Written by G. Brookings
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Monday, 12 November 2012

image for Krugman, Deficit? What Deficit?

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, liberal economist and professor of economics, Paul Krugman, blasted the so-called deficit hawks for blatant hypocrisy and even dishonesty. "It was never about the deficit," he wrote. To careful observers, such as Mr. Krugman himself, conservatives' evil intentions have long been transparent. Under the guise of balancing the budget they have sought in every possible way to "shred the social safety net" and turn every Bedford Falls into a Potterstown.

Instead of worrying about empty bank accounts and unpaid mortgages, Krugman urged, the way out of the current mess is to borrow more money and spend it as fast as possible. It would be suicide to follow Republicans into a futile search for cash to make up the deficit. And he turned aside the contention of fiscal conservatives in both parties that social programs need trimming. While Krugman did not offer any proof for his new economic theory that the deficit will go away if we just stop worrying about it, he hinted broadly that he, and not Erskine Bowles, Democratic co-chair of President Barack Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, would make a better Secretary of Treasury to replace Mr. Geithner, who has already earned his liberal wings.

In an odd postscript to his article, Mr. Krugman warned Americans against sending dimes to the White House. The President's charge that the rich will not willingly pay even a dime more in taxes was an example of hyperbole, Mr. Krugman explained, and not to be taken literally. Keep your dimes, he begged listeners, for replacing blown fuses.

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