Paul Krugman — A Failure To Rise To The Challenge

Paul Krugman, who doesn’t believe the spending is big enough, on the politicians:

And I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach — a feeling that America just isn’t rising to the greatest economic challenge in 70 years. The best may not lack all conviction, but they seem alarmingly willing to settle for half-measures. And the worst are, as ever, full of passionate intensity, oblivious to the grotesque failure of their doctrine in practice.

So who are the best, and who are the worst? In Krugman world, the best are those advocating spending, and the worst are those vociferously opposed to it on ideological grounds.

But I’d disagree. The best* are those opposed to it, but tremendously lacking conviction because they were grotesque in trying wasteful spending while they were in power. The worst are those advocating spending, dreadfully unaware that the previous administration spent us into this mess.

As Krugman states:

In both the House and the Senate, the vast majority of Republicans rallied behind the idea that the appropriate response to the abject failure of the Bush administration’s tax cuts is more Bush-style tax cuts.

And the Democrats rally behind the idea that the appropriate response to the abject failure of the Bush administration’s easy credit and deficit spending is for the Obama administration to push more easy credit and bigger deficit spending.

Face it, folks. The easy-credit deficit-spending team, pleading for us to follow them into the abyss, are rather sure of themselves. The Republicans, in the knowledge that they got their tax cuts but proceeded to push for easy-credit deficit spending anyway, are getting the comeuppance that we libertarians predicted during the entire Bush administration.

The Democrats are blind to the fact that their plans have been tried and have failed for the last eight years. The Republicans may have suddenly returned to their stated ideology, but after eight years of waste and incompetence are not trusted.

Like Krugman, I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Because while his pains may be allayed by vast spending which he may get, my personal Pepto-Bismol — the contraction of government — isn’t on the menu.

Hat Tip: Ezra Klein

* I hesitate to suggest that the Republicans are the “best” in any sense over the Democrats… It’s like arguing whether haggis or tripe are the “best”. But when you’re hungry, and allergic to tripe, even haggis might be palatable.

  • Miko

    If you give me a choice between the “stimulus” and the Patriot Act, Iraq war, etc., I’m going to pick the former. The worst the Democrats could do is destroy the dollar and put our economy in a mess from which it will take hundreds of years to recover (after which they’ll deflect blame by hypothesizing about how much worse things would have been if they hadn’t acted). The Republicans, on the other hand, will quite possibly bring us total world annihilation.

  • Brad Warbiany


    Both the stimulus and PATRIOT ACT are horrible…

    But I ask you, what are the chances of total world annihilation when we tell the Chinese we’re not paying them back (at least not in dollars worth anything)?

  • fuckyoupeople

    what the shit do you lame-ass fucks care. all you’re really waiting for is a racist newsletter.

  • Akston

    Isn’t it interesting that the Patriot Act and the current stimulus package spending bill are both “emergencies” which require lightning quick passage and no examination? It seems like that’s become the standard dance in Washington.

    And why not? It’s a proven tactic. “Don’t look at this too closely! It’s an emergency! Just sign here! Hurry!!”

    Ironically, these pigs in a poke actually do contain the advertised pork.

  • Brad Warbiany

    fuckyoupeople (aka oilnwater),

    Please try to keep a constant pseudonym if you’re going to come around attacking us. I know you’re still hung up on Ron Paul, but everyone else has moved on.

  • fuckyoupeople

    Then set it to right, you traded a newsletter to bitching about Fascist outcome of America. All of this is parlour talk. You can agonize for eternity in the face of reality and in the end you are prostrate.

  • tarran


    You sir are a moron, a drooling simpleton. Do you honestly think that we embraced Obama over Ron Paul? If so, I pity you; it demonstrates that your intelligence is so low that you are only fit for politics or the welfare rolls.

    Ron Paul was unacceptable because he tried to garner support by inciting racist fears amongst the people he sought to govern. And no, it wasn’t in 1996, but as recently as 2007 when he sent out those flyers with a MS-13 gang-member pictured prominently while babbling some bullshit about Social Security benefits.

    The fact that Ron Paul surrounded himself with incompetent staffers and ran an ineffective campaign is not our fault. The fact that he resorted to race-baiting is not our fault.

    I encourage you to quit your temper tantrum and pound sand. You rarely add anything to discussions other than peevish, incoherent rants. You are wasting your time writing them, and our readers’ time reading them.

  • Quincy

    Back to the topic, I must say you’ve got to give the Democrats some credit. They might be dead wrong, but they’re completely consistent about it.

    Republicans are the frustrating bunch. They’ve got principles when they’re out of power, but they try to out-Dem the Democrats when they’re in power.

  • Steve

    When are the adults going to start running this country again? Adults who can say “no” to the voters and articulate why. Where are the adults that, like the fathers of our constitution, understand that government is a necessary evil that needs to be restrained to minimal activity or it becomes a self feeding entity. Where are the statesmen that are concerned about the national ideals that started this country and made it great? Why do, We The People, continue to elect politicians that are more concerned about rewarding campaign contributors, and business associates, and buying votes, and bringing pork home to there states and constituents than making good policy? When did, We The People, give up on our abilities as individuals? When and why have we accepted government assurances of a risk free life at a cost to freedom? Am I just an over confident retard that thinks he can overcome adversity on his own? The question is simple…do you want freedom or free-from, do you want a free America or $free$ Amarika? Personally, I accept the risks that come with a free society. I accept that there will be good times and bad. I believe in crisis we will help each other with out big brother.

    Look at all the instances where government gets involve…it creates an un-even playing field and rewards failure. In addition, it is a slap in the face to those who have worked hard and made better decisions. I am seriously considering not making my mortgage payment and maxing my credit cards so I will qualify for some bailout programs…that is the result of hanging a carrot on a horrible policy.

    I do not fear having to ask my family if I can move in with them, I do not fear taking a lower paying job. I do fear government making life risk free….there is always a cost to it.


  • Brad Warbiany


    There’s nothing for us to set right. If Ron Paul could campaign his way out of a paper bag, he might have had a shot. But frankly, the stage he was applying for was too big for him. In fact, he honestly seemed surprised that people actualy agreed with his policies — I don’t think he knew how to handle the response.

    So instead, we got the slick-talking guy with a good story but no experience, and far worse politics. If you lay the cause for that on our feet, I think you’re dramatically overstating our significance. Either way, nothing precludes us from arguing against the guy now that he’s elected, which is what we were expecting to do since he was nominated.

  • hahah

    LOL i just tuned back in and saw that tarran removed my rebuttal. way to go hero. somebody slices through your ego and you remove the comment, only to leave your slurring on the board. that’s awesome, bro. HAHAHAHA

  • hahah

    but you know, looking back it makes sense that you did that. i’ve seen past incidences where you couldnt stand to let people get the better of you. it’s really pretty funny now realizing that.

  • Brad Warbiany

    You want to keep your comments from being deleted? There’s one simple way to do that:

    Use a constant pseudonym.

    We’re not afraid of criticism here. We’ve left far more critical comments alone in the past. But when you bounce around from handle to handle, it’s clear that you’re playing games.

    You want to have a debate about our reaction to Ron Paul and to Obama? Fine. Do so under the name oilnwater.

    Changing your name every few comments makes it impossible for us to know who we’re arguing against. But when we know that you’re playing such games, it’s difficult to take you seriously. When you do that, it’s clear that you’re interested in drive-by sniping, and your comments will be treated as such.

  • Brad Warbiany

    BTW, tarran hasn’t deleted any of your posts. I saw one in our spam filter (probably due to you posting from multiple handles with the same IP), and killed it there. It may have been visible on the main post prior to that — I’m not sure.

  • tarran

    Not having seen the post in question, I can’t say this with certainty, but when I am clearing the Spam bucket, if I see a post with a name consisting of swearing at people, I move on to checking the next post.

    We write on this blog to incite debate and, in my case, to encourage people to change their thinking.

    Comments that consist of swearing at people or incoherent ad-hominem attacks detract from that, and I really have no interest in shelling out money in bandwith costs and storage costs to maintain them.

    Oilnwater, you are capable of interesting posts. I seem to remember you contributing interesting information on one of my posts relating to the oil industry. If positive contributions like that were the norm, rather than being a pleasantly surprising exception, I would welcome you. Moreover, I am always ready to have my mind changed by a superior argument. Believe it or not, I was once a Goldwater conservative. I became a Rothbardian anarchist thanks to people arguing with me on the Internet, and losing quite a few arguments on the subject of foreign policy.

    This is still a free country, sort of. You are welcome to put up a website and spout whatever angry gibberish you want to spout. If you want to comment on this website, then you follow our rules. Simply put, this means keeping a consistent handle, writing stuff that adds to the discourse, and not advertising marital aids.

    To date, only two people have been banned, and they had to work hard at it:
    1) Eric Dondero (who in effect accused us of being too supportive of Ron Paul)
    2) Some guy who started a long conversation with himself posting under multiple handles to make it seem like his brand of crazy was in wide demand.

    Don’t become the third. Recapture the moments last summer when you were writing stuff that was triggering debate rather than repulsion and eye-rolling. If you do, then we will welcome your dissention.