Two weeks ago, I wrote a newsletter that I foolishly considered somewhat anodyne, not likely to get much reaction. It seemed probable that the initial estimate for G.D.P. growth in the second quarter would be negative and that many people would declare that this meant the United States was in a recession. So I spent some time pedantically explaining why we don’t actually use “two negative quarters” to define recessions and why, given other data, America probably wasn’t in one.
Silly me. I immediately received the biggest wave of hate mail I’ve gotten since the Iraq War, although it tapered off as many other economists and institutions declared that we weren’t in recession — not yet, anyway — and it pretty much vanished after Friday’s monster jobs report.
But absence of a recession aside, one question I get asked is what happened to the “Biden boom” I — and many other economists