Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Friday, November 5, 2010

In which I Dare to Disagree with Paul Krugman

Usually my opinions line up with Paul Krugman's pretty much 4-square.

I can think of three areas of disagreement.

1) He says WW II ended the Great Depression. I say the output gap was filled before the Pearl Harbor invasion, and the Depression well and truely ended before we ever fired a shot.

2) He thinks expectations are important.  I find that disturbingly close to magical thinking. (OK - haven't yet read the wonkinsh little paper yet, so maybe I'll be convinced otherwise.)

3) He disagrees with Evan Bayh's assesment that Obama erred in promoting health care when he should have been focused on jobs:

Mr. Obama’s problem wasn’t lack of focus; it was lack of audacity. At the start of his administration he settled for an economic plan that was far too weak. He compounded this original sin both by pretending that everything was on track and by adopting the rhetoric of his enemies.

. . . 

I felt a sense of despair during Mr. Obama’s first State of the Union address, in which he declared that “families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same.” Not only was this bad economics — right now the government must spend, because the private sector can’t or won’t — it was almost a verbatim repeat of what John Boehner, the soon-to-be House speaker, said when attacking the original stimulus. If the president won’t speak up for his own economic philosophy, who will?

PK errs in his assesment of Obama.  What this illustrates, in bold red capital letters, is that President B. Hoover Obama is not and has never been any kind of true progressive.  He is bright, hard-working, and dedicated, to be sure.   And he does not lack either focus or a willingness to stand up for what he believes in.  What he lacks is the belief - a genuine belief in progressive principles and economics.  When the President talks of austerity he is being sincere.

At at time when we need a President like Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson, we get a president like Herbert Hoover, who went to his grave believing that in 1930, he genuinely had the country on the right economic course.

We are so seriously screwed.


Bukko Canukko said...

Here's a guy who lays out a case for high, more likely hyper, inflation.

Jazzbumpa said...

Bukko -

Welcome to my humble blog.

I've crossed paths with Lira before. Here, if you're interested, it's way at the bottom of the post.


Lira is either flat ass stupid or batshit insane. I have to run of and do family stuff now, bu I'll read his post later.

Maybe I'll have a pithy comment after.


Bukko Canukko said...

I'm not a Lira fan, but some of his arguments are intriguing.

I made a serious, non-snarky comment on his blog one time, disagreeing with his hyperinflationary collapse scenario. Because he's Chilean, and I was reading "Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein at the time, I asked what he thought of her take on Pinochet's Chicago-School shock capitalism in his homeland. He e-mailed back, something I didn't expect, because he's been getting a lot of attention due to his posts on ZeroHedge. He DEFENDS Pinochet! Concedes Augusto was a dictator who crushed people, but it was for the long-term good. Not only do I think he's wrong, but it's reprehensible "ends justifies..." thinking. But hey, it's his country, and his opinion.

Anyway, I occasionally read right-wingers if they make sense. 95% of 'em don't, but a few of Lira's economic arguments do.

I still think WASF. The only question is, which direction is the F'ing coming from? Most likely, it will be from several compass points at the same time. You and I are lucky -- even if our comfortable lives are cut short, we've lived the bulk of them in the best times available to the mass of humanity.

Jazzbumpa said...

He DEFENDS Pinochet!

That's rich. He hates Krugman with a passion , because he's a war monger, but defends a muderous dictator. Brilliant?

I read his post: a weird melange of fact, fiction, fantasy and right wing bull shit.

There are certain necessary conditions for hyper-inflation, and deflation isn't among them.