ason Furman, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during Barack Obama’s administration, has been making the case to the Biden campaign that Democrats should be fearful of the third quarter of 2020 where he predicts we will “see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country.”
What Furman is suggesting is that while unemployment will be in the double digits, entire industries such as hospitality will remain decimated and tens of millions of people will continue to not afford the health care they need in the middle of a global pandemic, and so Democrats should be wary of making the state of economy central to the 2020 campaign.
Families are facing catastrophe, but Furman’s concern is not how we create policies that address the deep structural problems at the root of people’s economic pain. Instead he fears that Democrats will overhype the current crisis. “Don’t make predictions that could be falsified. There are enough terrible things to say, you don’t need to make exaggerated predictions,” he told Politico. “The argument that we are in another Great Depression will look like it was overstated.”
An acolyte of Clinton treasury secretary and former Goldman Sachs chair Robert Rubin, Furman’s thinking exemplifies the problem with the upper echelons of Democratic Party economic policymaking. Instead of examining the very real pain felt by workers in our economy over decades, they hide behind broad macro numbers and use them to avoid confronting the economic hardship caused by the very systems they helped create.