Krugman: Beware “bipartisan” entitlement cuts

In a biting column, the economist warns that "plutocrat-friendly" policies are being pushed as deficit reduction

Topics: Paul Krugman, Fiscal cliff, Pete Peterson,

Krugman: Beware "bipartisan" entitlement cutsPaul Krugman (Credit: AP/Heribert Proepper)

In a column reminiscent of his work urging President Obama to push for a larger stimulus package four years ago, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman today warned that Republicans are trying to sneak in “plutocrat-friendly” policies as a Trojan horse during the debate over the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts, entitlement reform and the “fiscal cliff.”

Savings on entitlements, Krugman writes, hit lower- and middle-income Americans harder. Raising the retirement age or the age for Medicare eligibility, he writes, “would be a hugely regressive policy change,” because “the increase in life expectancy is concentrated among the affluent; why should janitors have to retire later because lawyers are living longer?”

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And on the question of limiting deductions while leaving the Bush rates in effect, he writes:

There is, in fact, no way limits on deductions can raise as much revenue from the wealthy as you can get simply by letting the relevant parts of the Bush-era tax cuts expire. So any proposal to avoid a rate increase is, whatever its proponents may say, a proposal that we let the 1 percent off the hook and shift the burden, one way or another, to the middle class or the poor.

Bipartisanship, he charged, is a fig leaf. “You need to look very closely at any proposals coming from the usual suspects, even — or rather especially — if the proposal is being represented as a bipartisan, common-sense solution.”

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