Paul Krugman is Delusional
It’s official: the New York Times’ resident Nobel Prize Laureate/Loony is delusional. He wrote on his blog Monday about “how right he was”:
We’re coming up on the second anniversary of my piece “Myths of Austerity“, in which I tried to knock down the simply insane conventional wisdom then gelling among Very Serious People. Intellectually it was, I think I can say without false modesty, a huge win; I (and those of like mind) have been right about everything.
But I had no success in deflecting the terrible wrong turn in policy. Moreover, as far as I can tell none of the people responsible for that wrong turn has paid any price, not even in reputation; they’re still regarded as Very Serious, treated with great deference. And the political tendency behind that terrible economic analysis has at least a 50% chance of triumphing in America.
“Oh well” is right.
His first problem is that he says he has “been right about everything.” When one looks at the stimulus programs that have been enacted since this recession began, and the high unemployment that has persisted, the evidence is blatantly clear: Krugman is an idiot.
His second problem is his statement that “I had no success in deflecting the terrible wrong turn in policy.” Um, lest I am living on a different worldline than Krugman, the man’s main policy prescription has been stimulus, and we’ve had a lot of it:
- 2008 US Stimulus (under George W. Bush)
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (under Barack H. Obama)
- 2008 European Union Stimulus
- Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, and Irish bailouts
- Numerous and myriad US government loan programs (i.e., Solyndra)
So not only was Krugman wrong, but everyone has followed his perscriptions. So that’s a double whammy.
Mish Shedlock wrote the best takedown of Krugman’s Keynesian baloney back in 2009, during the first phase of this crisis, and its still entirely relevant today:
The problem with Keynesian clowns is they never look ahead to when the stimulus stops. By definition “stimulus must end” and as soon as it does, unless the stimulus created lasting new jobs, there will be nothing to show for it other than debt.
And interest must be paid on that debt. And that interest has to come to come from somewhere, either more taxes, or printing money and cheapening the dollar. That means there is a price to pay down the road for stimulus today. Keynesian clowns act as if there is no price down the road.
Since you cannot spend what you don’t have (without long-term negative consequences), the key to a solid recovery comes from a buildup in savings, lower taxes, and letting consumers keep more of their money (as opposed to government deciding how and when it should be spent).
In short, no amount of artificial stimulus can possibly work because government cannot allocate capital in an efficient manner (repairing roads that do not need to be repaired is proof enough). This is something that academic wonks trapped in their ivory towers apparently will never understand.
Creating a better business climate, with less government waste, will work. However, the right plan will take time and patience, traits that Government bureaucrats and academic wonks both lack. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, we are moving in exactly the wrong direction as noted in Obama’s “Cap and Trade” Energy Plan Will Cost Jobs.
There is a price to be paid for reckless expansion of credit and we are paying the price now. All artificial stimulus does is prolong the agony. The greater the stimulus, the greater the period of future agony, just as happened in Japan. Ironically Keynesian and Monetarist clowns shouted for more stimulus all the way, and they are doing so again now.
Of course, saying this will cause Krugman to lose his readers as they are hit with a crisis of faith, and may start to think he has become a false prophet who has arrived to sow discord among the True Believers during their Moment of Heavenly Triumph, so he can’t say that. The real question is whether or not Krugman himself is a True Believer, and if he is, then he is surely delusional.