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The Bad, the Worse and the Ugly

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1 The Bad, the Worse and the Ugly on 4/12/2017, 9:05 am

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2 Re: The Bad, the Worse and the Ugly on 4/12/2017, 9:16 am

Floridatexan wrote:

Thanks for posting this FT.

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3 Re: The Bad, the Worse and the Ugly on 4/12/2017, 9:17 am

But it isn't fake #45's momma, it's you.

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4 Re: The Bad, the Worse and the Ugly on 4/12/2017, 11:38 am

Telstar wrote:But it isn't fake #45's momma, it's you.

He's still gotta get the budget passed. After reading that Krugman article, I think not.

The highlight from the Krugman piece (for me, at least):

"So Trumpist governance in practice so far is turning out to be just Republican governance with (much) worse management."

Krugman may be a heteroeconomist who doesn't understand MMT but damn, he writes good!

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5 Re: The Bad, the Worse and the Ugly on 4/12/2017, 3:36 pm

Krugman is a Keynesian.

The Ignoramus Strategy

APRIL 27, 2013 8:08 AM April 27, 2013 8:08 am 199

A while back Noah Smith described one common strategy for arguing against Keynesian economics, and yours truly in particular: “Relentlessly pretend to be an ignorant simpleton.” Of course, as always, this strategy is most effective if you aren’t pretending, and really are an ignorant simpleton.

Which brings me to this rant by Ken Langone, in which he answers my arguments by saying,

Let’s stop all this crap with all of these high fallutin’ thoughts and ideas. You know what happens to people their eyes glaze over, I don’t know what the hell he’s saying.

This may, by the way, be the first time I’ve ever heard anyone say “high fallutin” outside of an old Western.

Anyway, this wounds my vanity. I like to imagine that I’m pretty good at making economic arguments as simple as possible, and stating them in plain English. True, I never get to the simplicity of “People are having to tighten their belts, so the government should tighten its belt too.” But that’s because the world isn’t that simple, and some lines sound good but are just wrong.

Now, I don’t know if Langone is really as dumb as he sounds; my guess is, probably not — the attempt to sound like a regular guy, while actually sounding like an actor in a 1950s B-movie, is a giveaway. Still, maybe this is an occasion to restate what is really going on in the economy, and why I advocate the things I do.

So, in order:

1. The economy isn’t like an individual family that earns a certain amount and spends some other amount, with no relationship between the two. My spending is your income and your spending is my income. If we both slash spending, both of our incomes fall.

2. We are now in a situation in which many people have cut spending, either because they chose to or because their creditors forced them to, while relatively few people are willing to spend more. The result is depressed incomes and a depressed economy, with millions of willing workers unable to find jobs.

3. Things aren’t always this way, but when they are, the government is not in competition with the private sector. Government purchases don’t use resources that would otherwise be producing private goods, they put unemployed resources to work. Government borrowing doesn’t crowd out private borrowing, it puts idle funds to work. As a result, now is a time when the government should be spending more, not less. If we ignore this insight and cut government spending instead, the economy will shrink and unemployment will rise. In fact, even private spending will shrink, because of falling incomes.

4. This view of our problems has made correct predictions over the past four years, while alternative views have gotten it all wrong. Budget deficits haven’t led to soaring interest rates (and the Fed’s “money-printing” hasn’t led to inflation); austerity policies have greatly deepened economic slumps almost everywhere they have been tried.

5. Yes, the government must pay its bills in the long run. But spending cuts and/or tax increases should wait until the economy is no longer depressed, and the private sector is willing to spend enough to produce full employment.

Is this impossibly complicated? I don’t think so. Now, I suppose that someone like Langone will just respond that it’s all gibberish he can’t understand. But unless he really is stupid, which as I said I doubt, that’s only because he doesn’t want to understand.


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