A.J. DiCintio
Krugman and the boiled frog
By A.J. DiCintio
July 18, 2009

Paul Krugman is all in a worried sweat that America is "on its way to becoming a boiled frog" — that is, the mythical boiled frog that he correctly identifies as a "useful metaphor for a very real problem [which is] the difficulty of responding to disasters that creep up on you a bit at a time."

Alas, this particular metaphor may have caused one or two impulsive folks on Main Street to shout a robust "hooray!" that Professor Krugman has come to his senses and joined the great majority of Americans on the right and in the center who have believed, since the sixties, that a number of social, political, and economic disasters have insidiously been creeping up on the nation.

The rest of us, however, held off on issuing that exclamation of joy; for we have learned all too well there is often a devil (or a whole mess of devils) lurking in the details — in this case, details regarding Krugman's take on the nation's economic policy.

And devils there are; for we learn that to avoid betraying "The Revolution," the far-left Nobel Prize winning economist, Princeton professor, and NY Times columnist isn't above employing the propaganda technique called card stacking.

To make the point, let's being with Krugman's characterization of "the Obama stimulus plan" as a "fairly strong policy response" to the economic crisis.

Yes, it certainly is correct to use the term "Obama stimulus" because the buck stops with the man who signed the bill into law.

But after that bit of honesty, the propaganda begins as Krugman never mentions that Obama's "plan" consisted of turning the writing of the bill over to Congress, where Pelosi, Reid, and other self-important, self-serving politicians who were determined never to "waste a good crisis" hastily dumped a Democratic Wish List of rotten pork into the congressional meat grinder to produce an abomination that has as much chance (zero) of creating "3.5 million jobs" as it has of producing a multiplier effect of "1.5" times the 787 billion dollars it borrows, spends, and wastes.

The professor is just as duplicitous when he praises the bill as a "fairly strong response" to the economic crisis because even in the face of its current failure, he offers not a word about the following facts:

. . . A huge amount of the "stimulus" money goes to states to pay for Medicaid, unemployment insurance costs, and other transfer payments that create not a single new job.

. . . The bill's enormous price tag, when added to the trillions Obama proposes to borrow to "perfect this nation," will cost jobs as economic growth is suppressed in a debt-encumbered United States.

We come now to the Big Disaster currently disturbing Sweden's favorite economist:

Paul Krugman worries that like the frog that is oblivious to the danger surrounding it, neither the Obama administration nor Congress "is showing any inclination . . . to get another round of fiscal stimulus under way very soon" to avert an apparent jobless recovery.

"Another round of fiscal stimulus" from Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al.? Talk about being faithful to the dogmas of the Liberal Church!

And faithful Krugman is to a fault, actually, to a gigantic fault, explaining why he has nothing to say about the work of Robert Barro, the Harvard professor who has studied the effects of government outlays during the thirties and the years of WWII, the "mother" of all periods that have seen great increases in public spending and borrowing.

After Barro explains why "the war-based multiplier of 0.8 substantially overstates the multiplier that applies to peacetime government purchases," he goes on to say this about his research:

In any event, when I attempted to estimate directly the multiplier associated with peacetime government purchases, I got a number insignificantly different from zero. ("Government Spending Is No Free Lunch," WSJ, January 22, 2009.)

"A number insignificantly different from zero" — How profound that statement becomes when we consider that in addition to its message of "no multiplier effect" from Obama's corrupt, embarrassingly ineffective "stimulus" bill, it reminds us that the nation will long bear its burden of debt service and higher taxes.

Paul "More Is Better" Krugman, however, blithely pushes inconvenient facts aside as he argues for additional "fiscal stimulus." But whatever economic damage occurs as a result of the policies he advocates, he'll still have his job at Princeton and his soapbox at the NY Times.

(If Bankruptcy rudely yanks the box from under his feet, he'll surely be provided with another by MSNBC, PBS, NPR, Time, or Newsweek — unless they have awakened to discover Bankruptcy summarily yanking everything from their offices and production centers.)

Ironically, then, it is the Democrats who may end up as the boiled frog after the public has had its chance to react to an economic program based upon the slogan, "Prosperity through astounding borrowing, astonishing spending, stupendous tax increases, shocking utility bill explosions, and massive government intervention!"

Now, while that's a disaster for Barack, Nancy, Harry, and every other liberal, it's a boon for the rest of the nation.

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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