An Elite Obsession
Paul Krugman - NYTimes:
during the Hofstra debate, in which questions were posed by members of the public rather than the Beltway elite, there wasn’t a single question about the deficit. Not one. The public really doesn’t care.
And you know what? Neither do financial markets, which continue to lend to the U.S. government at incredibly low rates.
Meanwhile, the results from austerity are in — and it’s now clear that the adverse economic impacts of austerity in a depressed economy are much worse than the elite imagined (although Keynesian economists knew better), and are in fact so severe that austerity is largely self-defeating, having little impact on the budget deficit even in the short run because reduced revenue takes away much of the initial savings. Once you take long-run effects into account, austerity is almost surely self-defeating.
Yet deficit fever, with demands for spending cuts right away, has dominated policy discussion for almost three years, with all the Very Serious People believing that by pounding on this issue they were demonstrating their Very Seriousness.
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