Follow by Email

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Paul Krugman, "Bombs, Bridges and Jobs": Barney Frank Knows Best

Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank knows a thing or two about how to create jobs, but apparently he's an ineffective manager. In 1985, Frank attempted to make an honest man of Steve Gobie, a male prostitute, and hired him with personal funds as an aide, housekeeper and driver. However, when Frank learned that Gobie was also running a bisexual prostitution service out of the congressman's apartment, their relationship ended (see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/frenzy/frank.htm).

Given Frank's expertise at job creation, Nobelist Paul Krugman quotes Frank in the opening paragraph of his New York Times op-ed entitled "Bombs, Bridges and Jobs" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/31/opinion/bombs-bridges-and-jobs.html?_r=1&hp):

"A few years back Representative Barney Frank coined an apt phrase for many of his colleagues: weaponized Keynesians, defined as those who believe 'that the government does not create jobs when it funds the building of bridges or important research or retrains workers, but when it builds airplanes that are never going to be used in combat, that is of course economic salvation.'"

Basically, Krugman would have us know that you can't have your cake and eat it, too. In other words, if you oppose federal spending for "the building of bridges or important research," you should not be demanding wasteful federal funding for superfluous defense projects.

Needless to say, Krugman ignores the middle ground.

If I decide to throw myself a birthday party, I will of course need to buy a cake. But the cake can be only be cut up into so many pieces for the guests, even if some will want bigger or smaller pieces. So I will have to limit the number of guests. Also, although I might dream of throwing the party at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall and hiring the New York Philharmonic for entertainment, ultimately, when the music's over, I will be responsible for my expenses.

So, too, the federal budget can only be cut into so many pieces, be they civilian or military projects, and when drawing up this budget, we need to be certain that somewhere down the road these costs can be covered.

Frankly, Paul, my concerns don't relate to "keeping regulation and taxes on the wealthy at bay." Rather, for me it's all a matter of accountability, something that Barney and many of his friends on both sides of the aisle have yet to assimilate.

Draw up a budget any way you like, but tell me how you're going to pay for it, today, tomorrow or ten years down the line.

1 comment:

  1. Paul Krugman, who is very intelligent, sometimes gets a little lazy in his arguments and argues against an extremest straw man rather than those advocating a middle ground between unrestrained government growth and anarchy.

    ReplyDelete