Monday, January 16, 2017

An Upmarket Rosie O’Donnell

I used to read Paul Krugman. I never agreed with him but it was sometimes fun (if that is the right word to use for columns that figuratively led me to pound my forehead into the wall) to attack his columns. At some point--perhaps even before the Times put their columnists behind a pay wall for a while--I stopped reading him as a complete waste of time and possible health hazard.

Whatever Krugman's talents as an economist in a particular narrow area that got him a Nobel Prize, he long since abandoned economics as a discipline in order to use his Nobel credentials as a sword and shield to be a partisan political hack in the battle to advance liberal Democratic policies.

Behold the issue of deficits:

Like homelessness and military casualties, U.S. government deficits are an issue that bleep into visibility on the progressive radar almost exclusively during Republican presidencies. On October 23, 2016, Professor Krugman wrote that the “debt scolds should be ignored,” and that Hillary Rodham Clinton, then presumed to be the next president, should engage in “years of deficit-financed infrastructure spending, if she can.” A grand total of 78 days later, Professor Krugman declared, “Deficits matter again.”

The science of economics cannot explain such a dramatic shift. It is pure politics.

And I freely admit that Republicans who decide to spend freely under the guidance of a Trump administration--if that is what happens, of course--are guilty of politics.

But how many Nobel Prizes in economics to those politicians have?

Which is why I've often said that the best way to tame the federal government isn't to put Republicans in charge of the same programs that Democrats ran, but to reduce the scope of the federal government so nobody runs the non-existent programs or is tempted to simply add their own "good" program to the mix.