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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Paul Krugman, "Ideology and Investment": Building an Unsustainable Debt for the Future?

"The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents - #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back -- $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That's irresponsible. It's unpatriotic."

- Barack Obama, July 3, 2008

Do you remember Obama telling us that taking the national debt up to $9 trillion was "irresponsible" and "unpatriotic"? Well, today it is $17.9 trillion and rising by the second.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Ideology and Investment," Paul Krugman rehashes all of his arguments for renewed federal spending. Krugman writes:

"America used to be a country that built for the future.

. . . .

Our inability to invest doesn’t reflect something wrong with 'Washington'; it reflects the destructive ideology that has taken over the Republican Party.

. . . .

We need public investment; at a time of very low interest rates, we could easily afford it. But build we won’t."

Darned Republicans! (That noise you just heard? Sorry, that was me, yawning.)

Krugman takes pains not to tell us what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had to say about federal debt in July 2014:

"The gap between federal spending and revenues would widen after 2015 under the assumptions of the extended baseline, CBO projects. By 2039, the deficit would equal 6½ percent of GDP, larger than in any year between 1947 and 2008, and federal debt held by the public would reach 106 percent of GDP, more than in any year except 1946—even without factoring in the economic effects of growing debt.

. . . .

Beyond the next 25 years, the pressures caused by rising budget deficits and debt would become even greater unless laws governing taxes and spending were changed. With deficits as big as the ones that CBO projects, federal debt would be growing faster than GDP, a path that would ultimately be unsustainable."

Or in short, America is indeed building for the the future: An unsustainable debt, which, in another 25 years, will sink the ship. Currently, "the federal government can borrow incredibly cheaply"? Absolutely. But you're not supposed to borrow what you can never pay back.

Fortunately for Krugman, in another 25 years he will probably be too old to remember writing this rubbish.


  1. America gets exactly what it deserves. Isn't that the way the universe works---unless we intervene?

  2. If Krugman always told the truth, he would have instead written:
    "America used to be a country that built for the future.
    . . . . Our inability to invest..."

    [has been lost due to lawfare against ANY project that requires a real job for someone who knows the difference between caulk and mortar]

    sorry - having flashbacks to the weeks when I tried to explain what mortar was to a New York lawyer, whose sole question was to see my engineering license.

    He did not believe that the Romans invented mortar!

    Speaking of the Romans, kudos to their marine concrete used in the 2,000 year old piers of Caesarea.