This Thursday, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told the House Budget Committee that there was “no reason to think, that I can see, that the probability of a downturn is at all elevated.” Not every economic indicator is perfect, but wages are rising (especially on the lower end), unemployment is still at historic lows, and markets are booming.
You might remember that only a couple of months ago, there was a torrent of stories cautioning us about the imminent downturn. Some of the scary coverage, as Robert Shiller warned, consisted of “self-fulfilling prophecies.” Some seemed almost giddy about the political prospects of a downturn. Others just said what they felt. “I feel like the bottom has to fall out at some point,” Bill Maher explained at the time. “And by the way, I’m hoping for it because I think one way you get rid of Trump is to crash the economy. So please, bring on the recession.”
One of the nation’s leading doomsayers has been the New York Times’ perpetually mistaken Paul Krugman, who warned shortly after the 2016 election that Trump’s victory would trigger a global recession “with no end in sight.” We could file that under “post-election hysteria,” but as late as April of this year he was still telling crowds that the bond-market signals predicted “a pretty good chance of a recession sometime in the next year or so.” And he has kept this going all year.