Keynsian putzery.

Keynsian putzery.

Caveat: Paul Krugman is a Nobel-prize-winning Doctor of Economics, and I’m not. I have great respect for economics and the people who study it. This makes me hesitant to argue with Krugman. It also, however, causes me pain when he writes such seemingly inane sentences as:

Yes, America has long-run budget problems, but what we do on stimulus over the next couple of years has almost no bearing on our ability to deal with these long-run problems.

Don’t cut spending, Krugman is saying. Forget “austerity.” More Keynsian hyper-spending! More debt, more bonds, more “stimulus!” Hey, a few more years won’t make that much difference!

But, see, the deficit and the national debt have grown…well, just look:


And, a chart Krugman himself used to show how things just aren’t that bad:

That’s supposed to make us feel better, somehow. Also, via Say Anything Blog:

Here’s a fun fact: Since the beginning of the 2000?s, the national debt has increased…more in a period of ten years than in the previous 211 year history of the Republic.

Obama’s share of that? So far, … over $4.8 billion in debt growth per day.

Under President Bush? Debt growth was at over $1.6 billion per day. Now, that $1.6 billion isn’t a good number, but it’s better than the $4.8 billion per day under Obama.

Not to mention:

June 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015, according to a Treasury Department report to Congress.

The report that was sent to lawmakers Friday night with no fanfare said the ratio of debt to the gross domestic product would rise to 102 percent by 2015 from 93 percent this year.

In 2008, it was 70 percent. Hey, I’m not laying all this on Obama. I get that the economy was down when he took office, and that he didn’t have the professional or personal experience, training, or mindset to handle it. It’s not his fault, really: he was pushed into running for President years – maybe decades – before he was ready, and the political environment of the time was sufficient to put him into the office.

I’m simply pointing out: what we’ve done over the past couple of years has had great bearing on our long-term problems. What we do “over the next couple of years” most certainly does have bearing “on our ability to deal with these long-run problems.”

Krugman’s mistake, it seems to me, is in his definition. He’s setting up a straw man. Krugman hears “austerity” and thinks “beyond Thunderdome.” But it doesn’t mean that, or it doesn’t have to. Maybe it can just mean “responsible spending.” Leveling off. Enough with using the great-grandkids’ credit cards.

There has to be a limit, somewhere. What are the odds that Krugman and his fellow Keynsianists will ever recognize it and, even if they do, point it out?


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