Krugman: More inflation and higher taxes will end the depression
In recent months, Paul Krugman has become an out-and-out cheerleader for inflation, claiming that throwing out more dollars somehow will revive the economy because people will quickly spend their depreciating money and such actions will enable more goods to sell. If a problem develops with that strategy — and with inflation, the bad effects come later — well, we can solve that with price controls and activist government.
Today, he repeats his claim that the REAL problem is that we don’t have enough inflation because the Evil Republican Party doesn’t want it. In fact, he argues, most Republicans want a gold standard. This time, he cites some allies, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, who say that the Republicans today are “dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
I must admit that while I see the Republicans historically as being destructive, nonetheless this is a real howler, given the fact that Democrats never could accept their losses in the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan as legitimate, and the opposition to Reagan’s presidency was savage. You see, Krugman and other Democrats really believe that the one-party state that existed in this country during the 1960s and 1970s (and in many ways, Nixon’s policies mirrored those of Democrats) was the only legitimate state of affairs. For example, Krugman writes:
If something like the financial crisis of 2008 had occurred in, say, 1971 — the year Richard Nixon declared that “I am now a Keynesian in economic policy” — Washington would probably have responded fairly effectively. There would have been a broad bipartisan consensus in favor of strong action, and there would also have been wide agreement about what kind of action was needed.
Krugman’s memory might be a bit spotty, but I remember that what we had was a dollar crisis because the game of paying for the Vietnam War and the vast expansion of government during the Lyndon Johnson years by essentially printing more dollars had blown up. The response was…print more dollars, but slap down price controls to make the ensuing inflation not look so bad.
In other words, the “broad bipartisan consensus” never existed in large part because of Democratic hatred for Nixon and the belief that no Republican ever should be in the White House post-FDR. But even if there had been that “consensus,” the policy response to the crisis would have been a disaster.
Krugman, you see, claims that we can solve this whole crisis by printing more dollars and raising tax rates on wealthy people. He writes:
For the past century, political polarization has closely tracked income inequality, and there’s every reason to believe that the relationship is causal. Specifically, money buys power, and the increasing wealth of a tiny minority has effectively bought the allegiance of one of our two major political parties, in the process destroying any prospect for cooperation.And the takeover of half our political spectrum by the 0.01 percent is, I’d argue, also responsible for the degradation of our economic discourse, which has made any sensible discussion of what we should be doing impossible.
Many pundits assert that the U.S. economy has big structural problems that will prevent any quick recovery. All the evidence, however, points to a simple lack of demand, which could and should be cured very quickly through a combination of fiscal and monetary stimulus.(Emphasis mine)No, the real structural problem is in our political system, which has been warped and paralyzed by the power of a small, wealthy minority. And the key to economic recovery lies in finding a way to get past that minority’s malign influence.
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William L. Anderson is an author and an associate professor of economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland. He is also an adjunct scholar with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy as well as for the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Alabama.
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