25 May 2009

Does Krugman Know How to Balance a Checkbook?

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For a while now, it has been clear that Krugman becomes the anti-economist during a liquidity trap. In this strange alternative universe, government projects coming in under budget are bad, protectionism can be good, imposing costly new mandates on business can jumpstart the economy, and a sudden decision by China to invest in euros instead of Treasury debt can make Americans richer at the expense of Europe.

Yet Krugman has outdone even himself in this latest gem:

Of all the things to worry about in today’s world, the prospect of Social Security shortfalls several decades from now doesn’t rank high on the list. But there’s a whole generation of Very Serious People who think that worrying about entitlements is how they demonstrate their seriousness — while, say, worrying about climate change is hippy-dippy. Indeed, we find the same people who declare that to show how responsible we are we must do something about Social Security RIGHT NOW declaring that saving the planet is, you know, expensive, so let’s not.

If you’re like me, you have to calm down after the completely unnecessary “you know,” intended to convey just how incredibly stupid and shallow Krugman’s opponents are.

Stripped to its essence, I believe the following is what Krugman is saying:

(A) Some people are worried that we’re going to go broke trying to pay for Social Security, so we’d better scale back our spending or increase its funding.

(B) These same people are saying we don’t have the money to spare right now to throw trillions over the next few decades into a completely new program that won’t start paying for itself until after 2075 or so.

(C) What a bunch of morons! How could anybody simultaneously believe (A) and (B)?

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