If you missed Krugman today… well, you shouldn’t miss Krugman today:
These days Americans get constant lectures about the need to reduce the budget deficit. That focus in itself represents distorted priorities, since our immediate concern should be job creation. But suppose we restrict ourselves to talking about the deficit, and ask: What happened to the budget surplus the federal government had in 2000?
The answer is, three main things. First, there were the Bush tax cuts, which added roughly $2 trillion to the national debt over the last decade. Second, there were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which added an additional $1.1 trillion or so. And third was the Great Recession, which led both to a collapse in revenue and to a sharp rise in spending on unemployment insurance and other safety-net programs.
Sure we can talk about and quote long passages from books about the French Revolution, as I’m so fond of doing about any kinds of books, and draw comparisons between now and the run-up to that ghastly epoch. But I’m not sure how much good it will do (though I think a film about Saint Just would be great right about now).
But the more people with megaphones like Krugman take-on and takedown nonsense like the gospel of Greenspan and all of the other Randian balderdash that has so permeated the air waves, sunk most of the newspapers and razed the public squares, replacing them with parking lots for multi-aisle wish fulfillment, the harder the Greenspans et al will have to fight to maintain the BS level that now floats so effortlessly over us all.
Though there is no one like Krugman, there are plenty of others. I heard Stiglitz on NPR this morning and when Steve Inskeep (?) tried to question him about weren’t the stimulus and tax cuts strategies all just the same anyway and the debt was the most important blah blah blah, Joe was having none of it. And called him on the nonsense right away. Can’t believe they had him on. Listen here.
Anyway, these are important steps out of the cow field and here’s to sustaining them. But… no way around the woodshed.