Saturday, June 19, 2010

NNT Interview & Krugman to the Contrary

A pithy interview with NNT here. He really likes the UK's new PM, David Cameroon, whom impressed me on a TED talk that he gave. This interview gives a sense of NNT's irreverence and insight. And in case anyone is interested, more drum beating on deficit reduction. I think that we may want to think about debt reduction as St. Augustine prayed about chastity: "Oh, Lord, make me chaste, but not yet." (This may be a loose translation, but we'll go with the popular version.)

But Paul Krugman to the rescue from Germany in today's NYT. Krugman uses the 1937 analogy, and he notes that stimulus seems the way to go because the economy far under capacity, with no sign of inflation. So why the belt-tightening now? NNT & NF & others like them have to answer the question. Of course overeating is bad, but if you've been undernourished for a while, you should eat more than you normally would. Contrary to NNT, is all debt bad? For those out of a job—as I was in 1974 under Gerald Ford's "Whip Inflation Now (WIN)" recession, you'd really like to have paycheck and you don't worry so much about the long-term balance of the federal budget. And, by the way, where were these deficit hawks from 2000-2010. Do they all think that Obama and the G-20 stimulus was unjustified? What's different now?

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