Here’s the full text with my comments:
So I read this:
Boehner said Americans want government to practice the same financial restraint they have been forced to exercise: “It’s time for government to tighten their belts and show the American people that we ‘get’ it.”
and I wonder if this country can handle the crisis we’re in. Remember, John Boehner is, in effect, the second-most influential member of the GOP (after Rush Limbaugh). And while Democrats hold a majority, it’s not enough of a majority to make the minority party irrelevant.
Suggesting that it’s ideal that there not be another party. Socrates is not one of Krugmans influences.
So the fact that Boehner’s idea of economics is completely insane matters.
Coming from another school of thought renders one insane? Even religion allows that other viewpoints are “misguided”, or “distorted”. To a reasonable person having a rational but opposing belief ought not to render one insane.
What’s insane about Boehner’s remark? He’s talking about the current economic crisis as if it were a harvest failure — as if we faced a shortage of goods, so that the more you consume the less is left for me. In reality — even most conservatives understand this, when they think about it — we’re in a world desperately short of demand. If you consume more, that’s GOOD for me, because it helps create jobs and raise incomes. It’s in my personal disinterest to have you tighten your belt — and that’s just as true if you’re “the government” as if you’re my neighbor.
This is the core of his economic difficulty. He sees that the problem as a lack of demand. Just as deflation is a reduction in demand and lower prices are a result, lack of demand is a result and not a cause. Demand has been temporarily reduced because people discovered that they didn’t have the money they thought they did. When you spend beyond your means and can’t pay your bills you have to do a few things. You have to reduce your spending to pay your debts and if that is not enough you may have to default on some of your debts. If you are responsible, you might be able to get your creditors to extend your period of payoff.
Plus, who is “the government”? It’s basically us, you know — the government spends money providing services to the public. Demanding that the government tighten its belt means demanding that we, the taxpayers, get less of those services. Why is this a good thing, even aside from the state of the economy?
No, the government is not “basically us” you know. They are only “us” in the sense that they take our money. The thug who robs your store and the next day cleans your windows has not done you a service. Also, as an economist, Krugman should see that increasing efficiencies is desirable. If you believe in government as K does, you think that it is capable of reducing waste. Spending restrictions under a liberal government should allow it to focus spending on the important “services”. Unless of course you don’t think that there is much government waste.
Again, this is what the leaders of a powerful, if minority, party think. Can this country be saved?
Not if K has his way.