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View Diary: A Very Candid Krugman: "Economists Themselves Are Confused" (127 comments)

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  •  Help me out, dude... (9+ / 0-)

    I love the idea of writing about Paul Krugman's thinking, but I'm having trouble...

    He says economists are confused.  What is surprising about this?

    His trenchant analysis of freshwater (U Chicago) and saltwater (MIT) schools of economics was interesting & enlightening.

    Is he saying, again, that the Chicago economists are completely off-base?  If so, those of us following the discussion already knew that.

    If he is saying something different here, please enlighten us.  Thanks.

    •  He's quite critical of the freshwater school... (19+ / 0-) I indicate in the diary.

      IMHO, there are many in this community that--despite identifying as Democrats--also tacitly support Reaganomics.

      Hell, some (such as Bloomberg, just the other day) are even claiming this about the President (although I think that sentiment's at least a little "over the top"): "Obama Channels Reagan as Democrats Approach Election (Update1)."

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 11:21:45 PM PST

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      •  you bet. (10+ / 0-)

        They're looking into another Greenspan commission (which actually didn't work)

        TAPPER: Do you think the fact that you guys are pushing the bipartisan commission is indicative of the fact that our political system is not capable of taking on the serious challenges our nation faces?

        You and I know that the money, as Willie Sutton says, said, that -- why do you rob banks? Because that's where the money is. The money is in entitlement programs: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, things that you do not touch in this budget.

        The fact that you need a bipartisan commission to recommend cuts or tax increases, doesn't that indicate that our political system is incapable of making these tough decisions?

        GEITHNER: Jake, I am very confident in our ability as a country to bring people together and make sure we are solving these challenges and these problems. We've done it in the past, it is completely within our capacity to do as a country.

        But of course, it requires you bringing people together across the aisle to step back from politics, to try to bring practical solutions to things that are very important to our future as a country. And the president is committed to do that.

        We're going to give the Republican Party the chance to share in the responsibility and the burden and the privilege of trying to fix the things that were broken in this country.

        TAPPER: Republicans are afraid this is just a back door for tax increases. Are you willing to say that tax increases are off the table for this commission? Let's sit down and talk about the long-term structural problems with entitlement spending?

        GEITHNER: The president's view, and this is a view shared by many Republicans, and it builds on what we've seen with effective commissions in the past, like the Greenspan commission that President Reagan established to help restore the financial footing of Social Security, is that for this to work, you've got to bring people together to step back from politics, day-to-day politics, and to bring fresh ideas to solve these kind of problems.

        That's the only way to do it, we think. And we're committed to doing that. We've got to do it on a bipartisan basis, and we're deeply serious about doing this.

        •  The failure to tax is the reason for the deficit. (20+ / 0-)

          Now the huge tax shift from Income to SS taxes in the '80s and the associated robbery of the fund by deficit spending, results in reducing benefits previously paid forward. In effect, the wealthy are robbing us twice.

          Obama is a Neo-liberal Chicago School type. No question.

          •  Interesting about the timidity about taxation... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            2020adam, MichaelNY

            It's understandable when you remember the tax revolts at our nation's birth.  But you wonder how long a country that's so terrified of taxation could possibly have lasted (should I use the past tense yet?).

            "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

            by Villagejonesy on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:27:48 AM PST

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          •  i think that's inaccurate (0+ / 0-)

            it's more a lack of political courage to stand up in the face of tea-partiers for good government

          •  Correct (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            J M F

            The bipartisan commission will recommend stuff, and the legislature will have to approve or disapprove.  So, their hands will be tied.  

            The whole thing will be hyped as a crisis.  

            The recommendation will be to cut benefits.  

            Increasing taxes will not be recommended.  Taxing the rich will not be recommended.  

            Instead, the deficit and national debt will be paid by poor people whose ss benefits will be cut.  

            How is that trickle down stuff working out for ya?

            Whoever profits by fighting a dragon has an interest in the dragon's remaining alive. --Nietzsche

            by not2plato on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 07:53:57 AM PST

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            •  They may increase taxes but this will only (0+ / 0-)

              affect wage earners below the SS limits. Rob from the poor, give to the rich. In the process more jobs will move overseas because large employers will not want to pay the increase. It wouldn't surprise me that any tax proposed is borne strictly by the individual.

              Oh - and new "private" plans overseen by Wall Street and Insurers.

        •  Jake Tapper is even a bigger tool/fool (7+ / 0-)

          than I thought.

          I loathe the term entitlements because of the implication it carries, likening them to some sort of rip-off, welfare program.

          The truth is, yes, people are entitled to social security and medicare benefits because largely, they've paid for them over the span of their lifetimes.  

          What our nation cannot sustain is the level of greed and irresponsibility among the wealthiest of its citizens.  

          Look at the Federal Budget.  Social Security not only pays its own way, money from its trust fund has been transferred to support virtually all expenditures of the federal government as it's wracked up $10 trillion in debt. Medicare is more problematic, thanks in large part to the Medicare Part D program launched during the Bush administration with no consideration for costs or how to support them.

          Are we spending more than is necessary? Excepting Defense, I think not.  But I'm convinced we're taxing much less than is necessary.  Those $600+ billion dollars in defense spending aren't doing squat to help the typical American family.  We don't have thousands of nuclear weapons because they're necessary for the protection of the typical American family.

          We have this immense, military-industrial complex because it has permitted the U.S. to dominate, not just militarily, but also economically, enriching not the typical American family, but those at the top.

          If they want or think they need their expensive toys, let them pay for it.

          "You can't put a civil rights issue on the ballot and let the people decide. .... . If you left it up to the people, we'd have slavery......" ~ Jesse Ventura

          by rontun on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:29:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We are entitled, by virtue of our creation, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mnemosyne, semiot, not2plato

            to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  That means that those people responsible for our creation--i.e. the prior generation--have an obligation to provide and secure our sustenance.  Some people resent even the concept of obligation to the next generation and prefer to presume that sustenance has to be earned.  The short-hand for that is, "there is no free lunch."

            Converting "entitlements" into a derogatory term is just an effort to deny one generation's obligations to the next, regardless of whether there's an individual "contribution"--i.e. reproductive "success"--involved.

            Interestingly enough, several African cultures "solved" this problem of promoting provision for a future population whose contributions are unknown and uncertain, by postulating that the next generation is actually the re-incarnation of the past and, ipso facto, entitled to collect on the debt owed by the current adult generation to the ancestors.  In other words, the village does for the children what the grandparents did for the village.  The only drawback with this system is that it promotes stagnation--people only do as much as was done for them, no more.

            How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

            by hannah on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 03:40:02 AM PST

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      •  Obviously (0+ / 0-)

        Most D's feel pressured to agree with some fundamentals of the Chicago school, and Obama's economic appointees are all Chicago school people.  

        "Market based solutions" anyone?  That is the mantra of the Chicago school/republican mind frame -- and the essence of the POS hcr bills in the legislature

        Whoever profits by fighting a dragon has an interest in the dragon's remaining alive. --Nietzsche

        by not2plato on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 07:50:18 AM PST

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    •   @ enthusiast (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Have you read Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine"?  There is the stand-alone explanation of Milton Freidman's economic theory you ask about, and it's effect on the world.

      Highly recommended!  I wish all Kossacks would read it.

      Paradigm Shift. Think "Berlin Wall".

      by ohmyheck on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 06:42:24 AM PST

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