Krugman opposed the stimulus because it wasn’t big enough and he disagreed with the administration’s position that they could always do another one, if need be.
He was, we now know, right on both counts.
This is your semi regular reminder that our years long focus on the deficit in the face of very high unemployment and tepid growth is both terrible and stupid, having resulted in needless suffering by many.
I’m just going to pass along this Kevin Drum post in its entirety:
This is just a quick arithmetic reminder. If the sequester goes into effect, here’s how we’ve done on deficit reduction over the past few years:
2010 continuing resolutions: $450 billion
FY2011 budget: $200 billion
Budget Control Act: $960 billion
Fiscal cliff deal: $840 billion
Sequester: $1.2 trillion
Total: $3.6 trillion
The original Simpson-Bowles plan, which is Washington’s holy grail, called for $4.1 trillion in deficit reduction. All calculations include debt service savings, so this is an apples-to-apples comparison.
If you want to move the goalposts, feel free. But facts are facts: by this time next week we will have achieved very nearly the total amount of deficit reduction that everyone was gaga about a mere two years ago—more than 80 percent of it from spending cuts. It’s truly unfortunate that we’ve been so fixated on this, since we would have been much better off investing for the future and leaving deficit reduction for later, but that’s water under the bridge. Love it or hate it, over the past 27 months we’ve accomplished nearly 90 percent of the deficit reduction everyone wanted.
So we’re all happy about this, right? Right?
Seriously. Just stop.
[Obama] is also open to a bill that would avert the sequester for as little as two months.
Just cancel the goddamn thing. Or just implement it. Or do anything other than this. Constant, monthly fiscal fights and unceasing budget uncertainty prevent anyone from doing anything.
Oh, that’s the point, isn’t it?
These are not the words of a president serious about cutting the debt. Cutting “waste” in government isn’t going to get you anywhere near what you need. And the president needs to get serious about the burgeoning long-term costs of Medicare. That requires real honesty about real future sacrifice – not blandishments about how we might be able to bend the cost curve slightly.
Can we, please, get something other than typical deficit-scold group think? Andrew seems to think that all we need is more seriousness and more sacrifice and then we’re golden. He decries the President’s desire to raise additional revenue as not serious because it won’t raise enough. Well, OK, I agree it won’t raise a whole hell of a lot. But previously Sullivan complained that the President wanted too much (relative) revenue!
I would ask how much, specifically, is thecorrect amount?
More importantly, I would ask how much deficit reduction, specifically, is the correct amount?
We’ve already done $2.4 Trillion. But I guess that’s just not enough serious sacrifice for the deficit scolds. They won’t be happy until, well, they will never quite say. Is stabilizing the debt to GDP ratio sufficient? We can do that with another $1.2 Trillion. Obama’s “not serious” revenue ask gets us half way there.
Alas, we will now continue our charade of THE DEFICIT WILL KILL US ALL MORE AUSTERITY NOW I’M VERY SERIOUS AUSTERITY NOW! followed by AUSTERITY WILL KILL US ALL! (remember the fiscal cliff?) and then back again.
If you’re having trouble making sense of the Very Serious beltway opinion on fiscal matters, its because it doesn’t make a goddamn bit of sense.
If you want to go small, Mr President, and leave the real debt cutting to your successor, that’s your prerogative. But it is not the change we believed in. Or voted for.
Well, actually that’s exactly what we voted for. Obama made no secret of his desire to squeeze revenue out of the rich via sunsetting the Bush tax cuts for only high earners and via closing Mitt Romney’s favorite loopholes. In fact, it was the entire premise of his campaign. Voters overwhelmingly rejected Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s (conflicting) versions of austerity for Obama’s “balanced” and minimally austere (by comparison) approach.
I don’t ever recall Barack Obama running on a platform of “serious” austerity. Sullivan has been lamenting Obama’s failure to “embrace Bowles-Simpson” for two years, a lamentation that made as little sense then as now. On spending, Obama actually has (very nearly) embraced BS (in terms of net amounts, if not line items). On revenues, he never intended to. He’s made that abundantly clear for almost two years.
This is your semi-regular reminder that we continue to ignore an actual, immediate problem in order to Get Very Serious about a hypothetical, future problem.
That is all.
You know what would be awesome?
But we won’t do that, because austerity.
No one was using those bridges anyway, except the 16,284 people who travel across them on an average week day. I’m sure we can fit thousands more cars on the highway during peak commute time, so it’ll be OK.
Less sarcastically, King of Prussia is the biggest suburban employment center in the Philly metro area, and the only way to get there via train is the Norristown line, which will be the first to lose its bridge this summer. Traffic on the only major route into KoP from the city is notoriously bad, so the plan to bus passengers around the failed bridge will be subject to unpredictable delay. Unpredictability will effectively eliminate the rail line as an option for folks commuting to work, so this really is a big deal.