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Surprise! Paul Krugman thinks you’re the problem

All you need to know about the legacy news media is that they hate you and think you’re a moron. Once you get this, the rest falls into place. 

Last week, New York Times writer and noted “man of the people” Paul Krugman wrote his umpteenth column accusing people of being confused about the state of the economy. Despite the fact that, in Krugman’s estimation, the overall economy is doing “quite well,” people consistently report dissatisfaction with it. Notably, a majority of people still feel good about their personal finances but feel sour about the broader economy, leading Krugman to conclude that America is amid a “vibecession.”

In his defense, the explanation for this discrepancy would not be immediately obvious to the thoroughly enbubbled legacy media that have long prioritized the concerns of the identitarian Left over the working class. And as always, it’s easier to blame the “messaging” than to actually empathize with voters. 

But if Krugman and his ilk were sincerely interested in getting to the root of President Joe Biden’s poor marks on the economy, they would do well to consider the following. 

To begin, Democrats and Democratic-friendly media have spent the past eight years trying to scare the wits out of everyone. In a ghoulish attempt to regain and maintain power, establishment liberals have adopted an apocalyptic tone over the past few election cycles. 

First, they said former President Donald Trump was an asset of a mortal enemy and that he was sure to bring on World War III. Then, they said COVID-19 was equivalent to a bazillion 9/11s and that skepticism toward the vaccine and masks was on the same moral plane as mass murder. They said the fall of Roe v. Wade would bring The Handmaid’s Tale to reality, that the planet would catch fire at any moment, and that black men were being gunned down in the streets en masse. 

And now they cry “Democracy is on the ballot” at every turn as if anything short of a Democratic sweep in November will mark the very end of the American experiment itself. 

And yet, the Krugmans of the world expect voters to have a rosy outlook on the future. Because the stock market is up, I guess? 

Forget for a second that the Russian collusion hoax has been debunked time and again, that the establishment got nearly everything wrong on COVID-19, that Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has actually been a net positive for the practice of abortion, that the planet hasn’t been consumed by flames despite Greta Thunberg and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) projections, and that we have made real progress on race relations since the passage of the Civil Rights Act. It simply isn’t rational to expect people to be bullish about any aspect of our national condition, economic or otherwise, when the powers that be communicate nothing but dread and doom. 

Voters are not actually puppets on a string after all, Mr. Krugman. They can’t be yanked back into a “happy days are here again” mentality just because Democrats are at risk of being voted out.

Furthermore, that a majority of people feel “good” about their personal finances is only relevant in the context of the moment. Feeling “good” today might mean having a few months’ worth of rent in the bank, whereas feeling “good” 20 years ago might have meant the reasonable expectation of buying a home, which is completely foreign to ascendant generations. The multimillionaire journalism class of which Krugman is a long-standing member cannot fathom the new economic normal for the working class. Their “good” is not our “good” — a fact that leaves them perpetually confused.

Add to this the recent experience of witnessing prices skyrocket at the pump and the checkout aisle following a government spending binge, and it becomes entirely clear why most voters are not buoyant about the economy. If you haven’t pumped your own gas or bought your own box of Cheerios in the past decade, you wouldn’t be able to relate. 

It’s not a coincidence that the White House has embraced the “Dark Brandon” meme; it is, perhaps, the most sincere representation of the “vibe” they have endeavored to inculcate in their years of power. And the lament over the sour mood of America today, as well as the palpable contempt for the “lived experience” of workers, is a delicious irony.

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Peter Laffin is a contributor at the Washington Examiner. His work has also appeared in RealClearPolitics, the Catholic Thing, and the National Catholic Register.

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