A month into the Obama administration, who could it be that left-wing firebrand economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is denouncing? Is it the dividers? Is is the extremists? Is it the old way of politics?
Krugman is furious because he thinks the “stimulus” bill is too small and contains too many “centrist” measures like tax cuts and provisions to help home owners. He thinks the bill needs to spend much more money, and do it all in direct government spending and programs for “the afflicted”. (Personally, I’ve considered Krugman to be afflicted for many years, but I’m assuming that he doesn’t share my view and is thus not being self-interested.)
Ross points out that in a sense the “moderated” stimulus bill which our treasured moderates like Sen. Arlan Spector have negotiated for in the Senate achieves the worst of all possible worlds: According to hard core Keynsian progressives like Krugman the stimulus bill will not achieve the ends that they wanted it for. And for those of us who don’t think the stimulus bill will achieve anything positive by spending a whole bunch of money that we don’t have on projects that mostly won’t even take place until after the year is over, I can’t really convince myself that wasting 800 billion we don’t have is really that much better than wasting a trillion we don’t have.
I don’t think we should pass this stimulus bill. (And I’m increasingly thinking I was wrong to support the financial bailout back in September/October.) And given that, taking 20% off it hardly makes it much better. Plus now those who demanded it won’t even have to accept responsibility for it if it fails, since they can always say, “We were sabotaged. It wasn’t big enough.”
Sometimes moderation is overrated.