And the Grand Finale: The Macroeconomic Advisers Analysis That Krugman Endorsed Was Totally Wrong
I’ve saved the best for last. All of the above could understandably be construed as quibbling by a Krugman fan. Ah, but what if we click Krugman’s link and actually look at the analysis that generated the “700,000 jobs” figure? Then we’ll see the exact context of that prediction, and realize that it has been repudiated by observations–at least in the same way that the Romer/Bernstein report was totally repudiated.
The Macroeconomic Advisers report first constructs a baseline projection of GDP growth without the sequester, than overlays it with their projections of how GDP growth will be reduced if the sequester happens. This forms the basis of their projections of slower job growth: lower government spending ==> lower output growth ==> fewer workers needed to create that output.
So, if you flip to the tables at the end of the report, you’ll see that its baseline forecast of GDP growth in the second quarter of 2013 was 2.4 percent. But, if the sequester kicks in, in this “Alternative Scenario” they were projecting GDP growth in 2q2013 of only 1.1 percent. Okay, you can see that the sequester was modeled to have a humongous impact on the economy then, in the second quarter of 2013–a reduction of growth of 1.3 percentage points, almost cutting the baseline growth forecast in half.
Now, leaving the world of the Macroeconomic Advisers Keynesian model, what actually happened in the real world? Well, according to the BEA, the best estimate right now of 2q2013 GDP growth is 2.5 percent.
Does everyone see the absolute deliciousness of this? The actual GDP growth in 2q2013 was higher with the sequester than the Macroeconomic Adviser report said it would be without sequester. It is thus the mirror image of the Romer/Bernstein projection of the stimulus package’s impact on unemployment.The first part of the post deals in part with how evidence won't change anyone's mind.