Provocation # 165. Trump, unemployment and economics.
The argument is made that things like GDP, obviously flawed, nevertheless make possible graphs and computational models. In physics, basic assumptions, almost always get closer to the core of the phenomena. Weights falling in a frictionless vacuum for example. But in economics the assumptions , allowing for modeling, are basic distortions of the phenomena.
We tend to think that such assumptions are innocent, mere good faith attempts to help make economics scientific. But clarifying the models obscures the phenomena and makes science as well as public policy much more difficult.
This has serious consequences. Trump puts forth in all his public appearances that unemployment is at an all-time low and major news just quotes it as fact. Most economists know this is false but don’t go to the media with fuller pictures. The result is, Trump is moving closer to actual reelection. Economics, instead of being innocent and remote from society, is enmeshed in the flow of events.