Saturday, May 26, 2012

But haven’t we already tried borrowing to stimulate?

Paul Krugman reacts to the following childish insult from The Telegraph:
To his followers, he’s a saint; to his detractors, he’s a false prophet with satanic intent.
The Telegraph does note that Paul’s policy advice is entirely consistent with the writing of British economist Lord Keynes. My title is where this op-ed starts in on its own view of why Keynesian economics might be wrong headed. But let me suggest that the author of this op-ed does not understand Keynesian economics. Keynes was not in favor of the type of long-term fiscal irresponsibility that we have witnessed say in the United States during the Administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Yes I know proponents of the 1981 and 2001 tax cuts could argue that we were not at full employment when these tax cuts were passed. However, the 1981 tax cut was not needed to get us back to full employment. Volcker’s monetary policy – for better or worse (worse in my view) – was the main driving factor for the U.S. economy. And we know George W. Bush pursued a host of fiscal policies that were more long-term in nature and all fiscally irresponsible. If the author of this Telegraph op-ed thinks Lord Keynes would have approved these episodes of fiscal stimulus – I submit he’s very ignorant of the brand of economics that Lord Keynes and economists like Paul Krugman strive to describe.


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