Krugman: Deficit scolds "literally have no idea what they're talking about"

The New York Times columnist on why you should ignore prophesiers of fiscal doom

Published October 25, 2013 10:55AM (EDT)

Paul Krugman                                                                                                                                                                     (Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)
Paul Krugman (Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)

Paul Krugman's latest column for the New York Times tackles a familiar subject for the award-winning economist and best-selling author: The foolishness of those who labor under the misconception that the United States is on the brink of fiscal catastrophe. Comparing such figures to a "kook" who wanders the streets while yelling "The end is nigh," Krugman notes that the deficit hysterics seem impervious to any evidence that might contradict their firmly held beliefs. What's more, they can't even explain how their imagined catastrophe would come into being.

Noting the continued endurance of low levels of inflation and low interest rates, which should contradict the expectations of anyone buying into the looming fiscal catastrophe narrative, Krugman ridicules his opponents for having been so wrong for so long, seemingly without ever giving their beliefs a second thought. "It’s actually awesome, in a way, to realize how long cries of looming disaster have filled our airwaves and op-ed pages," Krugman writes. He then goes on to cite an Alan Greenspan op-ed in this vein, one that was written nearly three and a half years ago, but that for all intents and purposes could have been published just yesterday.

"So the next time you see some serious-looking man in a suit declaring that we’re teetering on the precipice of fiscal doom, don’t be afraid," Krugman concludes. "He and his friends have been wrong about everything so far, and they literally have no idea what they’re talking about."


By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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