In his column today, Paul Krugman takes his cue from the Democratic National Committee and writes yet another one of his partisan screeds on the Republicans' federal budget proposals, calling it "ludicrous and cruel." Actually, he is right, but I think for reasons other than what he might admit.
First, he demonstrates that he really is little more than a political operative because he aims much of his vitriol against Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee Chairman. In fact, as he often does, Krugman spends as much time with personal attacks on an individual as he does with the ideas that the individual is espousing. To me, that is ironclad proof that the focus of his column is that of a partisan political operative, NOT an economist.
Second, he then goes into yet another tizzy to claim that a 4.96 percent cut in tax rates somehow has triggered every other evil that one can imagine, and he really wants us to think that if only the "rich" could be taxed at 39.6 percent instead of 35 percent, that all would be well. Only a political operative would say that, because a real economist would understand that the scenario Krugman presents is nonsense.
Third, the idea that our economy can support massive welfare spending and subsidies at home and military adventures abroad is plain delusional. Now that the Obama administration has decided to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor and continue the fiction of Empire Forever, Krugman no longer raises the objections to military adventures and its requisite spending as he did when George W. Bush was president.
Instead, he promotes the delusion that because Ben Bernanke is keeping interest rates artificially low, the USA can continue to borrow and spend into perpetuity. (No, we will borrow and spend into oblivion.)
We are seeing a period of outright political delusion that dwarfs even the delusion that accompanied Lyndon Johnson's pursuit of the "Great Society" AND the war in Vietnam. Both then and now, the politicians have imagined that they can pretend the U.S. economy can continue to carry the heaviest burdens of government in the history of the world.
So, we have reached yet another episode of the dog-and-pony show known as the government shutdown. It is all political theater, while the rest of us will learn the very hard lesson that just because economists like Paul Krugman and his friends claim that this government can spend us into prosperity does not make it so.
No doubt, when inflation begins to really catch fire -- and there is no avoiding it now -- Krugman will call for price controls and claim everything as its cause but the truth: out-of-control borrowing and spending creates disasters, not prosperity.