Presumed “wonk” Neil Irwin writes:
The [latest GDP] report details this stuck-in-neutral economy. It’s not without bright spots, but there aren’t enough of them, and they aren’t bright enough to make up for the forces dragging the recovery, most significantly a drop in government spending.
Indeed, the biggest culprit in the weak report was the government sector, which fell at a 4.1 percent rate, after a 7 percent pace of decline in the fourth quarter. The fall was universal — at the federal, state and local levels. The U.S. government is in pullback mode, and whatever one thinks about reducing the size government in the long run, for now it is unequivocally the villain in slowing growth. If there’d been no change in government spending over the last six months, GDP growth would have averaged a respectable 2.55 percent, not the current soft 1.45 percent. [Bold added.]
Why yes, Mr. Irwin, I agree: If you simply assume without even realizing it that the Keynesians are right, and that their opponents are wrong, then the Keynesians will be vindicated “unequivocally” by the data.