Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman's latest column in The New York Times
focuses on the political ramifications of economic policy in the United Kingdom.
But if applied to the United States, it might carry negative tidings for Democrats in next year's elections, according to a staff commentary in Salon magazine
Krugman's point is that the U.K. economy has been a basket case under the conservative coalition government that has ruled since 2010. "But over the past couple of quarters it [the economy] looks pretty good, and that's what matters politically," he writes.
So things are looking good for the ruling coalition in next month's elections, Krugman says.
And how do Salon staffers view this as applicable to the United States?
"It's not hard to see the lesson for Democrats. Slow, steady and responsible growth over eight years may not be rewarded by voters if there's a downturn in the summer of 2016," they write.
To be sure, it might not take a downturn for Democrats to suffer. Plenty of Americans are unhappy with the slow and steady growth that has prevailed since the Great Recession ended in 2009.
The economy has expanded only 2.2 percent a year since then, far below historical norms for a recovery. Democrats themselves, including President Obama, have expressed displeasure with the economy's sluggishness.
Things aren't looking so hot for the economy in a number of areas.
The Atlanta Federal Reserve's GDPNow model
forecasts economic growth of only 0.1 percent, as of Thursday. And that's an improvement from Wednesday when the projection was zero growth.
Thursday's news of the lowest U.S. trade gap in five years for February, gave the GDP projection a boost. But the trade improvement largely reflects the shutdown of West Coast ports that curbed imports.
The 0.1 percent estimate represents a sharp reduction from 1.9 percent in early February. The economy grew 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter.
The indicator may fall further Friday, given the weak March jobs report. Non-farm payrolls rose only 126,000 last month, the smallest increase since December 2013.
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