The Real World and the Chart

Paul Krugman wishes to disprove something I wrote the other day.In this post I wrote:

The sage of creased pants bipartisanship, David Brooks, reports on Jesus’s letter to the Corinthians. Thomas Friedman, the guru of globalism reduced to ridiculous phrases with no meaning yells at train stewards for not clearing his plate fast enough. And the Washington to New York crowd laps them all up as defining what fierce urgencies now must be dealt with.The rest of America is nervous about where their next meal and paycheck are coming from, how they are going to afford to bail their kids out of crumbling schools, and the price of a gallon of milk and loaf of bread that keep going up though Ben Bernanke tells them there is no inflation.


Seeking to discredit the whole, Krugman focuses on the bit about bread and milk.Krugman uses a chart to try to disprove the reality that Americans with small kids actually experience at the grocery store. It’s written like a man who does not have kids at home.His problem is he thinks I’m attacking the Democrats and wants to defend them, when the criticism is broader and bipartisan with a full throated defense. If he hung around moms and dads with kids more often he’d hear a lot more real world complaining about the cost of bread, milk, and other grocery item prices going up while paychecks are staying the same. It isn’t a current issue. It is an ongoing issue and has been since late in the Bush Presidency when these conversations became more routine at the playground and around the dinner table with friends. Not everything is academic or chartable and sometimes the accuracy of the chart isn’t as real to people as the perception they have that their grocery store bills are getting more expensive though their shopping habits haven’t changed. That’s the point, Paul, but I appreciate the charts. Next time another parent brings this up, I’ll be sure to pass along the chart and tell them to look at that, not their grocery bill.



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