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Two “must reads” on the economy

Paul Krugman is one of the nation’s best and most coherent economists and today he authored both a column and a follow-up that show why. In arguing for ACTION NOW to address our ongoing economic crisis, he says the following:

“The answer, I’d suggest, lies in the way claims that our problems are deep and structural offer an excuse for not acting, for doing nothing to alleviate the plight of the unemployed.

Of course, structuralistas say they are not making excuses. They say that their real point is that we should focus not on quick fixes but on the long run — although it’s usually far from clear what, exactly, the long-run policy is supposed to be, other than the fact that it involves inflicting pain on workers and the poor.

Anyway, John Maynard Keynes had these peoples’ number more than 80 years ago. ‘But this long run,’ he wrote, ‘is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the sea is flat again.’

I would only add that inventing reasons not to do anything about current unemployment isn’t just cruel and wasteful, it’s bad long-run policy, too. For there is growing evidence that the corrosive effects of high unemployment will cast a shadow over the economy for many years to come.

One Comment

  1. Elise Mbock

    May 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I like your humor. Now what do you think of the long run of the easy path taken by Westside economies. One way of another, someone would have to pay for that. Unfortunately, the poor have always bore the burden. When Greek crushed down I was heartbroken with the pain of Greeks and at first place, I did agree with Professeur Krugman. But after looking at the Greek underground and parallel economy, tax leniency and evasion and loopholes, I’ve ended supporting Angela Merkel “austerity”. In case you missed it, here is an interesting comment : “Is Austerity to Blame for Europe’s Economic Woes? Q&A with Veronique de Rugy”. She explains things better than I could. In particular, she sustains that “Austerity” is not really going on in European countries, if so, it is a soft one so far. Link. http://reason.com/blog/2012/05/11/is-austerity-to-blame-for-europes-econom

    Soft and sometimes coming after too many delays (Italy and Spain), German Foreign Minister added yesterday at Amanpour (CNN).

    I’ve read somewhere, I don’t remember where, that Japan has already experienced the boundaries of the Keynesien stimulus : more debt and a flat economy.