02 Aug 2011

What is Best in Life?

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Paul Krugman is bummed.

Conan the Barbarian opined that it was “to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”

Republicans have not really crushed the democrats, and we may not exactly be seeing them driven before us, but they are certainly currently in retreat and disarray, and we do get to listen to the lamentations of their Krugman.

A deal to raise the federal debt ceiling is in the works. If it goes through, many commentators will declare that disaster was avoided. But they will be wrong.

For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status. …

[T]he reported terms of the deal… amount to an abject surrender on the part of the president. First, there will be big spending cuts, with no increase in revenue. Then a panel will make recommendations for further deficit reduction — and if these recommendations aren’t accepted, there will be more spending cuts.

Make no mistake about it, what we’re witnessing here is a catastrophe on multiple levels.

It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn’t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.

In the long run, however, Democrats won’t be the only losers. What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question.


One Feedback on "What is Best in Life?"


The last sentence is what he is really upset about. Krugman has spent his adult life with a “system of government” built on the faulty premise that a group of Wise Men (for which he would surely self-nominate) can allocate scarce resources more effectively than millions of people making independent decisions.


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