Paul Krugman took aim at the Republican talking point of economic uncertainty on ABC’s This Week this morning. Krugman called economic uncertainty, “All of this stuff about uncertainty is just myth being made up to blame this on Obama.”
Here is Krugman from ABC News:
When asked about the new jobs numbers, Krugman said, “Look this is better than not, better than no jobs, but unemployment is a funny number. You’re only considered unemployed if you’re actively looking for work, so if you look over the past year the unemployment rate has come down a lot, significantly anyway, but that’s basically almost all because fewer people are looking for work.”
He was asked where the job market was heading, “Well, it’s still terrible. It’s still a terrible job market. It’s not deteriorating, but there are still five times as many people looking for jobs as there are job openings, and the length, the average duration of unemployment hit a new record, so we’re in a situation where things are not getting worse or not getting worse in all dimensions anymore.”
Later when Republican Torrie Clark brought up the economic certainty argument, Paul Krugman laughed at her and said, “The reasons that business are not investing is that they have tons and tons of excess capacity. There is a very clear relationship historically between the amount of unemployment and the amount of business investment. When unemployment is high capacity is low, investment is low. There’s nothing. All of this stuff about uncertainty is just myth being made up to blame this on Obama. There’s nothing in there. It is exactly what you would expect.”
Torrie Clark is not an economist. She was the Pentagon spokesman during the Bush administration. Her argument on economic uncertainty was not based on facts. Instead she was advancing an empty term loaded with political buzzwords.
The term economic uncertainty has two political meanings which Republicans are trying to embed into the national dialogue. The term is designed to be an attack on Obama’s leadership. When Republicans use this term they are attempting to label President Obama as a shaky and uncertain leader. In other words, “The economy is floundering because Obama has not provided a firm and steady hand.”
The second Republican use of the term is designed to evoke a feeling of fear and uncertainty in the listener. It is an emotional argument designed to play on the anxious feelings that many Americans still have concerning their own economic situation. Clark couldn’t provide any data or evidence to back up her claim of economic uncertainty, because there is no economic data to back up her claims. Her appeal was strictly designed for the gut, not the brain.
Economic uncertainty is a myth term created Frank Luntz and other Republican message crafters to politicize economic data. If you are listening to the radio, reading the Internet, or watching TV and you see or hear the term economic uncertainty be aware that Republicans are trying to emotionally manipulate you on an unconscious level.
Krugman correctly debunked the myth today, but you can be certain that Republicans are going to make the phantom “economic uncertainty” a talking point for 2012. It will be a problem that most assuredly will only be solved by implementing their pro-corporate tax cutting agenda.
This myth is designed to once again fool people into voting against their own self-interests, but Americans need to realize economic misery for the many will come at the expense of “economic certainty” for the few.