09 March 2011

No Bias Here


Look: until 1980 or so the United States generally paid its way; the ratio of debt to GDP generally fell over time. Then starve-the-beast came to power, and fiscal realism went away. That’s the story; anyone who glosses over that, who makes it a plague-on-both-houses issue or, worse, makes it seem as if Obama is the villain, is in an essential way misleading his readers.
Bear in mind, too, that the signature initiatives of Republican presidents — the Reagan tax cut, the Bush tax cut, the Medicare drug benefit — have all been unfunded deficit-raisers; the signature initiatives of Democratic presidents — the Clinton tax hike, Obamacare — have all been deficit-reducing. (Yes, the stimulus — but that was intended to be temporary, and has in fact proved too temporary; and Bush I’s tax increase was an exception, but the GOP has made it clear that nothing like that will ever happen again.)

I agree with Krugman that placing all the blame for the current mess on Obama (or even Democrats in general) is misleading and wrong.  I also agree with his assessment that tax cuts have helped to increase the deficit.  (Note: Reagan didn’t actually reduce taxes in the aggregate, he raised them; Bush cut them, which led to a reduction in revenue, once inflation is adjusted for.)

However, it is simply asinine for him to claim that Obamacare I deficit reducing.  It’s technically true, in the sense that the federal government doesn’t appear to track liabilities, and also in the sense that Obamacare is all revenue, no expense for the time being.  And with the deficit growing to record highs under Obama, it takes a large amount of self-imposed delusion to ignore how the deficit has reached record levels under the Obama administration.

As such, the only thing that can be concluded from this display of intellectual homerism is that Krugman is nothing more than a Democrat shill.  And that’s why I stopped reading him years ago.

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