Krugman vs. Austerians

Paul KrugmanThis is great.

In this country, I’ve noticed that people who disagree with Paul Krugman tend to simply ignore his arguments and call him crazy. Last night, he was on the BBC’s Newnight, debating vulture capitalist Jon Moulton and conservative MP Andrea Leadsom. The two came out swinging and got bloodied. Leadsom claimed that Krugman’s view was “reckless.”

The daring duo presented the same old discredited arguments we’ve heard before. Leadsom: we have to cut our way to prosperity! Krugman: we aren’t a household; your spending is my income. Moulton: our government is too big! Krugman: larger governments are doing better; you just want to use the crisis to enact policy you’ve always be in favor of.

Watch it, it’s great:

I like the tired conservative line that everyone will start their own businesses. And the idea that people aren’t starting businesses because of all the regulations? If people want to start a business they will do it the time honored way: illegally.

It is nice to see these fucktards put in their places. Of course, they’ve learned nothing. If all the evidence from Europe hasn’t convinced them then nothing will. Besides, there is the Upton Sinclair Dictum: it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

The Austerity Agenda

In Krugman’s column tomorrow, he writes:

Over the past few days, I’ve posed that question [why the austerians promote a policy that is backwards] to a number of supporters of the government of Prime Minister David Cameron, sometimes in private, sometimes on TV. And all these conversations followed the same arc: They began with a bad metaphor and ended with the revelation of ulterior motives.

The bad metaphor — which you’ve surely heard many times — equates the debt problems of a national economy with the debt problems of an individual family. A family that has run up too much debt, the story goes, must tighten its belt. So if Britain, as a whole, has run up too much debt — which it has, although it’s mostly private rather than public debt — shouldn’t it do the same? What’s wrong with this comparison?

When the private sector is frantically trying to pay down debt, the public sector should do the opposite, spending when the private sector can’t or won’t. By all means, let’s balance our budget once the economy has recovered — but not now. The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity.

So why have so many politicians insisted on pursuing austerity in slump? And why won’t they change course even as experience confirms the lessons of theory and history?

Well, that’s where it gets interesting. For when you push “austerians” on the badness of their metaphor, they almost always retreat to assertions along the lines of: “But it’s essential that we shrink the size of the state.”

So the austerity drive in Britain isn’t really about debt and deficits at all; it’s about using deficit panic as an excuse to dismantle social programs. And this is, of course, exactly the same thing that has been happening in America.


Inform the Truth Then Again Again

SpamBotSince I’ve been moderating my blogs, I’ve noticed a lot of the same things over and over. The main thing I’ve noticed is that whoever the people who are writing these things are, they don’t write English very well. But some of them are clever. The first time you get them, they make you wonder.

One of them alerted me to the fact that my site was not loading properly in Internet Explorer. It went on to explain that this browser was the most popular and I really should do something about it. Such things can make me wonder, but I knew there was no such problem with the site. Perhaps the best such gambit is this:

of course like your web site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to inform the truth then again I will surely come again again.

Needless to say, I was pleased that this particular spambot would come again again. If this comment had been written in something approaching standard English, I would no doubt have been driven into a fit of copy editing. But clauses like “inform the truth then again” kind of ruin the illusion.

I try to find this all amusing. But its hard because I hate it that these fucktards are wasting so much of my time again again.