Like most Keynesians, Paul Krugman has no idea of how societies prosper. In his view, governments borrow, print, and then spend money and out of that comes, like magic, a prosperous economy. If times are hard, then spend even more and, like the Great Pumpkin, prosperity will rise out of the pumpkin patch.
Take his view of what should be done in Europe, for example, and especially for Greece and Spain. As he has written on numerous occasions, instead of facing the fact that the economies of those two nations cannot produce enough wealth in order to support their bloated unionized government workforces and sustain their ridiculous work rules for private employers. Greece and Spain are in trouble not because they are on the euro, but rather because they used the financial and monetary arrangements of the European Union in a way that was not sustainable.
Now, I agree that most "austerity" packages are wrongheaded because the state swallows much of the GDP of the affected nation and then directs that money to the banks (or, as some libertarians call them, "banksters") that foolishly lent money to those nations for things that ultimately went bust, or to pay for simple operating expenses of the various governments. However, there is another aspect of economics and economies that Krugman not only refuses to admit, but belittles it at every turn: societies that consume much also produce much, and that production is the source of their consumption.
To Paul Krugman, such a notion -- that an economy actually has to produce a standard of living -- is a "zombie idea." Every good Keynesian knows that consumption actually creates production, that one consumes first and then produces later. And, no, Keynesian "demand" is NOT the same kind of demand which entrepreneurs anticipate as they try to move resources from lower-valued to higher-valued uses. Keynesian "demand" is nothing more than new money or wealth transfers being directed to politically-connected people who ostensibly will "spend" that money, and out of which is supposed to come general prosperity. Anything to the contrary is nothing more than "Say's Law," which everyone knows has been discredited. (I mean, people really believe that we can have consumption without production? Get real!)
And so, he demands that Congress, the president, and governments at state and local levels ratchet up their spending, and if the economy is not producing enough wealth to pay the taxes necessary to support this blizzard of spending, no worry. Why? The government can manipulate the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to permit the Fed to purchase U.S. treasuries in the primary market, so if need be, there would be no barriers at all to vast new amounts of spending and if the shower of new money creates an inflationary environment, all the better! Inflation, as Krugman has written, is a great tool for "deleveraging," which in his view would transfer wealth from rich to the poor.
(For those who insist that Krugman is not an apostle of inflation, note that he strongly endorses the views of Mark Thoma, who is a hardcore inflationist. Like so many other Keynesians, Thoma believes that all it takes is for government to inject new money, which will solve problems painlessly and put the economy back on track. The only problem, people like Thoma and Krugman claim, is that governments are too reluctant to aggressively debase their currencies. The "Inflation Fairy" is hard at work.)
So, yes, do you believe that government wealth transfers are a cost and not a boon to the economy? Do you believe that over time, a nation cannot consume more than it produces? Then you, too, are a "zombie." Wear that moniker proudly.