In Praise of Fallible Leaders

Last week Joe Biden made an off-the-cuff joke that could be interpreted as taking African-American votes for granted. It wasn’t a big deal — Biden, who loyally served Barack Obama, has long had a strong affinity with black voters, and he has made a point of issuing policy proposals aimed at narrowing racial health and […]

How Many Will Die for the Dow?

In mid-March, after weeks in denial, Donald Trump finally admitted that Covid-19 was a serious threat and called on Americans to practice social distancing. The delayed acknowledgment of reality — reportedly driven by concerns that admitting that the coronavirus posed a threat would hurt the stock market — had deadly consequences. Epidemiological modelers believe that […]

We Should Help Workers, Not Kill Them

As far as I can tell, most epidemiologists are horrified by America’s rush to reopen the economy, to abandon much of the social distancing that has helped contain Covid-19. We know what a safe reopening requires: a low level of infection, abundant testing and the ability to quickly trace and isolate the contacts of new […]

Covid-19 Reality Has a Liberal Bias

On Tuesday, the U.S. government’s top experts warned that Covid-19 was by no means under control, and that premature easing of social distancing could have disastrous consequences. As far as I can tell, their view is shared by almost all epidemiologists. But they were shouting into the wind. Clearly, the Trump administration and its allies […]

How to Create a Pandemic Depression

Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics officially validated what we already knew: Just a few months into the Covid-19 crisis, America already has a Great Depression level of unemployment. But that’s not the same thing as saying that we’re in a depression. We won’t know whether that’s true until we see whether extremely high […]

An Epidemic of Hardship and Hunger

Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on workers. The economy has plunged so quickly that official statistics can’t keep up, but the available data suggest that tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, with more job losses to come and full recovery probably years away. But Republicans […]

Trump and His Infallible Advisers

“You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down close to zero.” We have contained this, and the economy is “holding up nicely.” It’s not nearly as serious as the common flu. We’re going to have 50,000 or 60,000 deaths, and that’s great. OK, we may have […]

Crashing Economy, Rising Stocks: What’s Going On?

The economic news has been terrible. Never mind Wednesday’s G.D.P. report for the first quarter. An economy contracting at an annual rate of almost 5 percent would have been considered very bad in normal times, but this report only captured the first few drops of a torrential downpour. More timely data show an economy falling […]

Peacocks and Vultures Are Circling the Deficit

Almost a decade has passed since I published a column, “Myths of Austerity,” warning that deficit alarmism would delay recovery from the Great Recession — which it did. Unfortunately, that kind of alarmism seems to be making a comeback. You can see that comeback in the gradually increasing number of news analyses emphasizing how much […]

McConnell to Every State: Drop Dead

Covid-19 has killed tens of thousands of Americans, and will clearly kill many more. The lockdown needed to contain the coronavirus is causing an economic slump several times as deep as the Great Recession. Yet this necessary slump doesn’t have to be accompanied by severe financial hardship. We have the resources to ensure that every […]

The Right Sends In the Quacks

Over the past few days there have been noisy, threatening demonstrations at various statehouses demanding an end to Covid-19 lockdowns. The demonstrations haven’t been very big, with at most a few thousand people, and involve a strong element of astroturfing — that is, while they supposedly represent a surge of grass-roots anger, some of them […]

Starve the Beast, Feed the Depression

So Donald Trump’s name will, in a break with all previous practice, appear on the checks that will slightly mitigate the Donald Trump depression caused by the Donald Trump pandemic. Hey, we’re supposed to put his name on everything, right? The operative word, however, is “slightly.” Those $1,200 checks, it turns out, are only a […]

Economists Aren’t the Ones Pushing to Reopen the Economy

This article is part of Paul Krugman’s free newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it every Tuesday. Trying to predict Trump administration actions really is like Kremlinology, updated for the age of social media. There’s clearly no formal policy process; Donald Trump acts on impulse and intuition, often shaped either by whomever he […]

Republicans Don’t Want to Save Jobs

Recent job losses have been nothing short of apocalyptic. Almost 17 million workers — more than 10 percent of the work force — filed for unemployment benefits over the course of just three weeks. Independent economists suggest that the unemployment rate may already be close to 20 percent, which is similar to its level in […]

American Democracy May Be Dying

If you aren’t terrified both by Covid-19 and by its economic consequences, you haven’t been paying attention. Even though social distancing may be slowing the disease’s spread, tens of thousands more Americans will surely die in the months ahead (and official accounts surely understate the true death toll). And the economic lockdown necessary to achieve […]

Will We Flunk Pandemic Economics?

Just a month ago Donald Trump was still insisting that Covid-19 was a trivial issue, comparing it to the “common flu.” And he dismissed economic concerns; after all, during flu season, “nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on.” But pandemics come at you fast. Since Trump’s blithe dismissal, something like 15 million […]

The Covid-19 Slump Has Arrived

Over a normal two-week period we’d expect around half a million U.S. workers to file claims for unemployment insurance. Over the past two weeks we’ve seen almost 10 million filings. We’re facing an incredible economic catastrophe. The question is whether we’re ready to deal with this catastrophe. Alas, early indications are that we may be […]

Notes on the Coronacoma (Wonkish)

The economic contraction we’re experiencing is the fastest on record, by a large margin; we’ve probably lost as many jobs over the past two weeks as we did in the whole of the Great Recession. The policy response is also gigantic, several times as large a share of GDP as the Obama stimulus. But it […]

This Land of Denial and Death

Death comes at you fast. Just three weeks ago the official line at the White House and Fox News was that the coronavirus was no big deal, that claims to the contrary were a politically motivated hoax perpetrated by people out to get Donald Trump. Now we have a full-blown health crisis in New York, […]

Covid-19 Brings Out All the Usual Zombies

Let me summarize the Trump administration/right-wing media view on the coronavirus: It’s a hoax, or anyway no big deal. Besides, trying to do anything about it would destroy the economy. And it’s China’s fault, which is why we should call it the “Chinese virus.” Oh, and epidemiologists who have been modeling the virus’s future spread […]

On Coronavirus, We’re #1

It’s hard to believe, but just a month ago Donald Trump and his henchmen were dismissing the coronavirus as a nonevent. On Feb. 26 Trump declared that “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be close to zero.” His remark came a day after Larry Kudlow, his […]

Republicans Add Insult to Illness

If you want a quick summary of the state of play over fiscal stimulus legislation, here it is: Republicans insist that we should fight a plague with trickle-down economics and crony capitalism. Democrats, for some reason, don’t agree, and think we should focus on directly helping Americans in need. And if legislation is stalled, as […]

3 Rules for the Trump Pandemic

So Donald Trump is now calling Covid-19 the “Chinese virus.” Of course he is: Racism and blaming other people for his own failures are the defining features of his presidency. But if we’re going to give it a nickname, much better to refer to it as the “Trump pandemic.” True, the virus didn’t originate here. […]

Step Aside for Powell and Pelosi

America’s catastrophically inadequate response to the coronavirus can be attributed largely to bad short-term decisions by one man. And I do mean short-term: At every stage, Donald Trump minimized the threat and blocked helpful action because he wanted to look good for the next news cycle or two, ignoring and intimidating anyone who tried to […]

It’s a MAGA Microbe Meltdown

For three years Donald Trump led a charmed life. He faced only one major crisis that he didn’t generate himself — Hurricane Maria — and although his botched response contributed to a tragedy that killed thousands of U.S. citizens, the deaths took place off camera, allowing him to deny that anything bad had happened. Now, […]

Trump Can’t Handle the Truth

Over the weekend Donald Trump once again declared that the coronavirus is perfectly under control, that any impressions to the contrary are due to the “Fake News Media” out to get him. Question: Does anyone have a count of how many times he’s done this, comparable to the running tallies fact checkers are keeping of […]

The Case for Permanent Stimulus (Wonkish)

If you’re a normal human being considering reading this post, fair warning: although it’s not super-technical, it’s aimed at a very wonky audience, and parts of it won’t exactly be in English. Also, it’s of limited policy relevance: the Trump administration would never consider the policy I suggest, and even a Biden administration would probably […]

Bernie Sanders Is Going for Broke

Few political movements have experienced as quick and dramatic a fall from grace as what happened to the Sanders campaign between the Nevada caucuses and Super Tuesday. Over the course of 10 days Bernie Sanders went from the presumptive Democratic nominee to a very long shot. In fact, things have gotten so bad that Sanders […]

Can the Fed and Friends Save the Economy?

This article is part of Paul Krugman’s newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it each weekday. Markets were in a state of near panic, deeply worried about the economic outlook. But then the Federal Reserve stepped up: its chairman issued a statement strongly suggesting that he would cut interest rates. And the market […]

Paranoid Politics Goes Viral

We still don’t know how much damage Covid-19 — the coronavirus disease — will do, but it’s reasonable to be very concerned. After all, it appears to be highly transmissible, and it is probably a lot more lethal than ordinary flu. But not to worry, say right-wing pundits and news organizations: It’s all a hoax, […]

When a Pandemic Meets a Personality Cult

So, here’s the response of the Trump team and its allies to the coronavirus, at least so far: It’s actually good for America. Also, it’s a hoax perpetrated by the news media and the Democrats. Besides, it’s no big deal, and people should buy stocks. Anyway, we’ll get it all under control under the leadership […]