Krugman, drawing on his experience and recent observations, challenges unfounded claims surrounding the economy, security, and the presumed fall of the United States.
In a recent op-ed published by The New York Times, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman delves into the stark contrast between the dystopian narrative propagated by MAGA supporters and the real situation of the US.
MAGA America versus Reality
Krugman begins his critique by addressing comments made by Kristi Noem, the Republican governor of South Dakota, who warns that President Biden is “reconstructing” the United States into a European-like “hellscape” due to immigration policies.
Krugman counters this by humorously suggesting that adopting European models could actually improve American life expectancy, before seriously pointing out his own experiences in Europe, which flatly contradict Noem’s bleak description.
Economy Under Scrutiny
Central to Krugman’s argument is the undeniable success of the American economy, which, contrary to the MAGA narrative, experienced a strong year in 2023.
With economic growth exceeding expectations and inflation rates stabilizing, Krugman highlights the dissonance between MAGA economic doomsayers and the reality felt by Americans, 63% of whom describe their financial situation as good or very good.
The Partisan Perception Gap
Krugman points out the gulf in perception between Republicans and Democrats, particularly when it comes to the economy. Despite positive economic indicators, a YouGov poll finds that a staggering 72% of Republicans believe the economy is getting worse, a belief disconnected from their personal experiences, and 69% of Republicans report a satisfactory personal year in 2023.
Between January 25 and 30, a study was conducted by CNN via web and telephone on the SSRS Opinion Panel, a nationally representative panel of American adults ages 18 or older recruited using probability-based sampling techniques.
Opinions about the country’s economic trajectory appear to have been influenced by partisanship, with the rise in sentiment coming primarily among Democrats (49% now say the economy is recovering, up 10 percentage points from July) and independents (24%, 7 points more). Only 6% of Republicans say they see the beginning of a recovery, almost unchanged from last summer.
Crime and Safety: The MAGA Misconception
Addressing the topic of crime, Krugman points to the significant decline in 2023, which should, in a rational world, bolster the nation’s sense of well-being. Yet the MAGA narrative persists in painting a grim picture of rampant crime, especially in cities like New York, despite evidence to the contrary and the city’s status as one of America’s safest big cities.
In this sense, Krugman states that “overall, both our economy and our society are in much better shape now than most people would have predicted in the early days of the pandemic or than most Americans are willing to recognize.”
Cult of Personality and Disregard for Evidence
Krugman’s criticism extends to the MAGA movement’s broader tendency to avoid reality in favor of sowing fear and falsehoods. From exaggerated claims about gas prices to the politicization of COVID-19 vaccines, Krugman sees a worrying tendency for MAGA supporters to dismiss observable facts, contributing to a polarized and ill-informed public discourse.
In any case, Krugman claims that “the United States responded very well to the economic and social challenges of the deadly pandemic. By most indicators, we are a country on the mend. Let’s hope we don’t lose our democracy before the people realize it.”
By Audy Castaneda