Krugman Does Magritte!

Paul KrugmanThis morning, Paul Krugman posted an article, This Is Not a Crisis. What he’s getting at is the claim by conservatives that we must do something about our “out of control spending!” As I am always quick to point out: Republicans Don’t Care About Economy. They only use it as an excuse to cut social programs for the poor.

Krugman wrote: “[W]e are nowhere near fiscal crisis; we aren’t even looking at anything like a fiscal crisis 15 or 20 years from now. So budget deficits, entitlement reform, and all that simply don’t deserve to be policy priorities, let alone dominate the national discussion the way they did for the past few years.” And of course, he’s exactly right. The problem isn’t so much the Republicans, however. We know what they are about. The problem is the long history of the supposedly liberal Democrats fretting about budget deficits. It’s no wonder we are arguing this point on the Republicans’ terrain; there is no other terrain allowed in polite company.

But what most struck me in the article had nothing to do with politics and economics. After the article title, “This is not a crisis,” he presented this image:

CBO Federal Debt

Then he followed it when this, “It’s not even a picture of a crisis.” That’s classic Krugman. It’s an obscure joke. He’s referring to the Rene Magritte painting The Treachery of Images:

The Treachery of Images

Written on the painting is, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” In English, it is, “This is not a pipe.” And indeed, it is not a pipe; it is a picture of a pipe.

Oh, you are a droll one, Dr. Krugman!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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