out all rational argument altogether, but as students of "cognitive ease" will tell you that's a tall order.

  98. "Median household income in the United States in 2015 was $56,516, an increase in real terms of 5.2 percent from the 2014 median income of $53,718. This is the first annual increase in median household income since 2007, the year before the most recent recession."

    The above statement is quoted from the Census Bureau report and if you read the comment I posted, which when comparing the 5.2 % Median Income increase for 2015 to the CPI from 2008 to 2016 the US Consumer is still in a hole that is "progressively" getting deeper.

    Perhaps the logic such as Krugman's explains why US consumer debt increased by $35 billion to $12.3 trillion,,,,,

  99. Those who need the lesson of this column (and thank you for it, PK) will not hear it. They'll hear Trump vow to turn the calendar back to the 1950s, they'll hear a son refer to gas overs, they'll hear a daughter tell us that her father will change the laws. The Trump family is more in sync with the Housewives of Trump Tower than Obama is.

  100. Whoah! Not so fast with the applause! Numbers like these are all about context: if I binge on cookies for 6 years and gain 100 pounds, but then in year 7 I eat healthy and lose 6 pounds, that gets me back in shape?!

  101. @Laura... Yes, it does.

  102. Adopting healthy habits are part of the process of getting and staying in shape. It gets you back into getting and staying in shape. Going back to the habits that put on that 100 Lb. isn't going do any good. It would be delusional to think that since you lost 6 Lbs. you could go back to a bad life style.

    Maybe Dr. Oz could explain it better, but don't bet on it.

  103. No, but it DOES mean that eating healthy is the long-term solution.

  104. Just imagine how much better off our country would have been if the GOP had worked with our twice-elected President, instead of putting party above country. Now, maybe more then ever, people need to vote, and vote intelligently for the future of the country.

  105. I dont disagree with the basic assertion that government can ameliorate the condition of the least amongst us and Obama and the afoordable care act have helped many without hurting the top and or wrecking the incentives for economic growth or innovation. Still, this column clearly overplays very limited data. We have a long way to go and it is past time to also look for government activities and buerocracy that do *not* help and that *do* harm economic activity and incentives. Hillary will need to address the fact that the ACA is now nearly a decade old and very imperfect. Similarly, she'll have to reconcile her campaign promises of expanded government with the reality that government has limits. Running against Trump has given her the luxury of not doing what candidates usually do - run to the extreme during the primaries and then to the middle during the general election. Recent data aside, moderation in thinking about expanded government is critical to her administration's real and substantive success.

  106. "Still, progressive policies have worked, and the critics of those policies have been proved wrong." Really? If an average grow rate of 1.5% and a doubling of our national debt is an example of progressive policies working, I'd sure hate to see failure.

  107. You forget that the GOP House and Senate have blocked most of Obama's progressive policies, such as government spending on infrastructure projects.

  108. Failure was George W. Bush. It's not hard to see. Look with your own eyes. And Kansas. And Wisconsin. The results are in and they are dismal, even for the myopic (caused in most cases by even minute doses of Fox News).

  109. Well we almost doubled the debt during the Great Prosperity of 1946 to 1973, and it didn't seem to hurt us. On the other hand we decreased the debt by almost 40% from 1919 to 1929, and it sure did hurt us.

  110. Trickle down economics; please explain this theory again. How does making it easier for the "job creators" to get and keep more money provide an incentive for them to work harder, and create more jobs?

  111. I have been wondering about the same thing!

  112. If you ever created a job you would understand

  113. This election will be a good test of the current American electorate's ability to deal with reality; whether America is fit to lead the world and fit to be a superpower. It is actually a very low bar, but our uncertainty about clearing that bar is giving people pause everywhere.

  114. Yes, Mr. Gupta. You are exactly right. All my friends from outside America are incredulous except those who watched Bush. They know Trump might just win.

  115. Seriously, I invite Krugman to visit Nowheresville, USA, or even just come visit non-"Detroit" Michigan. He would see these areas are still firmly stuck in the 2008-09 depression. And it isn't just poor rural America that is suffering, poor urban areas are still as bad as ever.

    People over 50 are being put to the curb and it is college degree holding STEM people as well as the factory guy sitting out there wanting a job. Once you're out of work, it is almost impossible to get a new job and it is almost a given that you will make significantly less. Many are spending tens of thousands for new college degrees and/or graduate degrees. Even that isn't helping as they watch foreign workers with far lower qualifications taking jobs that the newly educated 50-something American is highly skilled and experienced at doing.

    For being a Nobel prize winner, Krugman is not all that smart. Health insurance is not health care. Just because someone has an insurance card does not mean they can afford health care. Many have to pay $6000 or more before their insurance even starts to cover care. Then copays and co-insurance "fees" can be as large as 60% of IN network charges. Yes things are a bit better with ACA, but we still have a long way to go before health care becomes a basic human right in the US. Oh and access to care in "Fly Over" America is almost non-existent. One way trips of 100 miles is not the exception.

  116. These are important observations and points. There does need to be fashioned a way to correct this job situation, maybe most reasonably through government public works stimulus programs and more emphasis on training for the basic jobs that are needed. And there does need to be a single payer national health program, eliminating insurance companies and controlling big pharma. What is most aggravating is that in this middle America so many can seem to think that Trump is part of the answer, when the party he represents has caused so much of the problem and fights any attempt to do what is needed.

  117. "He would see these areas are still firmly stuck in the 2008-09 depression. And it isn't just poor rural America that is suffering, poor urban areas are still as bad as ever. "

    So why do they keep voting for Republicans? Why do they think that taking more of the little money they have and handing it to people who have more than they need is going to help?

  118. I would like to see Krugman's thoughts on the lack of mobility in the labor force for people over 30. There are large areas of this country now (including the SF Bay Area, where I live, and neighboring Silicon Valley) with very low unemployment, red hot economies, and not enough workers, skilled & unskilled - but people who live in MI or TX don't want to move, unless they're young & rootless (i.e. just graduated college). How do we incentivize people to go where the jobs are? A much bigger moving tax break? Worth discussing.

  119. Yet another point which highlights how much this election is like the 2000 election - for those younger voters who weren't part of the electorate back then, it really does make a difference in enabling a Dubya or Drumpf when your vote is siphoned away to a third party candidate.

    This economic scenario is just one more criteria that shows the danger of forgetting how Dubya made it into office.

  120. The five votes that crowned G W Bush over the election winner Al Gore were all cast in Washington DC. No amount of revisionist finger pointing can change that fact.

  121. steve - No amount of ' voted my conscience ' excuses can change the fact Ralph Nader siphoned away 95,000+ votes in Florida, when those votes were sorely needed to determine whether Gore or Dubya would make SCOTUS appointments such as Roberts and Alito, engage in adventurism in the Middle East, and lead to irresponsible financial regulation:


    which o.k.'d 30-to-1 leveraging by Wall Street banksters.

  122. "When Americans are asked how the economy is doing, many . . . just repeat what they think they heard on Fox News: By large margins, Republicans say that unemployment is up and the stock market is down under Mr. Obama, the opposite of the truth."

    Aye, Mr. Krugman, and therein lies the rub. When the GOP majority in Congress engages in its predictable obstruction of all sane measures to improve the economy, it can always rely on support from its heavily propagandized, manipulated and misinformed base.

    And GOP "moderates" in the House, due to the institutionalized demagoguery known as the Hastert Rule and to their own cringing fear of being Tea-Party torpedoed in their next primary, almost always cave in to the obstructionist demands of the "Freedom" Caucus.

    The "Freedom" Caucus members then wend their merry way, marching to the rhythm of their guiding mantra: Government is not the solution; government is the problem--and we are here to prove it!

    As long as the "Freedom" Caucus remains entrenched, Reagan's aphorism will continue to function as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Stalled government is the problem and the Tea-Party backed "Freedom" Caucus is proof positive that this is, and will remain the case.

    These radical GOP politicians, spokespersons and media cheerleaders insure that we all live in a Goebbelesque, fact-free, post-truth age--all this, and now Trump too!

    Thank you, Republicans, for your spirited dedication to "truthiness" and to the non-task of non-governance.

  123. And what economic measures did they block? Specifically?

    It appears the GOP has given into the WH since the last election. They gave up.

  124. hawk, Obama sent 9 jobs bills to the House. Look'em up. None of them were even considered.

  125. The biggest contributor to inequality is Wall Street siphoning off wealth out of the middle class. In this brutal class warfare Obama squarely stood with Wall St. He didn't prosecute a single banker, while elder Bush's Justice Dept issued thousands of criminal referrals after a much smaller S&L fiasco in 1980s, hundreds CEOs went to jail. Holder, Obama's choice for AG, is a known corporate tool. By choosing him Obama told us already before he was sworn in that Wall St survival would come above all else.

  126. That's because Obama is not stupid and neither is Hillary going to be. They will stand by Wall Street because they realize financial services it's a keystone of the US economy (and in Hilary's case she probably owes them a favor, wink wink). Sorry, but Wall Street ain't going anywhere.

  127. By every measure in the latest Census Bureau report, income inequality among lower and higher-earning Americans has not changed significantly. In fact, that income disparity has gradually increased every year since 1970

    Nor have women overcome their income disparity with men. Women working full time continue earn 80% of men working full time (mean incomes). Again, this has not changed since 1970.

    Yet Paul Krugman mentions none of this. Reading his recent Panglossian posts on our economy, one would never know that this is the most pressing societal problem of our time, and has led to the rising of a fascist-style demagogue who is threatening to occupy the Oval Office. It's all too Alice-in-Wonderland for me.

    I realize that Krugman feels he must provide some perspective to correct the torrent of negative propaganda from the right. But I question whether he is not in fact furthering the distrust and cynicim that propel so many long-suffering Americans into the arms of Donald Trump.

  128. After the way the WH immediately changed the metric on income gaps, and deportation, it's hard to believe income could go up.

    Especially since no economic policies or plan is in place, nor initiated by the WH except kill pipelines and raise fees and income taxes.

  129. The mendacity of someone who is supposed to be a professional economist is really appalling (actually, maybe it isn't that surprising, though I hate to impugn an entire profession).

    The numbers weren't really as positive as what Mr. Krugman states here and we are still significantly behind where we were in the 1990s and, yes, even the 1970s. Productivity has surged over the past 40 years but we still earn less, thanks to policies pursued by both Democratic and Republican administrations.

    This is true because in 2013 the Census bureau changed the methodology for calculating these numbers. The liberal Economic Policy Institute acknowledges this and even did adjustment so we can compare apples to apples rather than apples to oranges. Thankfully there are some honest economists out there.

    Anyways, good numbers, but they aren't nearly good as the shilling Paul Krugman pretends. We will have to see if after this election cycle we can get back to some honest discussion of our situation. Sadly I doubt it.

  130. And the beat goes on.

    In a major economic address, Trump promises to add 25 million new jobs through tax cuts, reduced regulation, and renegotiating trade agreements.

    The NYT unhelpfully points out that 25 million is probably twice the possible number of new jobs, as new entrants to the workforce and re-employing all the currently discouraged only adds up to 12 million. Unless, of course, he plans to significantly increase immigration.

    Another ridiculous promise by Trump.

    Trump the disrupter has sold himself out to the same people who brought us Reaganomics and the Bush 43 tax cuts, tripling the national debt and leaving us unprepared for the real challenges of the 21st Century.

    Trump promises to take us back, back to a nirvana that never really existed, except for those at the very top. He is quite a salesman, convincing those who believe they have been harmed the most that he is their tribune.

    The populist con man shilling for the plutocrats. Just like it ever was.

  131. One can bet that the major shareholders of corporations, their executive corps, and the establishment Republican leadership are very unhappy about the report. For most of the past 40 years, they were successful in grabbing off any growth in new real income due to increased productivity for themselves. Over this period, real median income was unchanged and lower income groups became poorer.

    What drove this is an alpha male culture that measures manliness in terms of amount of assets acquired. This was the practice of the ancient Germanic warrior chiefs, whose goal was to amass as much land and cattle as they could. Over the centuries the warrior chiefs evolved into the feudal lords, then the manor gentry, then the plantation owners, and now the executive.

    These alpha males regard the rest as those to be subjugated to serve them; as Boeing CEO James McNerney said a couple of years ago when asked if he was going to retire at 65: "the heart will still be beating, the employees will still be cowering." Alan Greenspan declared in congressional testimony in 1997 that keeping employees insecure was good for society. James Galbraith characterized the modus operandus of the alpha males in his book "The Predator State." James Hacker and Paul Pearson more recently described how they rigged the economy in their favor the past 40 years in their "Winner-Take-All Politics."

    Left to their devices, the alpha males would subvert our republic to become a brutal oligarchy.

  132. What about the "alpha female", the "war mongering Hillary Clinton" who wants to go to war with Russia, "a non empire building country."

  133. They already have. With a willing assist by the Democrats from Bill forward.

  134. I am sure the numbers were faked. The Census just wants to see HRC get elected so they can keep getting those 1% raises. Totally rigged. We need less regulation so we can better oversee these criminal statisticians and keep them from producing fake statistics. I have some top people who hack in Russia who can fix this. Unemployment is really 21% and the median income fell to $10000. I have top people who told me this. My talented people who make several million a year will take over when I get elected and fix this. They will have no problem taking a several million dollar pay cut to go to work at the Census.
    Of course, I speak in jest. Good job Dr. K and good report, finally.

  135. I expected the meltdown of 2008 to be a 10 year problem, maybe longer. By my estimation, the person who succeeded President Obama would get the credit for the decade of actions that could recover the economy. It was a really big meltdown.

    I still think that people won't feel secure for a few years yet. People in their fifties face layoffs and few options for employment, partly through ageism and partly because no company wants many older workers in their healthcare pool. Families who are able to make it on two incomes sink if they find themselves on one. And people who are raising kids think that their own children will soak up college debt and face unforgiving job markets.

    Those are the polling realities. People may be OK, but one change can sink them. People need time to become accustomed to a new normal before polls - and voting patterns - reflect stability.

  136. And here we are in another national election campaign where, in between all of the screaming about deplorables, emails, candidate health and foundations, we are once again arguing about the efficacy of tax cuts for the rich, I mean job creators. In spite of all of the evidence - Kansas, Wisconsin, Louisiana and other red states with horrific economies and mediocre job growth after massive tax cuts for the rich - California, Minnesota, New York and other blue states with high taxes on the rich with good to great economies and job growth. Even on a national scale the job growth has been steady in spite of the mild tax increases enacted under the Obama Administration. The evidence is clear, tax cuts for the rich do not improve the economy as a whole. High taxes on the rich do not make any fewer rich people. You simply cannot prove a difference in lifestyle for someone with an after tax income of $25 million vs an after tax income of $35 million, and forget about the day to day impact on lifestyle of a family with $1B or $5B. Rich is rich, they will do fine. Opposition to slightly higher taxes is nothing more than greed.

    Frankly the way to restore America's economic greatness, the way to make the middle class great again, may in fact be to restore the 1950s as so many conservatives wish. But not the racist, sexist 1950s, the 1950s of strong unions and 91% marginal tax rates. The economy has never been better and the middle class never stronger than in those days.

  137. And let's restore the 1950's of infrastructure construction, too! A power grid to bring electricity from where the sun shines and wind blows to where we need A/C, rechargeable cars; new bridges, not just painted over the rust relics, connecting to new roads with safe interchanges, not 1950's cloverleafs, and public transportation systems that enable our real job creators to get to work in less than an hour in creepy-crawly traffic!

  138. Republicans: "we must cut taxes on those “job creators.” Yes, if we bake chocolate cakes for the obesely wealthy, Republicans will let us lick the spoons.

    Believe it or not (just ask Ripley), Trump promises to create 25 million new jobs. Can we cut taxes on someone who pays no taxes? That's right, the pretend billionaire pays no taxes. You want proof? Sorry, Trump says he's being audited and he will not upset the American people with his troubles. So Trump says, "believe me" and a large portion of Americans do believe him despite his lifetime of deceiving and fleecing people.

    Even Trump supporters dislike him, think he is a risky choice, but hey, he will shake Washington up. His supporters are tired of Obama's steady economic progress after saving the country from the Bush Depression. They don't want security with Hillary; they like big talk, want big risk. They want to bet their their family's future; they want to throw the dice at the Trump White House Casino.

    Trump supporters have put the losses of the George W. Bush presidency behind them; they are ready once again to gamble big. Against even greater odds. They want the thrill of upending Washington. They want to bet the country the way they apparently like to bet their family livelihoods. While their children wait for dinner, average Mr. and Mrs. Trump supporter enjoy betting all their money at casinos. Trump supporters like risk--the riskier the better. Betting America's future on Trump is just a bigger thrill.

  139. Paul, it's interesting to read the highest rated Picks in Neil Irwin's piece 3 days ago, "The Economic Expansion Is Helping the Middle Class, Finally." All express high skepticism. Access to affordable health care for all citizens is an unalienable right within the spirit of Jefferson’s Decl of Indep. While ACA is a wonderful achievement to Obama’s credit, one must still consider all his policies under his direct control that is beyond the reach of the insane (R) Party fully responsible for Congress’ dysfunction. ACA is in big trouble unless something is done to fix it. Obama blocked the DOJ from prosecuting sr. exec’s responsible for the 2008 meltdown which William Black feels will go down as the single biggest failure in its history. For me, Obama’s continuation and expansion of our wars of aggression against the greater Middle East and his assassination program should weigh heavily in history’s judgement of his tenure (now into its 15th consecutive year). His military aggression violates the constitution and War Powers Resolution of 1973 and has accomplished nothing. It’s a colossal waste of taxpayer money desperately needed for domestic issues. His continuation of the NSA’s domestic spying and storing the full content of American’s electronic communications clearly violates the constitution. Taken as a whole, if there is any justice in this world, Obama’s legacy should follow in the footsteps of LBJ where his war overshadowed his liberal domestic programs.

  140. While PK has dissected the Census Bureau's finding-- and the findings give us some hope and fairly good news, I felt I must respond to your (Paul Cohen) comment on the totality of Obama's legacy. I must reiterate-- not the subject of PK article who is paying attention to the issues that matter!
    It is known that Historians tend to give their highest ratings to the U.S. presidents who have involved the nation in the wars that have claimed the most American lives. Their standards of presidential greatness, I believe, have encouraged presidents to fight unnecessary wars, and, to a certain degree, made Americans complacent about war. That said, Obama has not expanded wars, on the contrary, he inherited these wars from the war-hungry hawks, Dick Chaney et al. In addition, if he had pivoted to the neocon-regime-changers and the McCains of this world, who have accused and whined that President Obama is weak, the US will be involved in many more wars-Ukraine, Libya, Iran, etc.
    Lastly, while this is debatable, is the ordering of bombs dropped, same as war? Do the drone attacks on the endless war on El Qaida, ISIS, and terrorists in Somalia, Yemen, count as "Obama's expanded wars"?

  141. As an average 50 + voting Republican, I may not be a nerd for statistics like Krugman, however, his boasting of the 5.2% median income increase is not worth a grain of salt.
    When any statistic has been negative for a long period of time a 5.2 % increase does not always equate that a vast majority people and households are actually that much better off. Granted it is an improvement moving in the right direction but will the be near double digit increases in income across the board and sustainable long enough so households can gain back what they lost or did not gain the past 7 years?

    Based on the CPI calculator from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, the buying power of $100 in 2008 now costs the US consumer $111.77, which is 11.77% increase. So US consumers are still behind the 8 Ball roughly negative -6.5%.

    So if Paul Krugman believes the economy for past 7 years "partied like it was 1999" and he ends this op-ed in writing:

    "Still, progressive policies have worked, and the critics of those policies have been proved wrong."

    Well the proof is in the pudding that progressive policies do not work when the scope is broaden beyond such a myopic representation of facts lacking substantial data.....

  142. You should read the report before making outlandish claims.
    Quoting directly from it:
    Real median household income in 2015 was 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession, and 2.4 percent lower than the median household income peak that occurred in 1999. The difference between the 1.6 percent change and the 2.4 percent change was not statistically significant.

    Paul Krugman's statement, "It’s true that the surge in median income comes after years of disappointment, and even now the typical family’s income, adjusted for inflation, is slightly lower than it was before the financial crisis", accurately reflects the data, whereas your calculations do not.

  143. I am not using my own calculations but am using the US Dept of Labors CPI calculator:


    Since Krugman is data from the Census Bureau report, the report indicates:

    "Real median household income in 2015 was 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession, and 2.4 percent lower than the median household income peak that occurred in 1999. The difference between the 1.6 percent change and the 2.4 percent change was not statistically significant"

    So all I did was compare the "Purchasing power" for 2008 to 2016, so if median incomes went up 5.2 % (2015) but the costs of goods rose 11.7% from 2008 to now, how are people better off?

    Simple math and reality...

  144. The Census Bureau report talks about "real income" which means the numbers are adjusted for the CPI.

  145. And no mention of debt? We went from 3T to 10T. In a short number of years. Now, in Obama's 2nd term,it's up to 19T.

    The wars and economic stimulus are obviously the majority of it. It needs to be looked at hard, not swept under the rug or avoided.

    Healthcare and University reform are the two biggest drivers that are crushing middle-class healthy economic living vibrancy. Both have ridiculous complexity, which benefits the businesses of healthcare and education, meaning: The mega-corporations get fatter, the middle class get squeezed further.

    That would be an instantaneous raise to the middle class.

  146. But Krugman threw up on Bernie's policies to actually help middle class Americans in those two areas and said those progressive policies wouldn't work. Even though now he proudly proclaims that, indeed, progressive policies work.

  147. Oh God, where's Len Charlap telling us how debt is no problem? Thanks for pointing it out @G. In Krugman's world, debt doesn't matter, as long as it goes for welfare.

  148. It is truly amazing that, given the unabashedly positive news by the Census Bureau, there are still so many who would argue against the positive news. It appears that those naysayers word prefer to hear, and have government tracked statistical data show, that the American people are indeed moving backwards. It begs the question: how much do you actually care about the economic well-being of the lower and middle-income workers in this country if you repudiate positive economic data?

  149. Thank you jhart. Well said. Since this report came out I have been anxiously watching out for the media to loud the report or critic it. As usual they have opted for the debased sensational-- Trump and Dr. Oz. Repeated photo shot of HRC tripping and pneumonia. Our media and educational system are mostly responsible for the illiterate populace that is on the rise. The electorate aren't very curious to seek facts or fact-check what our political leaders say. The mere fact that Trump is still in this race is a disgrace to America. I will add to the "basket of deplorables" and say that Trump supporters do not have the intellectual bandwidth that is needed to analyze issues and make informed decisions that is expected of educated and mature audiences. Being "angry" does not call for foolishness or ignorance. The media has the responsibility to focuse on the issues the country faces, analize them in details to enable voters make informed decisions. Would have been nice to get the opinions of our do-nothing-congress about this economic news. Of course, one can guess what they will say. As for Trump supporters, like the deaf adder, they can't hear.

  150. Now if the front page of the NY Times can be as honest and factual as Dr Krugman about the success of Mr Obama, the promise of Mrs. Clinton, and the lying, deception, and fraud that is Mr Trump.

  151. "Mr. Obama is no socialist, but since his re-election he has presided over a significant rise in taxes on high incomes. In fact, the top one percent is now paying about the same share of its income in federal taxes as it did in 1979, before Ronald Reagan began the era of big tax cuts for the rich. And some of the increased tax take is being used to subsidize health insurance for middle- and lower-income families."

    If you rob Peter to pay Paul, you'll always have the support of Paul.

  152. If Peter happens to own more than 50% alone vs. 299,999Million Pauls together, it is not robbing, but, as so often preached by prentending to be christians repubs, breaking the bread and sharing it. Pete could not possibly spread his help to 300 mil. alone.

  153. Peter has set up the system to rob us for years. Peter has destroyed the public college system to dumb us down so we wouldn't know about his theft. We are not robbing Peter, we are using legal means to make him pay back what he stole.

  154. Reagan Democrats killed their own labor unions by electing that liar.

  155. Why should this be a surprise? Putting money in the hands of the working class and middle class ALWAYS works. They're the ones who SPEND the extra money.

    Money trickles UP, not down. Every dollar in your wallet with wind up in the hands of someone rich. That's why they're rich. If money trickled DOWN, the wealthy and the working class would change places after awhile.

    "There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it." - William Jennings Bryan, 1896

    "Mr. Hoover was an engineer. He knew that water trickled down. But he didn't know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands." - Will Rogers, 1932

  156. Politics is a wonderful business. You can be wrong most or all of the time and have people thank you for supporting the things they believe in. Plus, you get to shape those opinions by telling people your version of what happened. The Republicans, again, have to make good news into bad, but somehow they manage.

    If you are unemployed and you haven't been able to find work for a long time, the world is grim. Will you still have a credit rating worthy of a living human when things get better? How can you pay for anything? In that setting, you are ready to blame anyone you can find and the Republicans have been busy for the last 8 yrs. supplying a villain for all purposes, Obama.

    Just in the nick of time, along comes this unending election season to spew forth so much more blaming that Obama can barely be heard above the roar and Hillary Clinton is all but buried, too.

    If the Republicans get power, the first order of business will be to nurture a recession and blame it on the Democrats. Trump has placed a new war in the middle east high on his wish list so the economy might counter act the normal Republican plan. In any case, in a year or two, we will likely look back on Obama's years as a golden age of restraint and rebuilding that did, indeed, lift most boats.

    Politics is one field where perfection is always held up as the goal, even when other goals are more immediately important.

  157. The typical American doesn't even seem to know that politics is the only lawful channel there is to negotiate the social contract we all have to live under.

  158. It's not that Hillary or Obama is that bad (except for immigration where they're terrible), it's just that Trump would be so much better. Vote Trump and we'll read Krugman's column in the coming years to see if he tells the truth (like he does with the Dems).

  159. They may be terrible but the Republican House is worse on immigration. Their is a Senate bill that includes border reinforcement, and all kinds of stuff you might like, but it does not meet with the approval of less than 50 Tea Party Republicans in the House.

  160. Astounding. You read the facts in the column, then just say: nope, don't matter, trump's better.

    Why? Um, no reasoning given. As bill Clinton says: as a white southerner, when I hear make America great again, I know exactly what trump means. Evidently you hear the dog whistle too.

  161. You are in Sardinia, apparently. So you won't have to live with the disaster that a Trump presidency would be. Unless, of course, he starts WWW III.

  162. ..and yet the race is tied and momentum is seemingly going to put Trump in the whitehouse.

    1 step forward and 2 steps back

  163. "You know how the argument goes: Any attempt to help working families directly, we’re told, will backfire by hurting the economy as a whole. So we must cut taxes on those 'job creators' instead, counting on a rising tide to raise all boats."

    Indeed: "Conservatives say that if you don't give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for they poor, they tell us they've lost all incentive because we've given them too much money." -- George Carlin

  164. in my limited travels I encounter many people who feel that they are worse off or deprived. the facts do not matter. perhaps only what they perceive as the better life from commercials and the internet.

    I personally I'm somewhat above or near the middle. I feel that my standard of living and cost of living is significantly words then it was. does not alter my action and support for change and I don't mean trumpism.

    but the numbers and the statistics do not really have any effect in any short-term on people's perception and for most people their actions.

    what is needed is for the government to fund with the low interest rates infrastructure and other jobs and Investments that are visible and felt by people and not continue the actions that seem as if only the large corporations and executives are benefiting. Just look at the recent Wells Fargo situation to see how many people would feel that they are the losers

  165. If we keep electing Republicans down ballot this will never happen.

  166. A socialist is someone who desires government control over business, dictating what businesses produce, how they produce, how much businesses can sell their products for, who they can sell to. By that definition, everyone in government today is a socialist, as is Prof Krugman.

    So long as you do not want a completely free market, you are by definition a socialist. Accept that fact, and accept with it the fact that all socialist policies are achieved by holding a gun to someone's head. Naked government force - via Congress or the IRS or Executive Action - is the tool of the Socialist.

  167. In my lexicon you are describing some sort of totalitarian socialism. In democratic socialism we the people decide through our elected representatives exactly how much control the government shall have over business. I think we should regulate them to at least insure they do not injure people or destroy property or the environment and we should tax them for all the services they enjoy.

  168. There is no such thing in the Real World as a "Free Market". All real world markets are regulated.
    In the Real World, as soon as a market is identified, the strongest players will take over. Think Mafia.

  169. Smart capitalists know that the bad will drive the good out of absolutely anything when there is no hard enforced floor under minimum standards of conduct.

  170. This is all well & good but in general things are not any better than they were before the crash, and we want things to get better, not stay the same. Our basic economic problem is relatively simple and easy to understand. It's just arithmetic. All you have to do is to follow the money. We just have to get people to understand this. It is hard because people think the finances of our gov are the same as their personal finances, & that is just wrong.

    People simply do not have enough money to spend. Now it certainly is true that inequality exacerbates this problem. Too much of the money that is in the private sector is held by the Rich who spend a smaller percentage and use the rest to speculate. We have to get more money to the people who need it and will spend it.

    Where does money come from?

    Well, it could come from abroad if we had a positive trade balance, but we do not and there is good reason to believe we will not in the future (see the Triffin Dilemma). In fact, the trade deficit is one of the reasons we do not have enough money because it has been strongly negative since the mid '90's.

    The only other place that can supply money to the private sector is the federal gov. When it spends, money flows in; when it taxes money flows out. The difference, called the deficit, tells us how much money is flowing net into the economy.

    But the deficit has been cut by 75% since 2009.

    This is our root problem.

  171. Republicans, with all their chest thumping over the Constitution, have forgotten the Declaration of Independence, which ends withe these words -
    "we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
    Each other. All Americans. Don't see the words "job creators" anywhere.
    They're not in the Constitution either. "All men are created equal" and "provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States"
    can be found. Policies that shower benefits on the rich, hoping that the benefits trickle down, do not provide for the general welfare. Increasing the social safety net does.
    I want a government that treats all people the same, regardless of their income, race, religion, age or gender. I pay my taxes in order for the government to do that. Provide the social safety net. Not to give tax breaks to people who clearly don't need them.
    Oh, a couple more forgotten words about taxes from the Constitution.
    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" and "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, shall not be questioned"
    Looking at you, GOP.

  172. At the time of the US Revolution, the US had an agrarian economy where most people lived out their entire lives within 30 miles of their birthplaces.

  173. The news from the census bureau is actually better than it appears. If chained CPI, a price index that adjusts for how people change their mix of purchases in response to price increases, is used instead of the constant basket measure of CPI currently used for price adjustments, median household incomes are actually higher now than they were in 1999. There are also other demographic changes and accounting quirks in tracking GNP that tend to understate the improvement in household incomes since the fiasco of the Bush administration. You can read all about it here:


  174. In actual fact, a rising tide does raise all boats. But it's the tide of lower- and middle-class families prospering that delivers tax revenues and prosperity to the upper classes. To paraphrase Warren Buffett, a 50% increase in stock price and executive compensation is better than a 10% tax cut any day of the week. Only a well-educated and thriving general population can produce this.

  175. Please, Mr. Krugman! No one over 7 years old is going to believe a "study" released weeks before a close election, especially when the "study" contradicts their own personal experience.( I wonder how many of the families whose incomes have increased are immigrants from third world countries who moved here since the previous census study. Yes, their incomes would have increased, but possibly at the expense of a now really low income US citizens whose lives and opions don't seem to matter.) Also, there is one large group whose incomes have indisputably been reduced - that is seniors whose Social Security benefits have been cut by over 20 percent thanks to the lack of any COLA for at least 5 years during Obama's Administration. I would be willing to bet that the Census bureau was instructed to avoid citizens over 65 in this "survey".

  176. These data are based on the 2016 Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population survey administered and is released every year about this time. Those over 65 were surveyed and the data indicate a 4.3% increase in their median income from 2014 to 2015. And I'd trust those Census data over anything some chump of a politician tells you.

  177. Obama has spent trillions for wars in Mid East countries and in Africa, wars to build "empire", Most Americans could care less about his empire building and now he wants to start shooting down Russian planes in Syria. Interest costs will be at least $7.9 trillion unless the US changes the way it pays for the wars, Obama and Clinton wars.

  178. Hopefully those unappreciative, debt-ridden millennials will wake up and smell the coffee. You know the group the "liberal" editor in chief at Mother Jones declared she "never hated more" because polls show many of them supporting third party candidates.

    This is all such rosy news--although I don't see any actual numbers in this column. But I do know incomes are up! Those with health insurance are up! Everything is up, up, up, albeit not quite to an undisclosed level before the crash.

    Of course the column is penned by a pundit who has not lived the middle income life for decades, but why hear from anyone in the trenches about reality. Better just to read reports and declare life is good. As for anyone not appreciative of their good life, they are just watching Fox News which must have about 50 million viewers according to Krugman. Yet another not so veiled slam to anyone who criticizes policies.

    On another more relevant note--Hillary's surrogates need to stop with the millennial bashing. Those of us with kids, understand the way to their hearts and minds is not to say you have not ever "hated" them more. Funny, they react just like old people do when they are told how awful they are.

    The blame for Trump's support falls squarely on the 65 and over crowd that is the only age demographic to overwhelmingly support Trump over Hillary. But since we are taught to respect our elders, we best not mention that FACT.

  179. I'm over 65 and I'm an eager Hillary voter. I can read and I can analyze in real time the propagandistic way mainstream media uses loaded adjectives to push us toward one candidate or the other. They have been doing this for years. I believe their main interest is to stimulate sales by keeping it close so they can do horse race reporting. This is a dangerous game when you are playing with the future of the American people.

  180. By the time one is 65 in the US, one has encountered hundreds of fatuous con artists like Trump.

  181. At 82 and having watched HRC slandered by the Republican Party from the moment their pundits realized she might be a threat to their oligarchy, I want to be counted as the exception to your comment about your elders.

    And I am not the only ancient Hillary supporter abroad in the world!

  182. The main distinction between Republicans and Democrats can be summarized as Republicans are faith based and Democrats are reality based.

    Republicans adhere to their belief systems; cutting taxes and regulations solve all economic problems; sending in the army is the best solution for all international problems; climate change is a farce. The Republican belief system lead to the Iraq war, the 2008 financial crisis, and common 500 year floods.

    True Republicans will not learn from reality. They will adhere to their beliefs and reject all evidence to the contrary.

  183. The "reality" you suggest is that Republicans like myself have been indicating and are concerned of the rising "debt" the US and US consumers have been accumulating the past 7 plus years.

    "Consumer debt has increased by $35 billion to $12.3 trillion" so if you factor in the "Interest Rate" US consumers are paying that %.2% Median Income increase is swiftly evaporated, which is " reality" despite this going unnoticed and /or deliberately kept out of the conversation....

  184. "Faith" by definition requires no evident support in tangible reality.

  185. “As a political cult, today’s Republican Party uses faith, a belief in that which cannot be proven by ordinary means, to create a coherent worldview for its public. In this world there are no verifiable truth-claims that can be confirmed or rejected based on empirical evidence. Here, something is “true” because a trusted source, elder, elite, or media personality tells you so. Opinion is transformed into a substitute for facts. Shorter version: Lies are made into truths for those in the cult and disbelievers are cast out as enemies and heretics.” (http://www.salon.com/2015/09/18/the_gops_debates_terrifying_alternate_re... ) Every citizen of this country should know and understand this.
    The most important qualification for a Republican political candidate, especially a United States Presidential Candidate, is the ability to use lies to “create our own [Republican] reality” https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Karl_Rove. Trump is not doing anything new—he’s just taken it to a new level.

  186. These reports from the Census Bureau highlight a truth that has just not made it through even the allegedly "liberal-biased media:" On every critical issue for the United States the past 25 years, the GOP has been on the wrong side. This is not to say that the Democrats are such great shakes. But when Democrats make big mistakes, it has almost always been by caving to conservative demands - Wall Street deregulation, Iraq, size of the stimulus, Obamacare public option. But even with these errors, Democrats have made life better for Americans in many ways. Obama's stimulus (even if too small) rescued us from a Great Depression; his tax hikes blunted the growth of debt; unemployment is less than half its peak; growth, though still anemic thanks to Republican refusal to spend while a Democrat is president, has returned; job creation is the strongest since the 1990s. LGBTQ people have more rights, yet heterosexual marriage has not collapsed. There have been no mass terror attacks (cross fingers). We are not hemorrhaging trillions in major wars that make us worse off. And now even the most intransigent measures of economic distress and inequality are beginning to yield to the broader prosperity.

    If we had followed the demands of Republican leaders, we'd be at war NOW in Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. No stimulus, no recovery; depression; Social Security & Medicare slashed. They've been wrong about EVERYTHING - yet this truth goes unspoken. The GOP is poisonous to America.

  187. @ Patrick from Chicago "On every critical issue for the United States the past 25 years, the GOP has been on the wrong side."

    I thank you so much for this; if I could, I'd submit it for Comment of the Year.
    And if we had a functioning news media -- instead of a corporate conservative Ministry of Truth that serves explicitly as the propaganda arm of the plutocracy, and of the Publican Party that exists only to serve them -- everyone would know it.
    One little cavil, though:
    "no mass terror attacks."
    If the 49 dead and 53 wounded in the Pulse massacre in Orlando don't count as a "mass" to you, I'm not sure what would.
    Of course, if you'd written "no mass terror attacks by radical Islamists," you'd have a better case, as it seems far more likely that the mass murderer there was impelled by homophobic hatred, than by mad mullahs.
    (He claimed to be loyal to Al Qaeda, ISIS/Daesh, AND Hezbollah -- all of whom loathe one another. As a would-be jihadist, he was pretty clueless. Just another garden-variety hater with a SIG Sauer and a Glock that a rational gun-rights policy would never have let him near.)
    May God save America....
    from the Publicans.

  188. The estimate does not include interest rate the US is expected to pay on war loans, but says this cost may pale the current operational cost in comparison.

    “Interest costs for overseas contingency operations spending alone are projected to add more than $1 trillion to the national debt by 2023. By 2053, interest costs will be at least $7.9 trillion unless the US changes the way it pays for the wars,” wrote report author Neta Crawford, professor of political science at Boston University and co-director of the Costs of War Project.

  189. Every year every industry becomes more automated so jobs are eliminated. We have the Fed purposely advised to keep interest rates down to sustain a false sense of enthusiasm for the economy. Ford recently announced part of their operation is moving to Mexico. The cost of doing business in the U.S. with its continually increasing tax burden explains it. This is what is really going on in the U.S.

  190. When NAFTA sent lower skilled auto industry jobs to Mexico it may have saved 80, 000 better paying auto-industry jobs by keeping the supply chain on this continent, instead of China or Korea. When GE pays zero in tax, I'm not really worried about their tax burden. As workers in other countries begin to demand compensation for injuries, decent/safe conditions, elimination of child labor, costs will change there. As people demand air they can breathe, instead of air they can chew, and tire of pollution from unregulated industries, cost will again change for foreign products.

  191. The cost of making things in the only nation on Earth that hasn't adopted the Metric System is a big factor in the exodus of manufacturing from the US.

  192. The same globalization is true in other countries like Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, etc.

    Why don't they have the same problems?

    Maybe they have better education - train people to be plumbers and electricians and re-train people for high-tech manufacturing.

    And Forbes ranks Denmark number 1 for business and ranks the US number 22.

    Not to mention that Mississippi has the same infant mortality rate as Botswana.

  193. One has only to contrast the results (nationally) of the last 8 years with the experiments in states like Kansas, Louisiana and Wisconsin to see the difference in two competing economic philosophies. Further, looking at the data for wages and taxes, one does a disservice by not looking at the results since the first of the great national trickle down economics since 1980 to view the difference in results. What I see most often is the critics shooting the messenger (e.g. BLS, Census Bureau) and dismissing the data as rigged.

  194. Sadly perhaps when you further look into the scope of Paul Krugman's world, one must question on the educational side of economics is how far down the line are his "progressive" ideology being grasped as gospel by students since his tenure at Princeton?

    Granted, from higher educational institutions we expect students are provided a much broader scope within their studies to include as many point of views in order for students to judge other aspects and form their own conclusions, however "Ram" down economics to bolster a political ideology that is failing in reality in other parts of the world is possibly formulating skewed views that trickle up, down , side to side and what ever direction fits for the moment while shielding the long term physical, emotional and financial health of not just US households but across the globe for today and generations beyond...

  195. University economics departments are heavily influenced by donors to their endowments. It is no surprise that much academic economics favors hedge fund managers.

  196. Thank you PK, for reading the reports and sharing the results. We like to wait til you've given us the summary before we delve in. Helps to know whether to open the good bourbon for a toast, or go with the cheap stuff. The basket cases won't care. They're not data driven voters. When you & you're 6 yr old are wearing shirts that say F... Islam or have those red/white/blue testicles across the front, data doesn't come into play.
    We're waiting for MDCooks8 to blog about the success of non-progressive, conservative, divisive, fascist political systems in meeting the needs of citizens.

  197. First of all, you appear to be a person who has been sucked in by the liberal media bias that anyone who votes Republican is a bigot...

    Well my actions probably carry more weight than most people being in an interracial marriage for over 14 years and counting> Recently (and on going) helping my adult African-Indian stepson (in both time and money) who is struggling now with legal matters and in the mists of finding decent work after leaving the Navy several years ago, who left the state of California and went to the Gulf of Mexico area to find work...

    Has the federal government helped him any? Not really and technically he has ran into more issues due to clerical errors on the part of government workers, which is costing him thousands of dollars he does not have...

    Anyhow he is managing mostly due to his mother.... I say no more on this...

    My point is people need to rely on themselves and family, and not the government...

  198. "You know how the argument goes: Any attempt to help working families directly, we’re told, will backfire by hurting the economy as a whole."

    Yes, so everyday, this principle is reinforced by the media reporting how well the GDP and the stock market are doing, which are better indicators of how the rich are doing than how the rest of us are faring.

    Fine report the GDP and stock market numbers, but why can't we also report indicators of the well being of most people in society (getting at not just the accumulation of wealth but the distribution of wealth) and the social quality of life in society? (There are already such indicators, but why don't we hear about them in this country? (Scandinavians do hear about them, by the way)

    Currently, we live an Ebeneezer Scrooge society, where we are a bunch of Bob Cratchits and Tiny Tims waiting for a few farthings from a bunch of very wealthy Scrooges to trickle down. And this all works quite well, as long as you can get the masses to believe that as long as the rich are doing well, we all are doing well. And if you are not doing well? Well just maybe you might win the lottery (the odds of winning the Powerball Jackpot lottery are 1 in 292 million). Or how about Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes? The American Dream these days.

    Rather than educating Americans in political and social economics, too many economists are too busy serving the business and financial community. Not you Dr. Krugman; but we need more like you.

  199. The stock market floats on zero interest rate monetary policy in an economy where two thirds of all investments are in debt instruments, not stocks.

  200. The "jobs creators" among the wealthy are the innovators, the entrepreneurs, and they don't mind paying their fair share of taxes because they know it's the conditions in this country that allowed them to amass wealth. However, those who inherited their vast wealth are the ones seeking huge tax cuts to preserve their wealth without doing anything for the overall economy. Their wealth is lodged in the virtual economy, stocks and bonds and investments, and they have nothing to do with jobs creation. They invented the lie that cutting their taxes would cause an economic boom, a notion that has been tried again and again and failed miserably each time, with exploding deficits and near bankruptcy. And the Republicans are their tool, their everlasting bare-faced liars, now exemplified by Donald Trump, the Liar in Chief.

  201. Innovation only pays when it boosts productivity, which generally reduces the number of jobs required to deliver the product.

  202. Thereby freeing up capital and labor to start new businesses. Similarly, if productivity is increased, then there should be room for increasing wages and increased profits. Seems wonderful to me.

    I would like to see Obama stay another term or two. But the brutality of politics just now means it would be unmerciful to keep him on. Maybe in 4 or 8 years, there could be enough distance to make a run appealing to Michelle.

  203. When you have to create demand from scratch for some new product, and its lifetime is measured in months, you just sit on your cash.

  204. Now there you go again Dr.K with actual facts and actual policy results. Don’t you know that facts, especially those provided by any department of government are all part of a liberal conspiracy?

    If the elite left can have their facts the radical right are entitled to their own. Here we come to a political bifurcation between truth and belief. The truth is that Obama has been an excellent president and we are better off because of his policies and intelligence. He made America stronger.

    Trump says Obama has been a disaster and the economy is in a shambles and ge is not a strong leader. Trump says that his experience as a businessman and a billionaire gives him magical access to the genuinel truth. We can call what the Trump campaign is claiming as “Trump-Truth” which has no relationship to the real truth.

    It appears that a large swath of our population believes Trump-Truth and either never learned about the real truth or if they did, don’t care because Trump’s lies are forgiven, while Hillary Clinton’s email server is a crime which disqualifies her from the presidency. If you don’t believe that, check with Matt Lauer.

  205. Trump sure does bring out what abject suckers Americans are for con-artists.

  206. Last I checked Obama is on course to have created roughly 14 million jobs during his tenure as President.

    This is all good especially in consideration of the crashing economy George Bush left him with, It took a year before the economy was netting new jobs.

    However, during Obama's presidency, American immigration policy has allowed roughly 10 million LEGAL immigrants into the United States.

    You read that correct: in the last 8 years the U.S. has allowed roughly 10 million people to immigrate LEGALLY into the United States.

    I am not against immigration. But 10 million?

    The problem with immigration during the Obama years has not been illegal immigration, it has been LEGAL immigration.

    Sure many of those immigrants are too young or old to work, but millions of them need jobs too.

    What are we doing importing 10 million people when we don't have enough jobs for the people who already live here?

    I'm not saying that immigration be totally shut down - although that's just about what happened in the 1930's during the Great Depression - that was just common sense.

    But instead of 10 million, maybe we should have allowed a fourth, a third, or even half of that in (again, LEGALLY).

    The only people wanting high levels of immigration during a recession is BigMoney/BigCorp.

    Millions of families, thousands of communities were devastated by the Great Recession created by BigMoney. Had Obama/USA used a little more common sense, maybe Trump would never have found any traction.

  207. Look, 10 million isn't actually that large a number in almost every context except when you look at that number on its own. Over that same time period, the U.S. population birthed something like 20 million new people - a slightly different form of legal immigration if you will. For the sake of population stability, the U.S. needs some immigration because we don't want to go down Japan's road of declining population and requiring fewer workers to pay for more services for non-workers like the elderly. Immigration helps keep that balance in check.

    You should also consider that the current administration has deported about 2.5 million people over that same time period and no doubt there was some legal and illegal people leaving the country as well. Additionally, there were people (workers) who died and others who retired over that same time period. With the deportations, deaths, and retirements, I would be willing to bet that the U.S. would have had a lower number of people who are able to work at the end of this 8 years if we had just cut off immigration when Obama entered office. Now, would that be a good thing? I don't think so because you would have a situation where companies definitely have no reason to hire more workers since the total net worth of the age group that spends the most money is not increasing.

  208. And there are 324 million people in the USA, according to the Census Bureau (see how I actually named my source? You should consider that). Which works out to 3%, excluding any people who may have left the country. All assuming your number is accurate.

  209. Jason, yours is the kind of thinking that is likely to put Trump in office. Our government needs to be more focused on the interests of those who are already here, lawfully, than on trying to recruit more problems from abroad.

  210. Median family income in the US rose to $56516 in 2015. And this week that's good enough for the pundits and politicians to slap each other on the back and pass out high marks for the so-called improvement.

    What they fail to acknowledge is the enormous proportion of that $56.5K that gets siphoned off to health insurance (not actual health care, which is an entirely different entity.)

    The family plan for my large consortium of employees is $17000/ year plus a $3000 deductible. In my case, the employer picks up $6000 of the cost, leaving the employee with a $11000 expense plus an outlay of $3000 before the family gets "some" health care other than a yearly physical and a few other concessions thrown in.

    $14K each year for health insurance -- nearly 25% of gross income -- is not in any family's interest. And we wonder why economic growth is flat or regressing. Families at the median simply do not have disposable income.

    25% of gross is a sum that even loan sharks and mafia of yesteryear would never have had the temerity to demand.

    We must put an end to the health insurance extortion racket -- there's no other word for it.

  211. The way health insurance is structured, we the consumers and patients pay for all the CEO salary hikes of pharma Companies, the inflated Costs of manufacturing, the inflated costs of advertising and marketing...Who are they kidding! How can it be sustainable when we all know that medicines lifesaving ones, can be produced wholesale for cheap in countries abroad, without any frills and fancy wrappers.

  212. Yes! Get riad of the health care racket and put best minds on a workable single payer system.
    If we could only bring ourselves to for once "borrow"from some of the best that already exist, we might get to health care samity fairly quickly. This is one area where exceptionalism be damned. (Not that there aren't others, but in this instance we could be humble and caring enough to go for the alreafy tried and good.)

  213. I agree. My wife and I were self-insured until we qualified for Medicare, and the premiums skyrocketed each year, seriously eroding our disposable income. Toward the end we opted to roll the dice and switch to catastrophic policies to reduce the monthly payout. It worked out, but minding one's health should not be a crap shoot in a country that spends almost two trillion dollars on healthcare. Obamacare has certainly helped, but universal Medicare is the logical answer to the "extortion racket" still in place.

  214. Going back to 1947, real American GDP growth has averaged 3.33%annually.

    But the average growth rates under Democratic and Republican presidents are different:

    4.35% growth under Democratic Presidents....

    and 2.54% growth under Republican Presidents.

    Much better under Democratic Presidents.

    Six of the eight above-average presidential terms, including the top four, were Democratic; seven of the eight below-average terms were Republican.

    Much better under Democratic Presidents.


    When Bush-Cheney left the economic stage, their 'free-market' nihilism left America a parting gift of 800,000 monthly job losses in Jan. 2009.

    President Obama has a consistent record of an America producing 200,000-plus jobs each month.

    The difference between Democratic economic competence and Republican economic incompetence, collapse and greedy nihilism is the difference between night and day.

    Only a proudly ignorant American would pretend that the Greed Over People party has any economic idea what they're doing...(besides lining the pockets of billionaires and economically torturing everyone else).

    If you want to help the American economy, elect a Democratic President.

    If you want to collapse the American economy, elect a Republican President.

    It's in the history books and you can look it up.

  215. Socrates, all the figures you mention are inaccurate, all falsified to make it look good for the criminal Democrats.

  216. Conspiracist Bill...please present your 'accurate' right-wing statistics and fabrications, but before you do so I have two simple questions to ask you:

    Is 'Up' Down or is 'Up' Up ?

    Is 'Down' Up or is 'Down' Down ?

    Many Republicans seem to have enormous difficulty with these questions, and hence, their complete disconnect from the real world.




  217. This growth was fueled by cheap oil. Note that the turn in living standards
    began in the early 1970's after the US hit Peak Oil in 1970 and then was
    zapped with the Arab Oil Embargo. Before that time any Arab Oil Embargo would have been useless as the US would have just ramped up its domestic oil production. However another overlooked part of Democrat's success is generally their cuts in endless War spending which is over 50% of the Federal budget and obviously helps no one but the Merchants of Death. If anything of course real endless Wars destroy countries like Iraq, Libya, and now Syria with their death and destruction. First this same fossil fuel spree is frying the planet with global warming. And second global conventional Peak Oil production already happened in 2006. It is only very expensive fracked shale oil, deepwater oil and Tar sands production all providing way less energy return for energy investment which has kept global Oil production from falling off a cliff. But this makes for way more expensive oil.
    We cannot afford to continue the wasteful material growth of ever more weapons, highways, private cars and throwaway consumer junk. It is physically impossible on a finite planet...
    What we can do is stop wasting resources on Wars and Auto Adddicted suburban sprawl, throwaway junk and instead share Green public transit, public parks, public health, public schools and make products which last or can be repaired not planned obsolescence.

  218. Real income growth is not possible unless and until the healthcare insurance mafia is put out of business. It takes too huge a chunk out of that $56k and offers little in return.

  219. The weakness in the economy, especially seen in persistently low GDP growth since 2008, is patently obvious, and largely due to Obama's mismanagement.

  220. The US economy is, in fact, the envy of the world. Compare to; EU and Japan who have near zero growth rates. We have low unemployment, low inflation, low gas prices, record high stock prices and a diversified economy. The dollar is strong as the global economy wants to invest in success. What's not to like?

  221. No due to Republican obstruction. And the US is doing better than all other countries from a financial disaster the US caused!

  222. The weakness in the US economy was largely a result of the near total collapse of the world economy, itself predicated on lack of sound financial policies that originated long before Obama took office.

    Coming back from the financial straightjacket and deep persistent fears of a return to collapse kept companies from hiring or investing, but instead found them, as well as individuals, hoarding cash. It is "patently obvious" that the economy's decline were not the result of a single man.

  223. It is good news. And I do see more help wanted signs. It would be interesting to see how these numbers look on an after healthcare basis. My sense is that the employees' share of healthcare costs continues to rise, and that any increase in salary tends to be eaten up by higher deductibles and copays and by absorbing a larger amount of premiums. This may explain a lack of recovery enthusiasm.

  224. This is, of course, just the latest in an ever-lengthening line of reality's repeated refudiations of Publican zombie lies.
    Recall the similar fights over the 1990s Clinton tax increases?
    In those, too, the Publicans howled that the modest increases Clinton sought from the wealthiest (then already enjoying rapidly accelerating accumulations of riches, and further outpacing everyone else) would demolish our economy, and "wind up hurting those they claim to wish to help."
    The battle was so close that the increases passed the Senate by just one vote (the tie-breaker of VP Al Gore) against unanimous Publican opposition (sound familiar?).
    Of course, as we all (except Fox-fans) know, instead of the Publican-prophesied doom&gloom, what we got was the biggest jump in economic growth since the long postwar boom -- which was the last time taxes on the wealthiest and the corporations had been high enough to do any good.
    That Clinton era was the last and only one since the 1970s, until the current recovery, in which working- and middle-class incomes (especially those of people of color) made any gains at all, either in absolute dollars, or relative to those of the 1%ers.
    It's always the same story.
    (We won't even talk about the equivalent battles over the policies that -- again, against Publican opposition -- broke the back of the Great Depression...)
    Thanks, "liberal media," for ensuring that everyone knows this!
    Well, at least we have Krugman.

  225. and I blame the democrats. Where have they been, they just let these lies be told over and over again without hardly a whisper, liberal media hogwash. The media and NYT and Krugman are part of the problem. They lie when it suits them.
    Why aren't the dem party screaming for investigations about Trump? or maybe they are and no one is reporting it. Trump University, paying off Florida DOJ not to investigate, demanding tax return which heard something about that from Clinton even Ryan.
    The dems lost their noice. Good Cop bad cop

  226. The idea of trickle down economics being THE answer is a dead issue. The illusion that this will somehow fix and or stimulate the economy is a ruse to continue the Republicans lack of compassion for the real stakeholders in American----the 99%.

    Redistribution of wealth creates a stronger nation. It is the thesis behind our progressive tax system. It worked when the top rate was 90% and it will continue to work if we continue to support the belief that if you make 100million you didnt do it on your own. Who pays for the infrastructure, the courts, the roads, the grid, the army, etc etc. We built a great nation and we all pay the freight. If you can make more you pay more. Not complicated.

    Taxes are not our nations problem. Greed is our problem,

  227. We say progressive and trickle-up and such, but never really want to admit to democratic-socialism; we leave that to the Europeans. We'll be better off when finally admitting that being concerned enough about the community, the society, each other that we want to help 'the least of mine' by making sure the top-tier doesn't get too 'top'. We want a semblance of equality, as opposed to oligarchy (which we seem closer to today).
    It's okay to love people more than riches. It's okay to create societies for the better good and the 'more perfect union'. Let's get over our capitalistic desires for more and more money. Let's protect the planet and each other.
    Life is short, love is endless, and our possibilities are as big as our imaginations and hearts.

  228. Here in the US, what isn't profitable just isn't worth doing.

  229. Bravo, ttrumbo in Fayetteville! So beautiful and true! Thank you.

  230. There is no science or academic nexus to this column. Dr. Krugman's approach to economics offers no falsifiability. Krugman has predetermined responses to whatever the economic news is. If it is good, then Obama's policies produced it. If it is bad, then the stimulus was not big enough. This is not a scientific approach; it is a religious one. I'm glad Americans are finally getting a pay raise, but it took way too long. Mr. Obama became president near the end of a recession. Obama's policies did not produce a robust recovery. In fact, they resulted in the weakest recovery in living memory. We experienced a much stronger recovery under President Reagan's policies and somewhat stronger one under G.W. Bush's policies. And both of them came into office just as recessions were beginning, not ending.

  231. Neither Reagan or Bush encountered resistance on the order of magnitude of what Obama has had to deal with. In addition, his approach is likely to be more sustainable and resistant to market conditions then the exploding deficit smoke and mirrors tactics employed by former administrations. That may be a "religious" assessment as well by your definition.

  232. Recovery during the past seven years would have been even stronger had not the Republican Party not engaged in economic sabatoge; e. g., blocking the proposed, American Jobs Act that would have invested billions of dollars in infrastructure.

  233. President Obama took office in the midst of the worst global liquidity crisis since the Great Depression. Were you born yet then?

  234. Battling false narratives with the truth is a continuing responsibility of good governance. Speaking truth to the power is difficult because of the well funded and efficient propaganda machine of the conservative right. The sophistry of Fox News has done much to misinform and distort. Most people embrace news and information that confirm their already held beliefs and feelings. Contrary news is generally eschewed or ignored altogether. Their subconscious hinders information that tends to contradict what they already believe to be true. But the rhetorical battle for the hearts and minds of the electorate is dynamic. Opinions do gradually evolve over time. The war for the hearts and minds of the American people is far from over.

  235. The conservative right propaganda machine is alive and very well due to the enrichment in great measure to the Koch Industries and others of their greedy power-hungry ilk. Many have swallowed their vile message and will suffer the consequences unless the opposition can effectively present factual antidotes to preclude their blind acceptance of the propaganda's lies.

  236. People who think with their brains are generally outnumbered by people who react from their gut.

  237. The rich who stoke up nihilism to gain political advantage always come to regret it, if they live through it.

  238. Remember the ”balanced budget multiplier” from Economics 101.

    If the government increases spending and raises taxes by the same amount, say $500 billion per year, so as not to increase the federal deficit, the economy will grow by the same $500 billion per year.

    At a rate of $50,000 per year per job, that’s 10 million new jobs.

    Everybody, including the “one per centers”, will be better off. It’s called gush-up (as opposed to trickle-down) economics.

  239. The President has little to do with the economy. Congress controls fiscal policy. Moving the levers of this economy take years to have effect. Relook at your analysis with a four year lag.
    What is true is that more regulation burdens the economy. The growth in regs surges under democratic Predidents as there is no check on agencies that regulate them.

  240. I guess I prefer some regulation rather than the prospect of needing to wear surgical masks as they do in Beijing. I don't subscribe to the idea of lax regulation, where industry does whatever makes them the most profit, while taxpayers are left to pay for cleaning up the mess. With climate change already impacting our country, weakening our regulatory agencies seems ill advised.

  241. The basic rules that govern the agencies and the agencies themselves all come out of Congress. The President is just the administrator with limited control.

  242. I applaud President Obama's economic success, but recognize that its statistical validity will not be recognized by those who mindlessly fall in with the bizarre claim that he's been a "disaster". The only scenario Obama-haters would accept is a census number that showed medium family income flat or falling and poverty rates and the uninsured rising. It's sad. It's Orwellian. But that's the way it is with too many of our fellow citizens.

  243. Not that facebook is a representative sample of economic well-being, but just glancing at my wife's page, the level of travel and attendance at entertainment venues on these pages would indicate uptick in economic well-being. The irony on these pages are comments from individuals sitting in five star hotel restaurants in some foreign country saying that need to get home to vote for Trump.

  244. And, you know this how??

  245. As usual, sound economic-statistically based arguments presented by Professor Krugman.

    Of course, these arguments resound receptively among college-educated professionals which have done financially well during the last few decades.

    The burning question in the US today, however, is of different nature.

    The political-economic system has been rigged against millions of less educated Americans. They were left behind by the new economy propelled by the global information technology revolution.

    The question is which economic proposal -Trump or Hillary -- is better suited to deal with such complex challenge.

    On November 8th, 2016 Americans will decide whether Trump or Hillary will lead the country with a mandate for radical economic changes (Trump) or marginal changes (Hillary).

  246. We shall see what, if anything, Reagan Democrats learned by enabling that con-artist.

  247. It seems like if Mr. Krugman were a serious nerd he would note that the Census recently changed its methodology for measuring income in its annual survey. The changes would tend to inflate reporting of nonstandard (nonwage) sources of income, and this was the survey instrument that fully incorporated those changes.

    If you look at the data, actual wage gains were relatively anemic. 2.7 for women and 1.5 for men. That 1.5 is a terrible number.

    But, it makes us feel better to report 5.2 percent.

  248. Sorry, Braden @ Beacon NY, I think here is how to interpret the numbers:

    The average actual wage gains are averaged across everybody, including Wall Street traders and bankers, not just retail store workers and such.

    The change in the median (5.2%) income is much greater than the change in the average (as you noted 2.7% for women and 1.5% for men).

    This means most of the gains went to people in the lower half of the income distribution, and their gains are likely much more than 2.7%, 1.5%, etc.

    The Census Bureau report says that the change in the Gini index is not statistically significant, nor were other measures of inequality, except for: "in 2015, the 90th to 10th percentile income ratio was 12.23, a 4.7 percent decline from 12.83 in 2014. Changes in inequality between 2014 and 2015 were not statistically significant as measured by other indicators: the Theil index, the MLD or the Atkinson measure".

  249. Sources? What I am seeing is that incomes went up over inflation for people already working (I personally would like to be seeing those kind of wage increases), and that a lot more people now have full time jobs. Looks to me like you're cherry-picking.

  250. It has been said that all politics is local and though Paul Krugman sees the big picture , all economics can also be said to be local. On the local front american dissatisfaction can be read in the voters that threaten to vote for Trump and the libertarian candidate. These people are largely reacting to what they perceive to be a failing economy that no longer responds to their needs.

    A recent announcement by Ford that it would send jobs manufacturing small cars to Mexico is a perfect case in point. By making this announcement the significance of job losses and family stresses associated with income loss will turn voters away from the Obama economy and towards the Trump vision away from liberal economics. At present more that 50 percent of americans believe that they have not benefited economically from the past eight years… they are basing this belief on their personal experience. Can they be convinced that they have it all wrong before the november election ? Democrats must come to grips with the significance of local economics if they want to win the next election… and they must learn to speak directly to local concerns and respond to them in a meaningful manner or face the disaster of a Trump presdiency !

  251. Just to be clear, Ford is moving small car production to Mexico, but is not cutting jobs in the US. Instead, Ford's US factories that had been making small cars will be switched over to SUV's & pick-up trucks.

    Still, it is regrettable that Ford finds it necessary to invest in Mexican factories, rather than expand the operation in the US.

  252. Politics is really scale-independent. It functions pretty much the same at all levels everywhere.

  253. It amazes me how long the GOP "trickle down" narrative has been disproven, yet the narrative persists and large swaths of the voting public refuse to believe the reality that confronts their lyin' eyes. The right-wing spin machine is that powerful, casting white as black, up as down.

    We quite recently survived eight years of a certifiably catastrophic Republican Administration, having grown our human capital since those dark days under leadership that actually cares about an equitable quality of American life. Whatever her flaws (and who is free of them?), Hillary Clinton shares this concern.

    Ignoring this, a sizable portion of the voting public would willingly return to such mismanagement, this time on steroids, pathology added to blustering ignorance. Go figure. I can't.


  254. There is no doubt the economy has improved drastically since 2008.

    There is also no doubt the democrats were in the majority in both the House and Senate 2 years before the crash and 2 years after the crash. Nobody seems to remember we had divided government leading up to the crash and divided government when things started improving.

    The argument that it was the Presidents action that improved the economy may be true? It just might be true that gridlock and inaction was good for the economy.

    Blaming or giving credit to a party for economic recovery or economic failure seems foolish based on the reality of our governments inaction. As much as people hate the Federal Reserve, Paulson and Bernanke did most of the heavy lifting while our government piddled away at the margin and did little of substance.

  255. They don't call it a 'government bailout' for nothing. Paulson was representing the government, and he was promising government money. Bernanke's low rates were so unpopular with the GOP that Romney said he would replace him and Bernanke is no longer a Republican.

  256. What pushed Obama into doing this in the last year of his presidency? Bernie Sanders and the revolution he has wrought. This is not an 8 year influence it is a "1 year we are afraid of the people" influence. Now the Dems decide to throw a few bones. Once in office Hillary will begin business as usual, the business of making the rich richer and lining her own pockets. Of course the news is good now, how else do you get her into office when her trust levels are in the toilet. Healthcare aside Obama has done little for regular Americans. Raising the minimum wage to near subsistence levels is better than nothing but not much better. Helping "good" lendees to restructure those fraudulent loans which should have just been forced to be done by the banksters for all is a little bone and helped his numbers. None of this is left of center. These so called progressives know they have to throw a few ones to get into office. January 2017 will be business as usual. with the common American paying for the "mistakes" of the rich and the rich raking in huge monies ruining the investments of the retirees while redistributing that wealth through phony car loan securities. And the circle will be complete for 8 more years. Until election time again and more bones will be thrown to us.

  257. Patty, You have to give credit or assign blame where it is due. We have a Republican Senate and House. They and they alone create the bills that can be signed by the President to become law. That is the way it works. Policy is policy and if the President is only partially successful through executive action then that is the limit of change that can be accomplished. Those in the Midwest get the results they deserve when they vote the way they do. If you are in Kansas or Wisconsin you are worse off. But please try to be objective, if you do not like the status quo then vote to change it, vote Democratic. You the last party that balanced the federal budget, that didn't lie about WMD's, that doesn't support tax cuts for those at the top, whose members didn't outsource jobs overseas and by the way, support equal pay for women and a right to an abortion. It is also the party that believes in science and climate change. Many bad things have happened over the last 40 years and they will not be undone in just a few years.

  258. It's just so easy to make the economy grow! That's why Obama finally decided to do this. Because Bernie! Vote for Trump, right?

  259. Huh? What do you think Obama did the last year of his presidency that he hadn't done before? These results reflect long term trends dating back to his start in office. Did you even read the article?

  260. We have been acting in our own worst interest for 40 plus years

    Giving citizens a chance at a productive life only really requires two things 1) a single payer health system like the rest of the modern world 2) and a education: college and/or real world career/job training
    People will be fine if these two existing predatory systems are removed from the society

    Along with the lobbyists, Citizens United and gerrymandered districts

  261. I have never understood the argument that cutting taxes on the "job creators" will create more jobs. assuming that people react rationally, which all economists do, reducing taxes on the job creators will mean the cost of hiring an additional employee goes up. if the marginal tax rate is 25% the cost of hiring is 75% of the paycheck. if the tax rate is 35% the cost of hiring is 65%. it does not make economic sense

  262. Do you truly believe that all economists react rationally? Some seem to be rather odd, in my experience.

  263. According to several studies I've read about, 95% of the income gain has gone to the top 1% since 2000. There may be some small gain for us workers, but the 1% were the real winners of Obama's recovery.

  264. It says that the median income has increased, not the mean. If you line up all the families in US according to their income, and look at the one family that sits in the middle, that's the median income. Since the size of the economy did not increase by 5%, then most of the income gain would need to go to the bottom 50% to be able to raise the median by that much.

  265. I think this article was about the huge jump in median income despite the endless opposition of the Republicans?

  266. @ soxared040713 "Quite impressive, considering the disloyal opposition. It's all at risk this November." Thank you.

    Obama has been a great President, especially when considering the open war against him from the Conservatives. McConnell was very honest about his intentions and his confederates followed him with their treason, sedition, or whatever you want to call it.

    Trump is an air head with an evil bent. In my middle to upper middle class neighborhood I see more and more Trump signs. November is looming as an important test of the American voters. Win or lose big, it is up to us.

    However, the downside of going with Trumpet is on display in Kansas, in Missouri where all citizens can now carry weapons openly, and in a dis-functional congress. Ryan and McConnell tolerate the Mad Man because they have a quid pro quo agreement, "we send you a bill, you sign it, no questions asked". There goes Social Security and Medicare, SNAP, Unemployment benefits, etc. Down the tube we go.

  267. Apparently you haven't been listening to the radio or reading books. Because Larry Kudlow says "JFK would be a Republican today" on SiriusXM, and he is the author of the new must-read, "JFK and the Reagan Revolution." He asserted on MSNBC that JFK was a supply-sider, before supply side "economics" existed, because he proposed cutting the top tax rate from 91% to 65%.

    Oddly, Conservatives rebelled at the chance to give him that victory before an election, and the effort failed.

  268. "JFK would be a Republican today"??? Strange interpretation of early 60's history to say the least. During the last months of Camelot, JFK's New Frontier domestic program, substantively framed LBJ's Great Society platform as a consequence of his landslide victory in 1964, electoral success historians, politicians, and pundits generally attribute to enactment of Kennedy's platform, to be an electoral tribute to our slain President.

  269. Obama's achievements in 7.7 years are, as Krugman point out, remarkable. What he has not been able to do is, basically, what takes longer than that and what would have required more cooperation from the Fox News/Birther Congress—which your commenter Marie from Manhattan fails to see. And that donor class she mentions put in Reagan, Poppy and W, the cause of our still unsolved problems, in power. Yet you give her a NYT Pick. Prometheus in mostly incorrect in implying that higher prices for groceries (true) offset Obama's gains. Except for certain food prices inflation is simply not a problem. Really not. soaxered040713's points brilliantly underscore Krugman's points. Yet you give a NYT Pick to Prometheus and not to soaxered040713. Two possibilities here: 1) the GOP/Fox Orwellian liars have begun to infiltrate the NYT. 2) You need to wake up, ditch the decaf and switch to real coffee. Krugman is telling the truth (clearly you are not 100% Fox invaded yet) and Marie from Manhattan is dead, dead wrong.

  270. I -- and many other college educated women -- are still waiting for the trickle to reach us. We're not that tall. We just fell out of the statistics when our unemployment expired. For some reason, young hiring managers don't want to hire people who resemble their parents.

  271. The increase in median income is way to small to make up for the huge increases in monthly expenses for rents for those who are not part of the owner-class. And since the financial crisis it also has become much harder to become a home owner. So no Mr Krugman, most people are actually worse off under the line after having spent half of their money on rent. Therefore the census numbers alone don't say much about the economic conditions of a majority of Americans and it's adding insult to injury to claim the policies of our government after the financial crisis have had a positive effect. To the contrary: all the easy money caused to pump up the asset prices and there aggravate inequality. That's why we have Brexit, AFD in Germany and Trump.

  272. Rents have been falling.

  273. Let us not forget the role of the Gang of Senators Specter, Snowe, Collins, Lieberman and Nelson who forced the stunting of the stimulus in the winter of 2009 as Wall Street held the pin of a grenade and mused "nice economy you have there". The stimulus did help boost after-tax pay for a couple of years (via temporary payroll tax reduction) and, largely unnoticed but critical, prevented a collapse of municipal credit markets that would have tanked our economy far more deeply. But the stimulating part was stunted.

  274. More than one third of the Obama stimulus was Republican tax cuts. When Republicans bawl that the stimulus didn't work, they are blaming themselves. These people are utterly void of self-awareness.

  275. I agree that things are better. But they have a long way to go before the American middle and working classes feel secure. We're still on the edge. And that is true for not just one or two generations but everyone born after 1955. We did not or will not have the same standard of living our parents had. We did not find it easy to be hired, save money for everything under the sun, keep jobs, support ourselves, or take care ourselves and our families.

    We came of age when deregulation was the default position, when it became okay to fleece the customer, to break unions, to outsource jobs to other countries, to overpay CEOs at the expense of regular employees, when America stopped making progress in terms of how it treated its citizens. We were treated to the development of a corporatocracy where big business wrote the laws while Congress went along or states agreed at the expense of citizens.

    It wasn't just the GOP that allowed it. The Democrats also let it happen. If there's one thing that truly needs to change in America it's how we fund our elections and what positions are elective. Judges should not be running for a seat on the bench. They should not be accepting money from anyone. Nor should we be seeing lobbyists writing regulations. When our elected officials are sworn in they promise to represent us, all of us, not some of us. Obama kept that promise: he did try to represent all of us even if we didn't vote for him. That's more than the GOP did.

  276. The US is an interlocked corporate directorship. Congress only answers to it.

  277. Of course things have gotten better, regardless of the remaining pockets left behind, as we aim to improve education, and health, and government. Trouble is, republican dogma (not subject to discussion) won't allow rational thoughts to complicate their predicament, a faith-based fantasy, inconsistent with reality as is. Plus ethnic discrimination (so called 'racism'), held undercover until revealed by impertinent Trump, a spin-doctor unable to self-control his unscrupulous behavior, an obsessive-compulsive liar resistant to treatment. Unless Trump is sent packing, the U.S. will suffer greatly from this irresponsible thug's actions. He would undo any and all of Obama's achievements, however necessary for people's well-being.

  278. I was recently at a luncheon, surrounded by Ivy League Republicans. Every one of them said that President Obama was the worst president, ever. Every fact I presented to them, from the U.S. hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs by the time W Bush left office to the stock market cratering in 2008, was the fault of the Democrats, according to these educated people! They did concede that, perhaps, just perhaps, the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.

    Unbridled job growth, millions of Americans now covered under the ACA, saving the auto industry, killing Bin Laden, all these things were dismissed as false facts or unimportant. But I continued to argue with them, even if it was futile.

    By constantly lying to the American public and constantly undermining public institutions (remember Jack Welch in 2012 saying Obama made up the unemployment numbers?), Republicans have brought us to the place where a huge swath of Americans believes that there is a liberal media making up global warming and lying about Obama's birthplace and faith.

    In fact, in a Public Policy Poll less than a year ago, 61% of Trump supporters thought that Obama was not American and 54% thought Obama was Muslim:

    The Republican "leaders" have created this Frankenstein named Trump, a man who lies with impunity, but we will all pay a terrible price if we all don't continue to call out our fellow citizens on Trump's lies, and on all their lies.

  279. Republican are literally incapable of accepting responsibility for anything they do. It is always someone else's fault.

  280. YEP, many Republicans appear to be immune to facts and logic, living in their own delusional world of gloom-and-doom. Medical science has yet to find a cure for this syndrome.

  281. Its a shame that there is so much ignorance in this country. We have so much and know so much, but we cannot find a way forward. The deep divisions that stymied all efforts by President Obama to progress are as prevalent as ever. The two things that get in the way of a resurgent American Greatness are Greed and Hatred. Greed has turned us into an Oligarchy. Hatred has kept racism very much alive. America has always been a racist culture ever since the founding. I find those two things are nurtured by republicans and they are reviled by democrats. A bigger divide you cannot find.

  282. Frustrated greed leads to nihilism. That's what feeds the trump campaign.

  283. Not long ago, in conversation with the spouse of a distant in-law who lives significantly outside the beltway bubble that I've called home for many years, talk turned to wages. The spouse is the librarian in their small town, and mentioned looking forward to the rise in the minimum wage, which would enable the librarian to make $10 an hour. When I got past the idea that it was not a joke, I was shocked that a very intelligent person with a college degree and a grown child made less than $10/hour. As the professor notes, the right talks a lot about "wealth redistribution," but the only wealth I see being redistributed is that of middle class, or what might be called the little class, into the hands of the wealthy and very very wealthy.

    I'm no economist, but when the working poor and lower middle class pay so much more of their income in taxes than those, like the republican candidate, who actually could afford it, it seems like robbing the poor to pay the rich, which began (again) with, as Dr. K. notes, with Reagan.

    When I hear talk about our allegedly ruinous deficit, I keep thinking that the real deficit problem is the deficit of taxes that the rich pay, or don't pay. If they paid their fair share, the deficit would be gone tomorrow.

    The problem is not government, it seems to me, it's republicans in government who want to destroy it. But when librarians in small towns don't even make $10/hour, it's not hard to see how someone could be so nihilistic as to vote Trump.

  284. Let's further examine these statistics and not break out the champagne until we determine what they really mean. First, as pointed out ad nauseum, these new jobs are in service industries, where salaries are abysmal and employee benefits non-existent unless mandated by law. Further, these jobs provide no stability. In the retail and food service sectors most employees have little control over their schedules. Job security is lessened because firing low paid employees doesn't cost as much as firing a well-paid employee.

    As far as the boast re the increase in health insureds go, yes more people are covered by "health insurance" than before, but unless you are covered by Medicaid or have a low enough income to receive subsidies, you are not really protected unless you have a major medical problem. Middle class self employed have to determine whether it's cheaper to pay the penalty with no insurance or find policies with $10,000 deductibles.

    The ACA is a disaster unless you are poor. It was cobbled together in a rush with anomalies like the tax penalties to make sure it would pass constitutional muster. And let's not forget the plethora of unforeseen consequences, unforeseen only because no one with experience sat down and analyzed the foot-thick act. It needs to be thrown out and replaced with a system like the ones Canada and most Europeans have. The whole system is crooked and can only be fixed with a wrecking ball, not a Rube Goldberg patchwork quilt.

  285. Yes, it would have been good to have single payer on the first round, just as it would have been good if Hillary Clinton's health plan had not been torpedoed by the Republicans. President Obama got what he could wring out of Congress and was so bound and determined to have A HEALTH PLAN, that he took what he could get.

  286. While Krugman assigns Obama credit for tiny progress, and responders compete to specify just how tiny it has been, Krugman continues to ignore what's actually happening below decks on the Titanic. Both the country and the world have reached the limits of a vast public and private debt expansion cycle that has pulled forward enough demand to maintain the illusion of economic stability since 2008, at the cost of massive financial market front-running, speculation and malinvestment; huge increases in inequality; and the impoverishment of savers and the pension funds on which they depend. Krugman himself has bought deeply into the "debt doesn't matter" mantra, which is quite possible to continue repeating until it does matter, as it has during every debt cycle implosion in history. Short-term thinking about minor improvements, political horse race handicapping and ideological tug of war will soon give way to the global economic tsunami we have been preparing for ourselves. Columns like this one will constitute astonishing evidence for our progeny of human inability to see the forest for the trees.

  287. While European debt is high in some countries, U.S. debt has shrunk durin Mr. Obama's term.

  288. Good point. On the other hand, when you get right down to it, we individuals and families are the trees. looking at the forest can excuse us from noticing the trees that aren't doing so well.

    A healthy forest means healthy trees.

  289. The incapacity of Republicans to acknowledge that one account's debit is a credit to some other account continues to boggle my own mind.

  290. For an economically illiterate individual, the 5.2% uptick in the median income level comes as a rudely pleasant shock. One is sure this can foment a lot of rebuffs from some of the overweening naysayers in the GOP, and Trump will start concocting his own version of uneducated, or under-informed denials. And yet, even the commoner may still harbor feelings of curious cynicism, as he or she should, because an average wage or bread winner may not still feel this is a ''kumbaya moment'' to celebrate.

    But an erudite economist will painstakingly put forth his or her intricately inscrutable numbers, only he or she can decipher. Moreover, in this election cycle, any terrific tidings about the economy may be looked at with Nelson's eyes by the opposite party, obviously, and they may seek the help of the supply side economists to negate these milestones.

    And again, this news may simply raise the eyebrows, or shrug the shoulders of a garden variety observer, with an independent set of political perspectives. Nonetheless, some are willing to take even a trivial tidbit about the economy with a positive spin, and watch the experts engage in a passionate pursuit of perfection. Or so one hopes to expect.