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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Krugman Dons His Economist's Hat

Krugman played political strategist, attacking Bush with "The Angry People". He played climatologist, attacking Bush with "Elvis and You". He played SEC investigator, attacking Bush with his rehashing of the Harken Energy scandal. And now he would like to imagine that his credibility as an objective observer of the macroeconomic scene is intact, as he attacks Bush yet again. Oh, dear.

If I may summarize:

The economy is down, but not out. The Fed should cut rates. OK. And we need fiscal stimulus now, but fiscal restraint later. Since the Bush tax cut is back-ended, it is a terrible idea. Economic circumstances have changed, it is time for Bush's plan to change with them.

Well, what do we think? Back when the government was predicting surpluses, Krugman thought that this tax cut was a bad idea. Now that we are looking at deficits, he thinks it is a bad idea. The predictions of surplus and deficit don't seem to be particularly stable over time. Two things are stable: Bush supports this tax cut, and Krugman opposes it. And I suppose a third thing is stable: Krugman does not impress me as objective.

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