Monday, May 13, 2013

Blog on Hiatus

[Update]: Things are much better and there is some real healing going on in this family, and for that I can be grateful to God. It still will be a while before I can resume the blog, as there is much repair work to be done and my family needs my complete attention.

Due to a serious family situation, I have decided to put this blog on hiatus for the time being. That is all I can say at the present time, but we do need your prayers.

Bob Murphy has been doing battle with Krugmanism for a while, so make sure you visit his blog.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chutzpah Economics

It is nice to see that Paul Krugman learned his Yiddish as a young man, although I'm afraid that he is accusing the wrong people of having chutzpah. You see, when an economist claims that the cause of economic malaise is the lack of "enough" inflation, it seems to me that we are seeing chutzpah on steroids.

His latest column declares:
At this point the economic case for austerity — for slashing government spending even in the face of a weak economy — has collapsed. Claims that spending cuts would actually boost employment by promoting confidence have fallen apart. Claims that there is some kind of red line of debt that countries dare not cross have turned out to rest on fuzzy and to some extent just plain erroneous math. Predictions of fiscal crisis keep not coming true; predictions of disaster from harsh austerity policies have proved all too accurate.
I'm not sure what Krugman means by claiming that the world is in "austerity" when national governments across the globe have accelerated spending and especially borrowing. But then, I have to remember that according to Krugman, the difference between this recovery and other recoveries that actually were "recoveries," is the lack of spending by state governments. State governments cannot print money, and there are borrowing restrictions (state and municipal governments cannot pay back bonds by issuing other bonds -- it's called fraud). Thus, when the economy is weak, state revenues are relatively lower than they are in good times.

As anyone can see, such a situation is the result of an economic downturn, not its cause, yet Krugman insists on turning cause-and-effect upon its head, at least when it suits his point of view. Governments as a whole create little economic wealth, and instead are huge consumers of wealth. Yet, as I read Krugman, he seems to believe that the very act of spending is, in fact, a form of production. In his view, when governments borrow huge amounts of money for consumption purposes, and when governments impose taxes upon private economic production, such things are the epitome of government responsibility.

True, Krugman writes that during "good" times, governments should pay down debt, but he never explains how it is that we will sustain such "good" times for any length of time. Krugman's hostility toward private enterprise is evident (unless the private firm is being subsidized by the government and engaged in outright crony capitalism). I cannot understand how he believes that private enterprise activity could keep an economy going for more than five minutes, given the Keynesian viewpoint that private enterprise creates underconsumption.

I do need to add the following point: Krugman is right in saying that the Republican conservatives are hypocrites in the worst kind of way. The Reagan and Bush (both) administrations were profligate, and none of them were "austerians" in any meaningful way. This did not keep Progressives from claiming that they were running "austere" governments. I remember the howling from the New York Times and CBS News (especially Bill Moyers and Dan Rather) about Ronald Reagan's supposedly austere budgets, even though welfare spending grew in real terms while Reagan was president.

And who can forget the "three million homeless" hoax during the Reagan years. We were told that the spending cuts were so severe that millions of people were on the streets, out of work and living in shelters or worse. My favorite line on this came during one of the Dukakis-Bush debates when Dukakis declared, "There are three million homeless people in America, and a third of them are Vietnam veterans."

I quickly checked some sources and found that about 4.25 million people served in that war, so Dukakis wanted us to believe that nearly a quarter of Vietnam vets were on the streets. And the reason given was that the Reagan administration allegedly was spending less on public housing, as though there suddenly were three million fewer public housing units in the country.

No one is making those claims today, but the idea that the Obama administration is an "austerity" government is a howler. Furthermore, the proclivity of politicians is to spend, and Krugman wants us to believe that politicians all over the world are closely watching the "90-percent threshold" set by that space alien himself, Ken Rogoff, and then spending less.

Although Krugman's words may seem to be hyperbole, there is true method in what he is saying. No matter how much money the government borrows, prints, and spends in search of a fiscal policy that Krugman will accept, it never will be enough spending. Why? Because this spending is not going to bring about a real economic recovery, and according to Krugman's logic, the economy in a "liquidity trap" will recover only if government spends enough. The Debt Fairy will be successful only if the fairy can be given enough steroids.

On the monetary end, the economy can recover only if the Inflation Fairy is summoned and given enough money (magic) dust to break the "liquidity trap" logjam. And when will inflation be high enough? When Krugman says it is.

If this looks like heads-I-win-tails-you-lose logic, then move to the head of the line. If Krugman is claiming that it takes chutzpah to claim that governments cannot spend a country into prosperity, then he truly has redefined the meaning of that word.

You see, by invoking his third fairy, the Spending Fairy, Krugman is the one showing chutzpah. Why? He is the one who truly believes that we can totally uncouple government spending from any constraints that an economy lays upon it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Yes, Krugman, Empower the Inflation Fairy

Lest anyone think that Paul Krugman is an economist, his latest column bemoaning the lack of hardcore inflation presents every reason as to why he is a crank, although a famous crank. Yes, the Inflation Fairy has the answer: sprinkle magic dust and watch it turn into money, lots of money. We'll all be rich!

Let us read Krugman in his own words: this point, inflation — at barely above 1 percent by the Fed’s favored measure — is dangerously low.

Why is low inflation a problem? One answer is that it discourages borrowing and spending and encourages sitting on cash. Since our biggest economic problem is an overall lack of demand, falling inflation makes that problem worse.

Low inflation also makes it harder to pay down debt, worsening the private-sector debt troubles that are a main reason overall demand is too low.
But it gets better:
So why is inflation falling? The answer is the economy’s persistent weakness, which keeps workers from bargaining for higher wages and forces many businesses to cut prices. And if you think about it for a minute, you realize that this is a vicious circle, in which a weak economy leads to too-low inflation, which perpetuates the economy’s weakness.

And this brings us to a broader point: the utter folly of not acting to boost the economy, now.
One can surmise that Krugman really believes that if Ben Bernanke were to unload his proverbial helicopter and shower Americans with lots of money to the tune of, say, a million dollars apiece, then the economy would have plenty of demand and everyone would be rich. It would be so easy. Granted, the Inflation Fairy would have a beard and her wings would look like helicopter rotors, but she still could turn magic dust into money.

There is another reason I say Krugman is no economist, and the following statement demonstrates my point:
From the beginning, it was or at least should have been obvious that the financial crisis had plunged us into a “liquidity trap,” a situation in which many people figure that they might just as well sit on cash. America spent most of the 1930s in a liquidity trap; Japan has been in one since the mid-1990s. And we’re in one now.

Economists who had studied such traps — a group that included Ben Bernanke and, well, me — knew that some of the usual rules of economics are in abeyance as long as the trap lasts. Budget deficits, for example, don’t drive up interest rates; printing money isn’t inflationary; slashing government spending has really destructive effects on incomes and employment.
Perhaps the most important "rules" of economics to be "suspended" by a "liquidity trap" is the Law of Opportunity Cost and the Law of Scarcity, or so Krugman would have us believe. Interestingly, he wants us to believe that by the simple act of printing lots of money, government essentially is creating real wealth, as in Krugman's view, governments self-generate wealth.

For all of the Keynesians out there who believe that the real problem is "idle resources" that can be "stimulated" by government doling out lots and lots of new cash, one must remember that after the new money has been farmed out to the economy, people will act, whether they pay down debts or use it to spend on consumption goods.

However, what they want us to believe is that after the Inflation Fairy unloads her magic dust and people have gone on a spending spree, somehow the economy then will magically arise and move forward. All that was needed was some "pump priming"!

But why should that be the case. Why should the act of dumping a lot of new money on people give long-term revival to the economy? How is it that a bunch of new money the first time around would awaken the owners of those "idle resources" but not be needed for round two and beyond? Krugman writes of the economy "gaining traction," but he never explains what it means.

This last point is important, for Krugman and his followers want us to believe that after a massive round of distributing new money (and the new money always goes to those most in need), the prosperity that follows will move into ever-widening circles and spreads employment to the unemployed. In other words, Krugman wants us to believe at least a little bit more inflation will bring hope:
I wrote recently about how, by allowing long-term unemployment to persist, we’re creating a permanent class of unemployed Americans. The problem of too-low inflation is very different in detail, but similar in its implications: here, too, by letting short-run economic problems fester we’re setting ourselves up for a long-run, perhaps permanent, pattern of economic failure.
It has been a long time since an economist was publicly willing to claim that inflation would bring prosperity, give that a lot of us still remember the huge inflation that occurred around 1980, and it was not a wonder drug. (Krugman would argue that we were not in a liquidity trap, so the laws of economics were different.)

But here is the problem: over time, a new bounce in the economy becomes dependent upon yet another round of inflation. At first, inflation seems to be a miracle cure, as no doubt a bunch of new money in the hands of at least some people will make them better off relative to others. They will spend or maybe pay off some debts and be able to purchase things at prices that reflect the time before the surge of new money. (It takes a while for the money to work its way through the economy and finally push up prices, although the process of increasing prices will be uneven.)

But then what? Because it was the inflation that produced the temporary surge in activity, the only way to replicate the economic bounce is to inject another round of new money. This time, the "good" effects are not quite as good and the "bad" effects become a little more pronounced. One can understand what happens as this process is repeated time and again.

When the 1960s began, even though the economy was in a recession, nonetheless times overall were pretty good and inflation was low. As the government began to grow massively during the next decade and the American military venture into Vietnam metastasized, the government, through the Fed, turned to more and more inflation. By 1965, all silver coins were gone (although the government insisted that the new "sandwich" coins were just as valuable as the old silver ones), and by 1971, there was a monetary crisis.

The theme of Krugman's column is that inflation itself can bring prosperity to an economy languishing in a "liquidity trap." I have no doubt that a massive injection of money into the hands of people like me would have a stimulative effect -- at first. As I noted before, this would not be real prosperity, but rather a trap. Unfortunately, Krugman really does believe that inflation -- the debasing of the marginal unit of money -- is the key to a new prosperity.

And it all comes out in three words: not enough inflation. It is better spoken in two words: Inflation Fairy. Or maybe it is better spoken in one word: insanity.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Murphy on Rogoff and Krugman

Bob Murphy always has interesting points on his blog, and he has a couple of posts that make for good reading and thinking.

In this one, he takes a hard look at the whole kerfuffle regarding Rogoff's nonexistent endorsement of "austerity," and in this one, he exposes Keynesian Logic (an oxymoron if ever there was one) for the fraud that it is.

I would like to add that Krugman really wants us to believe that Europe has been imposing an "unprecedented" policy of "austerity," although from what I can tell, Krugman defines "austerity" as not massively increasing government spending.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Fairy Tale of Our Time

Paul Krugman is nothing if not consistent. Once again, we are told that Kenneth Rogoff is the main reason that our economy is not roaring along like boom times, and that massive consumer spending is what fuels an economy, and that by employing the Debt Fairy and the Inflation Fairy, or, more specifically, putting them on steroids, we can lick this thing and have yet another boom.

Writes Krugman:
Families earn what they can, and spend as much as they think prudent; spending and earning opportunities are two different things. In the economy as a whole, however, income and spending are interdependent: my spending is your income, and your spending is my income. If both of us slash spending at the same time, both of our incomes will fall too.

And that’s what happened after the financial crisis of 2008. Many people suddenly cut spending, either because they chose to or because their creditors forced them to; meanwhile, not many people were able or willing to spend more. The result was a plunge in incomes that also caused a plunge in employment, creating the depression that persists to this day.

Why did spending plunge? Mainly because of a burst housing bubble and an overhang of private-sector debt — but if you ask me, people talk too much about what went wrong during the boom years and not enough about what we should be doing now. For no matter how lurid the excesses of the past, there’s no good reason that we should pay for them with year after year of mass unemployment.
Thus, the Twin Fairies should make their grand entrance:
So what could we do to reduce unemployment? The answer is, this is a time for above-normal government spending, to sustain the economy until the private sector is willing to spend again. The crucial point is that under current conditions, the government is not, repeat not, in competition with the private sector. Government spending doesn’t divert resources away from private uses; it puts unemployed resources to work. Government borrowing doesn’t crowd out private investment; it mobilizes funds that would otherwise go unused.

Now, just to be clear, this is not a case for more government spending and larger budget deficits under all circumstances — and the claim that people like me always want bigger deficits is just false. For the economy isn’t always like this — in fact, situations like the one we’re in are fairly rare. By all means let’s try to reduce deficits and bring down government indebtedness once normal conditions return and the economy is no longer depressed. But right now we’re still dealing with the aftermath of a once-in-three-generations financial crisis. This is no time for austerity.
(I can envision the debate in the halls of government around the world in which politicians declare their utter fealty to Ken Rogoff and tremble in fear at the prospect of violating his "90 percent" Rule. Yes, politicians that invariably benefit from spending schemes meant to gain votes are going to tremble in fear lest they disturb The Rogoff.)

Understand that Krugman defines "austerity" as anything short of a massive increase in government spending, with debt and inflation leading the charge, since the economy is not producing enough in order to pay for this spending with taxes. Whatever increases in spending that have come from the Obama administration, they are not enough, not nearly enough.

In Krugman's view, money coming from the sources of borrowing and creating new money is a near-perfect substitute for real wealth, as money borrowed at low interest rates essentially is "free" money and more spending will bring about more capital investment, although Krugman has made it clear elsewhere that capital investment is pretty much irrelevant in the scheme of things, except for the spending that comes with that investment.

Krugman also seems to believe that money borrowed essentially for consumption purposes really is no different than money borrowed for private capital investment. (J.M. Keynes in The General Theory surmised that changes in investment spending were what caused ups and downs of the business cycle, and those changes centered around the "animal spirits" of investors.) In the end, it is the spending and only the spending that matters.

Furthermore, as Krugman wrote last week, the real villains behind supposed austerity are the wealthy "one percent" who benefit from others being out of work. He continues today with that theme:
Is the story really that simple, and would it really be that easy to end the scourge of unemployment? Yes — but powerful people don’t want to believe it. Some of them have a visceral sense that suffering is good, that we must pay a price for past sins (even if the sinners then and the sufferers now are very different groups of people). Some of them see the crisis as an opportunity to dismantle the social safety net.
There really is no way to bridge the intellectual gap between Austrians and Keynesians. In the Keynesian view, the "social safety net," massive subsidies for "green energy," and other instances of government spending are the economic equals of private investment. Perhaps Obama said it best when he announced he was delaying action on the Keystone Pipeline and declared that an increase in unemployment benefits actually would be economically superior to investment in an oil pipeline, since new benefits (which would be financed by new borrowing) would fuel immediate consumer spending, as opposed to the spending that would accompany creation of Keystone.

(This is not an endorsement of the pipeline itself. Instead, I am demonstrating how Keynesians and fellow travelers like Obama see an entire economy in terms of nothing but current spending.)

In contrast to the Keynesian position, Bill McNabb of the Vanguard Group writes that what Robert Higgs has called "regime uncertainty" is behind the dearth of private capital investment:
Companies and small businesses are also dealing with the same paradox. Many are in good shape and have money to spend. So why aren't they pumping more capital back into the economy, creating jobs and fueling the country's economic engine?

Quite simply, if firms can't see a clear road to economic recovery ahead, they're not going to hire and they're not going to spend. It's what economists call a "deadweight loss"—loss caused by inefficiency.

Today, there is uncertainty about regulatory policy, uncertainty about monetary policy, uncertainty about foreign policy and, most significantly, uncertainty about U.S. fiscal policy and the national debt. Until a sensible plan is created to address the debt, America will not fulfill its economic potential.
Yes, Krugman derides such thinking as the "Confidence Fairy," but Krugman and the Keynesians want us to believe that as long as government borrows and spends, business investors are going to ignore the heated anti-enterprise rhetoric from the administration, and are not going to be affected at all by hostile regulators from the EPA and Department of Labor, and the new burdens of ObamaCare, not to mention all of the new taxes that Obama is demanding as part of any budget deal. Keynesians can speak all they want about businesses simply waiting for people to spend, but if they believe that the president wants to impose new policies that will negate any future profits, they are not going to invest at all.

As I see it, the biggest fairy tale of all is that government can bring back prosperity by borrowing, printing and spending and substituting Crony Capitalism for the real thing. There is a reason this economy wallows in depression, and empowering the Twin Fairies and a president who believes private enterprise is evil will magically turn around our fortunes. It is more likely that a poor maid can spin straw into gold.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Krugman's 1 Percent Fallacy

I know all readers are shocked, SHOCKED that Paul Krugman still is going off on the Reinhart-Rogoff paper, but today he ups the ante. Anyone who believes that setting off yet another unsustainable boom is not good policy actually is a people-hating moralist who sides with the Evil 1 Percent.

In other words, folks, it's Goldstein (or maybe "Scoldstein") time again. Yes, everyone knows that the way to "fix" the economy is for the government to borrow vast sums of money for consumption goods, and the spending that comes with that and printing money will give the economy enough "traction" to move on itself -- at least until the next boom runs out of steam and government has to repeat the process.

Krugman goes on to explain that anyone who might question this economic "wisdom" does so out of malevolence and (maybe) some ignorance or a false belief in some sort of economic "morality," writing:
...austerity maintained and even strengthened its grip on elite opinion. Why?

Part of the answer surely lies in the widespread desire to see economics as a morality play, to make it a tale of excess and its consequences. We lived beyond our means, the story goes, and now we’re paying the inevitable price. Economists can explain ad nauseam that this is wrong, that the reason we have mass unemployment isn’t that we spent too much in the past but that we’re spending too little now, and that this problem can and should be solved. No matter; many people have a visceral sense that we sinned and must seek redemption through suffering — and neither economic argument nor the observation that the people now suffering aren’t at all the same people who sinned during the bubble years makes much of a dent.
However, we find that this brand of economic fundamentalism really is nothing more than a dastardly plot hatched by the Evil 1 Percent (or maybe just the Evil One himself, namely Scoldstein):
What, after all, do people want from economic policy? The answer, it turns out, is that it depends on which people you ask — a point documented in a recent research paper by the political scientists Benjamin Page, Larry Bartels and Jason Seawright. The paper compares the policy preferences of ordinary Americans with those of the very wealthy, and the results are eye-opening.

Thus, the average American is somewhat worried about budget deficits, which is no surprise given the constant barrage of deficit scare stories in the news media, but the wealthy, by a large majority, regard deficits as the most important problem we face. And how should the budget deficit be brought down? The wealthy favor cutting federal spending on health care and Social Security — that is, “entitlements” — while the public at large actually wants to see spending on those programs rise.

You get the idea: The austerity agenda looks a lot like a simple expression of upper-class preferences, wrapped in a facade of academic rigor. What the top 1 percent wants becomes what economic science says we must do.
Could Krugman be engaging in...conspiracy theories? Read on:
Does a continuing depression actually serve the interests of the wealthy? That’s doubtful, since a booming economy is generally good for almost everyone. What is true, however, is that the years since we turned to austerity have been dismal for workers but not at all bad for the wealthy, who have benefited from surging profits and stock prices even as long-term unemployment festers. The 1 percent may not actually want a weak economy, but they’re doing well enough to indulge their prejudices.

And this makes one wonder how much difference the intellectual collapse of the austerian position will actually make. To the extent that we have policy of the 1 percent, by the 1 percent, for the 1 percent, won’t we just see new justifications for the same old policies?

This is a most interesting position he is taking. There are two sets of policies in which government policy directly enriches that "1 percent." The first involves the massive bank and financial bailouts that have been at the heart of the "austerity" policies imposed upon countries like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain, not to mention the continuing bailouts being pushed by the central banks of Europe, the USA, and Japan.

And guess what? Krugman supports the bailouts, even though he believes that they should be financed, at least in Europe, via booms, the very kind of booms that collapsed and created the financial crises in the first place. To put it mildly, Krugman demands another round of "hair of the dog" economics.

The second enrichment-of-the-wealthy policy is crony capitalism, but when David Stockman speaks out against this get-rich-by-being-politically-connected set of schemes, Krugman lambasts him for being a "scold." So, it seems that The Great One wants it both ways: cry crocodile tears about how government policies hurt the poor, and then endorse economic schemes that...hurt the poor.

What about the so-called morality play of which Krugman speaks? He is saying that Austrians believe that somehow booms are "sinful," and that if Wall Street and the rest of the economy get drunk, then it is time to hide the alcohol and everything else. No soup for you!!

Yet, what is it that Austrians have been saying? We hold that credit-fed booms, and especially the credit-fed booms that involve heavy borrowing for purchasing consumption goods, are going to run aground because they are not sustainable. The borrowing and investment patterns do not match consumer spending and saving preferences, which means that the boom runs out of steam on its own.

If the economy is to have a real recovery, then entrepreneurs must be able to find those assets that are potentially profitable and be able to move resources from lower-valued uses to higher-valued uses. But, the Krugman plan is to have government subsidize moving resources from higher-valued uses to lower-valued uses, and keep doing it until one day things magically turn around.

The housing boom crashed when it became apparent that most Americans could not afford the super-high prices created by the boom and when a wave of mortgage defaults hit the system, it went down. Krugman, apparently not appreciating the hard fact that a family making $50K a year probably cannot afford the payments on a house selling for $500K, says that trying to keep an asset bubble alive not only is economically feasible, but also the only moral policy that can be implemented.

Austrians are not calling for "austerity" for austerity's sake or because they want people to be thrown out of work, but rather because they believe the current sets of policies are not economically sustainable. The American economy cannot subsidize itself into prosperity via "green energy," nor can the economy continue to exist as a series of asset bubbles. Furthermore, while the Fed can mask the problems by purchasing financial instruments like mortgage securities in order to prop up their prices, it cannot repeal the Law of Demand or the Law of Scarcity.

And Austrians certainly are not "austerians" of the European variety. We simply are saying we don't believe in the Debt Fairy or the Inflation Fairy, and we don't need Scoldstein to convince us that we cannot rebuild an economy by having Ben Bernanke pull financial rabbits from his hat.

Krugman, on the other hand, fervently believes that even though debt piled up during the last boom, which finally ran aground, the way to create a stronger economy -- and somehow magically pay down some of the debt, at least in the future -- is for more of the same. So, who is practicing a religious fundamentalism?

Monday, April 22, 2013

All Hail the Debt Fairy! All Hail the Inflation Fairy!

In September 2008, if it had not been obvious before, it had become abundantly clear since that the borrow-and-spend party has been over for nearly five years, yet Paul Krugman is becoming even more shrill about the need to a large dose of the fiscal equivalent of "hair of the dog." Yet, governments, including that of the USA, have been attempting to appeal to the Debt Fairy and the Inflation Fairy to wave their magic wands and heal the economies with more of the same.

In his latest column, Paul Krugman combines a relatively true statement about the current state of economic affairs -- long-term joblessness is becoming chronic -- with a non-sequitur. First, he comments upon the desperate situation that has become normal for many people, and second, he then blames it on a paper published a few years ago by a couple of economists:
Well, the famous red line on debt, it turns out, was an artifact of dubious statistics, reinforced by bad arithmetic. And America isn’t and can’t be Greece, because countries that borrow in their own currencies operate under very different rules from those that rely on someone else’s money. After years of repeated warnings that fiscal crisis is just around the corner, the U.S. government can still borrow at incredibly low interest rates.

But while debt fears were and are misguided, there’s a real danger we’ve ignored: the corrosive effect, social and economic, of persistent high unemployment. And even as the case for debt hysteria is collapsing, our worst fears about the damage from long-term unemployment are being confirmed.
Understand what Krugman is saying. As long as the USA can print money and borrow from the Federal Reserve, then Americans don't have to worry about how much debt the government piles up and how much money the Fed prints. The Debt Fairy and the Inflation Fairy will sprinkle magic dust and do what no fairy before has been able to do: conjure up a real economic recovery by encouraging the very kind of economic behavior that put this country into the mess in the first place.

Lest anyone think I exaggerate, Krugman himself qualifies the points I have made:
And let’s be clear: this is a policy decision. The main reason our economic recovery has been so weak is that, spooked by fear-mongering over debt, we’ve been doing exactly what basic macroeconomics says you shouldn’t do — cutting government spending in the face of a depressed economy.

It’s hard to overstate how self-destructive this policy is. Indeed, the shadow of long-term unemployment means that austerity policies are counterproductive even in purely fiscal terms. Workers, after all, are taxpayers too; if our debt obsession exiles millions of Americans from productive employment, it will cut into future revenues and raise future deficits.

Our exaggerated fear of debt is, in short, creating a slow-motion catastrophe. It’s ruining many lives, and at the same time making us poorer and weaker in every way. And the longer we persist in this folly, the greater the damage will be.
First things first. U.S. debt today stands at roughly 105 percent of current GDP, and only about 40 percent of current spending is financed via taxation. This is not "austerity" by any definition of the word, and one can bet that the next time the debt ceiling issue comes to the fore, Congress and the president -- after yet another dog-and-pony show complete with the Usual Suspects giving their usual talking points -- will come to an agreement. This number will grow, although it won't grow fast enough for Krugman.

Furthermore, Krugman fails to point out that the Obama administration has been relentless in trying to drive the U.S. economy in a direction in which vast amounts of resources are being used to push economic frauds like "green energy" and even another housing boom. In other words, it is more of the same. The government places huge burdens upon entrepreneurs who wish to operate in a relatively free market and drives resources into destructive "Crony Capitalism," as though policies that enrich contributors to Obama and the Political Classes will translate into general prosperity.

Keynesians are fond of claiming that as long as we have "idle resources," this is a wise policy, as at some point, if the Debt Fairy and Inflation Fairy sprinkle enough magic dust, all of these "idle resources" will awaken like Snow White after the kiss from the prince and come to life again. This is an amazing claim, for it is saying that when the economy is depressed, the Law of Scarcity can be ignored.

Yes, Keynesians believe that if only government spends enough and borrows enough, that we can emerge from this morass, and that the only thing standing in the way of progress is the presence of Goldstein -- I now dub him "Scoldstein" -- telling us we need to put something in our piggy banks. We can spend our way into another boom, and when that boom collapses -- as it surely will -- we just invoke the incantations of the Twin Fairies and begin another ride into the sunrise.