White House Will Fix Economy By Covering Up Economic Data. Noble Prize?
For months the White House has been sending its money mumblers out to spread the good word about the American economy.
"As businesses begin to open, you're going to see [the] demand side of the economy rebound," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gushed on Fox News April 26.
"I see, for example, a rebirth of our textile industry for the first time in 30 years, because what we're doing now is having that industry make our masks, our gowns and things like that," Trump's pet econ crank Peter Navarro promised Maria Bartiromo on (of course) Fox. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appeared on Fox (go know!) in January speculating that coronavirus might "accelerate the return of jobs to North America" if all those dead bodies in China disrupted the supply chain. Because Wilbur Ross is a disgusting ghoul.
And just this week they sent that nutbag Kevin Hassett out to maniacally grin through an interview on CNN (huh, what?) projecting massive third quarter growth as America's "human capital stock" races back to the assembly line.
But when it comes to releasing actual data to back up those rosy economic projections ... yeah, not so much.
The Washington Post reports this morning that the White House will be the first administration since the 1970s to fail to release projections about the state of the American economy in the regular, summer "mid-session review." Sources told the Post that the report, which was issued by every other president in good times and bad, is being drastically pared down because "coronavirus is causing extreme volatility in the U.S. economy, making it difficult to model economic trends."
Just to spell that out really clearly, they're perfectly willing to go on television and lie about a rosy economic forecast while another 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment in the last week alone. But there's simply too much instability to commit actual economic projections to paper in an election year where it might draw attention to the fact that the economy is shit and the White House's economic models are hinky as hell.
So they'll put out a partial report, but leave out the ugliest bits. Like the federal deficit projection, which will balloon by at least $3 trillion as we borrow money to offset the carnage after Donald Trump did fuck all to prevent the virus besides imposing a Chinese travel "ban" that actually let in 40,000 people without imposing quarantine restrictions.
But at least Kevin Hassett was spared the further indignity of getting ritually pantsed again as reputable economists and data scientists take apart yet another of his ridiculous models piece by piece.
I would bet $538 that the White House's "cubic model" is literally just an MS-EXCEL trendline with a third-degree (… https://t.co/Ks1EkV4BNX— Nate Silver (@Nate Silver)1588640795.0
Spoiler Alert: It was.
Faced with the prospect of admitting that the economic outlook leading up to the November election is dire, or dummying up a laughable model to pretend otherwise, they've gone the route of Trump's tax returns. Pretend they're still under audit and promise to put them out later. In this case "later" is the end of October when the fiscal year comes to an end, which would be just days before the election. So ... don't hold your breath.
Oh, and BREAKING, the White House has just released a response to the story, telling the Post, "It is foolish to demand such a forecast simply because that is business as usual, particularly when that forecast may mislead the public."
Because the last thing in the world this administration would ever want to do be to mislead the public. Perish the very thought!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.