These men were politicians and one expects politicians to be divorced from reality when making empty promises to voters and if and when these initiatives fail -- as they must -- the politicians always can blame Goldstein, that ubiquitous saboteur. We expect nonsense and outright lies from politicians, and they always deliver.
However, it is quite another thing for an academic economist who is not self-identified as a Marxist to make the same claims, and especially an academic economist as decorated as Paul Krugman. In his column today, Krugman once again seems to make the claim that since voters have re-elected Barack Obama, that means that all of Obama's economic proposals must make sense, and that Obama can make it happen because he has the political will.
This was very much an election pitting the interests of the very rich against those of the middle class and the poor.He adds:
And the Obama campaign won largely by disregarding the warnings of squeamish “centrists” and embracing that reality, stressing the class-war aspect of the confrontation. This ensured not only that President Obama won by huge margins among lower-income voters, but that those voters turned out in large numbers, sealing his victory.
Consider, as a prime example, the push to raise the retirement age, the age of eligibility for Medicare, or both. This is only reasonable, we’re told — after all, life expectancy has risen, so shouldn’t we all retire later? In reality, however, it would be a hugely regressive policy change, imposing severe burdens on lower- and middle-income Americans while barely affecting the wealthy. Why? First of all, the increase in life expectancy is concentrated among the affluent; why should janitors have to retire later because lawyers are living longer? Second, both Social Security and Medicare are much more important, relative to income, to less-affluent Americans, so delaying their availability would be a far more severe hit to ordinary families than to the top 1 percent.The simple answer is that Krugman ignores the hard fact that the vast majority of people who receive Social Security benefits are the poor and middle class, and the government, including our "Lord and Savior" Barack Obama, is incapable of creating resources from nothing, which means that we only can pay SS recipients what is in the till. One cannot craft a policy for Social Security without taking reality seriously, but Krugman really seems to believe that rhetoric is reality and that mere words can trump the Law of Scarcity.
There is another point Krugman does not mention, and that is the hard fact that the only place in this country that has consistently grown economically has been the Washington, D.C., area, which lives off the lives of taxpayers elsewhere. If the transfer society that Krugman so worships (along with his "Lord and Savior" Obama), then Washington's newfound wealth should then translate into wealth for all.
That, however, is not the case. Furthermore, by all measures black Americans have fared much worse under the Obama regime than any other regime in modern history, yet Krugman is telling us that if Obama continues to have his way, only the wealthy will be worse off and the rest of us will be rolling in clover.
So far, that has not happened, and it is not going to happen under the current set of governing policies from Washington. As long as we have politicians who believe entrepreneurs (that is, entrepreneurs that actually earn real-live profits) are parasites, that political entrepreneurs who enrich themselves with taxpayer subsidies are the real wealth generators, and that we can have economic recovery through transfer payments, and as long as we have voters and academic economists that actually believe this nonsense, we are going to see the downgrading of the American economy.
Of course, as the Obama administration continues to destroy the underpinnings of wealth creation, Krugman will blame the inevitable results on Goldstein. It has worked before, and it will work again. That is the new economic and political reality in the United States of America.