Tag Archives: Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman slams Wall Street for “undermining our economy and our society”

Paul Krugman slams Wall Street for "undermining our economy and our society"

Paul Krugman (Credit: AP/Lai Seng Sin)

I know this is the second consecutive Salon article, but economist, Paul Krugman has something to say and I wanted to share it…

Salon

The New York Times columnist argues that America’s large financial sector has done more harm than good

In his latest column for the New York Times, best-selling author and award-winning economist Paul Krugman argues that the financial sector of the American economy is not only outsized but that it’s hurting the economy and making Americans’ lives worse.

Citing journalist Michael Lewis’ new book on high-frequency trading — which opens with a story about an expensive tunnel being drilled for fiber-optic cable to cut down the communication time between Chicago’s futures markets and the stock market in NYC by three milliseconds — Krugman argues that American public policy has become overly influenced by high finance, with inequality and economic instability as a result. “[American] society,” Krugman writes, “is devoting an ever-growing share of its resources to financial wheeling and dealing, while getting little or nothing in return.”

After claiming that the large financial sector in the U.S. doesn’t increase overall prosperity and doesn’t promote economic stability, Krugman writes that its primary function seems to be to prey off of less powerful economic actors. “[Wall Street's] playing small investors for suckers,” Krugman says, “causing them to waste huge sums in a vain effort to beat the market.” The result, Krugman posits, is a select few Wall Street players making a lot of private profits while contributing little to the overall public.

Krugman continues:



In short, we’re giving huge sums to the financial industry while receiving little or nothing — maybe less than nothing — in return. [NYU Professor Thomas] Philippon puts the waste at 2 percent of G.D.P. Yet even that figure, I’d argue, understates the true cost of our bloated financial industry. For there is a clear correlation between the rise of modern finance and America’s return to Gilded Age levels of inequality.

So never mind the debate about exactly how much damage high-frequency trading does. It’s the whole financial industry, not just that piece, that’s undermining our economy and our society.

 

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Filed under Economic Inequality, Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman bashes Paul Ryan for yet another “con job”

Paul Krugman bashes Paul Ryan for yet another

Paul Krugman, Paul Ryan (Credit: Reuters/Bob Strong/AP/Mary Altaffer/photo composite by Salon)

Salon

It’s been a while since the New York Times’ premiere liberal columnist, Paul Krugman, had reason to flay one of his favorite targets, chief GOP wonk and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. But with the GOP suddenly talking about how much it wants to help America’s poor — a development Krugman calls “fake compassion” — the award-winning economist and best-selling author once again has a reason to take Ryan to the woodshed.

In his latest column for the Times, Krugman writes that while Ryan’s new attack on liberalism —a lengthy report, supposedly on the efficacy of government-funded anti-poverty measures — is less of a sham than efforts from years past, the Wisconsin congressman has still ultimately produced “a con job.”

Krugman applauds Ryan for “citing a lot of actual social science research” but insists that the GOPer has falsely represented the conclusions of most of the research he cites. “In some cases,” Krugman writes, “Mr. Ryan and colleagues outright misstate what the research says, “drawing outraged protests from a number of prominent scholars about the misrepresentation of their work.”

But where Ryan’s report really goes wrong, Krugman argues, is in its ideological assumptions — chiefly, it’s unexamined belief that anti-poverty measures make the poor lazy and drains them of their ambition. “Mr. Ryan would have us believe that the ‘hammock’ created by the social safety net is the reason so many Americans remain trapped in poverty,” Krugman writes. “But the evidence says nothing of the kind.”

More from Krugman at the New York Times:



After all, if generous aid to the poor perpetuates poverty, the United States — which treats its poor far more harshly than other rich countries, and induces them to work much longer hours — should lead the West in social mobility, in the fraction of those born poor who work their way up the scale. In fact, it’s just the opposite: America has less social mobility than most other advanced countries.

And there’s no puzzle why: it’s hard for young people to get ahead when they suffer from poor nutrition, inadequate medical care, and lack of access to good education. The antipoverty programs that we have actually do a lot to help people rise. For example, Americans who received early access to food stamps were healthier and more productive in later life than those who didn’t. But we don’t do enough along these lines. The reason so many Americans remain trapped in poverty isn’t that the government helps them too much; it’s that it helps them too little.

Which brings us back to the hypocrisy issue. It is, in a way, nice to see the likes of Mr. Ryan at least talking about the need to help the poor. But somehow their notion of aiding the poor involves slashing benefits while cutting taxes on the rich. Funny how that works.

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Paul Krugman: GOP’s Obamacare lies hurt American families

Paul Krugman: GOP's Obamacare lies hurt American families

(Credit: AP Photo/ Francisco Seco)

As comprehensive and satisfying a take-down of the modern GOP as you will read…(Salon)

Salon

Award-winning economist and best-selling author Paul Krugman’s latest column for the New York Times is an unapologetic attack on the Republican Party for, in Krugman’s words, “trying to deceive voters” and, in the process, “deceiving themselves.”

What’s got Krugman riled up this time is the GOP’s official response to President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address, in which Washington congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers argued Obamacare “is not working” and, as proof, cited the experience of one of her constituents, Bette Grenier, who claimed to have seen her monthly premiums increase by a whopping $700.

Before explaining the problems with Grenier’s story, Krugman makes quick work of McMorris Rodgers’ assertion that Obamacare is not working. He notes that sign-ups, while slightly behind projections due to the disastrous rollout of Healthcare.gov, are nevertheless happening at a rapid speed, and that most insurance companies are thus far not concerned that the applicant pool is too old and sick (which could lead to higher premiums for everyone else).

“[T]he law,” Krugman declares, “is doing its job.”

Moving on to Bette Grenier, Krugman, like Salon’s Brian Beutler, points out that Gernier’s story almost immediately fell apart once it was examined by members of Washington state’s media.

The biggest problem with her tale was the fact that Grenier, if she wanted to, could have found a much cheaper alternative than the $700-hike plan, but she refused, saying, “I wouldn’t go on that Obama website.”

Moreover, Krugman notes that Grenier’s prior insurance was pretty bad — it was barebones, had “a $10,000 deductible” and “[offered] very little financial protection.”

But instead of blaming Grenier, Krugman charges Republicans like McMorris Rodgers, who rely on “misleading stories at best, and often outright deceit” in order to portray Obamacare as an unmitigated disaster.

“Who pays the price for this deceit?” Krugman asks. “In many cases, American families. Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing.”

But they’re not the only ones. Krugman also engages in a little bit of concern trolling, warning the GOP that their confidence in Obamacare’s malfunctioning is leading them to a false sense of security about their chances in November’s elections. “[C]onservative politicians aren’t just deceiving their constituents,” Krugman writes, “they’re also deceiving themselves.”

“Right now, Republican political strategy seems to be to stall on every issue, and reap the rewards from Obamacare’s inevitable collapse,” he continues. “Well, Obamacare isn’t collapsing — it’s recovering pretty well from a terrible start. And by the time that reality sinks in on the right, health reform will be irreversible.”

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Filed under Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, Paul Krugman

How Republicans Fit The Classic Profile Of An Abuser

This is an interesting analysis of  the Republican party…

Addicting Info

A domestic violence survivor and crisis hotline counselor explains how today’s Republican party matches the classic profile of an abuser. The Republican party fits the classic personality profile of an abuser. Photo montage by Elisabeth Parker for Addicting Info.

As a former victim of domestic violence, in another lifetime, I learned a lot about the abusive personality. When it was over, and I was out, I became a domestic violence hotline counselor. The classes I took to train me for this job taught me two things: One, abusers aren’t psychotic, but instead have character disorders; and two, abusive behavior isn’t uncontrollable – it’s a learned social behavior.

Enter stage left, Republicans and what used to be their “fringe” faction, the tea baggers. The “fringe” faction, though, has of late become “non-fringe” enough to take over the House, lead John Boehner around by the nose, shut down the federal government and gleefully high-five each other as our country teeters on the edge of default – all, ostensibly, to wage war against Obamacare, a law that was passed by the House and Senate, signed by the President, upheld by the Supreme Court and that has withstood 42 Republican-driven repeal attempts.

Like abusers, Republicans always make things someone else’s fault.
The behavior of Republicans – most recently around their government shutdown, and as they dig in their heels and rationalize – by making it someone else’s fault – driving the country into default, it reminds me vividly of the abusive personality that I engaged with daily, for years, until my divorce. No compromise was ever allowed, it was his way or his other way. He never talked about the many ways in which he was wrong, it was “look what you made me do.” In his mind, the only one whose behavior needed changing was mine. Any abusive behavior of his was justified because, in his warped thinking, I provoked him. He used bullying, fear tactics, threats and intimidation to get his way. In the end, although never abusive to them directly, he used my kids as pawns in his abusive game. He refused to share responsibility in any part of our relationship breakdown. I owned it, lock, stock and barrel.

Like abusers, Republicans do not negotiate in good faith.
If you break it down, how different is the behavior of a classic abuser than the behavior we are now seeing within the Republican Party, most notably, and startlingly, the tea baggers, beginning with the mastermind of the Republican government shutdown, Ted Cruz, and moving on through the ranks of Mike Lee and Michele Bachmann and Paul Ryan and Louie Gohmert, and about 30 others? As a domestic violence survivor, I know that the President and Harry Reid are utterly correct to hold the line at negotiation. Abusers – such as the House tea baggers, along with John Boehner, their puppet – do not negotiate in good faith. Regardless of what “deals” they offer up today, they will renege when it comes time to uphold their end of the bargain. When Republicans say they want a short-term “deal” to re-open the government and avoid a default, I know what that means: Just as abusive personalities are generally incapable of rehabilitation, neither are Republicans. Rehabilitation implies that there is a point of normalcy in the past to which one can return. I have yet to see that point for Republicans; they’re beyond redemption. A year ago, Paul Krugman aptly pointed out that the debt ceiling debacle demonstrates that “raw extortion works and carries no political cost,” and that “irresponsible brinksmanship” is now “a proven effective negotiating tactic.” Mr. Krugman, meet your classic abuser.

Like abusers, Republicans must win at all costs.
An abusive personality really doesn’t care who is caught in the crossfire. His desire for control, his low self-esteem and irrational, desperate need to be the winner at any cost trumps any scrap of humanity. Despite the fact that Republicans raised the debt ceiling more than 25 times under Republican presidents (and five times, without batting an eye, under Bush), their classically abusive personalities have risen to the fore under this President. At any cost, regardless of any harm to others, they will win. So what if the U.S. defaults? According to some Republicans, for the President to allow a default would be an “impeachable offense;” on the other hand, if the President were to invoke the 14th Amendment and direct the Treasury to pay its bills regardless of the House’s inactivity, that, too, in the minds of Republicans, would no doubt rise to the level of an impeachable offense. As in all abusive relationships, it’s a Catch 22. Listening to the screaming rage of Republicans, it’s clear that no cost is too great to make President Obama look bad. If the measures Republicans implement increase the chance that this President’s success story will be on pause, they’ll make a pact with any devil. So what if their newly-discovered “fiscal conservatism” trashes a still fragile economy, tanking the markets, and driving unemployment numbers up? If that’s what’s required to be the victors in the game of chicken they’ve been playing with our lives, that’s what they’ll do. Their lack of humanity, and lack of a moral center, is truly breathtaking.

Like abusers, Republicans will invalidate you.
I remember, during the days when I was on the receiving end of such bullying tactics, how my heart would pound and adrenaline would flow, how my stomach would knot up. I’ve felt that way any number of times during these past terrible weeks as progressives have fought for a toehold in the battle of integrity against a foe who has none. My gut has kept score. A classic abusive personality generally uses sexually derogatory slurs against his victim, but in this case, Republicans continue to press the case that this President is not legitimate. Their use of coded and un-coded racial slurs against our President are not dissimilar to the derogatory terms like “slut” and “whore” that classic abusers use to refer to their women; it’s how they engage. And it is, sadly, how the Republicans have engaged politically ever since President Obama was elected, and continue to engage.

Continue reading here…

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Obamacare Is the Right’s Worst Nightmare – Paul Krugman

N.Y. Times’ columnist Paul Krugman nails it…

The New York Times

News from New York: it looks as if insurance premiums on the individual market are going to plunge thanks to Obamacare. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; in fact, the New York experience perfectly illustrates why Obamacare had to look the way it does. And it also illustrates why conservatives should be terrified about this legislation, as it takes effect. Americans may have had a lot of misgivings in advance, thanks to vast, deliberately spread misinformation. But I agree with Matt Yglesias — unless the GOP finds even more ways to sabotage the plan, this thing is going to work, it’s going to be extremely popular, and it’s going to wreak havoc with conservative ideology.

To understand what’s happening in New York, you have to start with what almost everyone at least pretends to believe: Americans shouldn’t find it impossible to get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions that aren’t their fault. Two decades ago, New York tried to deal with this by imposing community rating: insurance is available to everyone, and the price doesn’t depend on your medical history.

The problem was that this created a death spiral: young, healthy people didn’t buy insurance, worsening the risk pool, driving up premiums, driving out more relatively healthy people, etc., until you were left with a rump of very ill people paying very high rates.

How do you deal with this? Well, ideally, Medicare for all. But since that wasn’t going to happen, you improve the risk pool by requiring everyone to buy insurance — the individual mandate. And since some people won’t be able to afford that, you also offer subsidies. Voila! ObamaRomneycare!

Read more here

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‘No Pizza For You!’: Drudge Report Falls For Daily Currant’s Satirical Story About Mayor Bloomberg

Ha! Conservatives always get caught “out there” by satirical wit…

Mediaite

The Daily Currant has fooled several members of the media into falling for satirical stories — from Glenn Beck and terrorist-contaminated pizza to Sarah Palin and Al Jazeera. On Friday, it fooled yet another: The Drudge Report. This time with a story about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The Currant’s story said Bloomberg “was denied a second slice of pizza today at an Italian eatery in Brooklyn” after reaching his “personal slice limit.” It was meant to be a jab at the mayor’s effort to limit the portions of sugary drinks sold in the city.

The Drudge Report played it up thusly:

As the Atlantic Wire reported, the splash only stuck around for a few minutes, around 8 a.m. Eastern time, before someone realized the mistake and took it down. The tweet still exists.

Recently, you may recall, The Daily Currant fooled The Washington Post into thinking Sarah Palinwas headed to Al Jazeera. It also successfully fooled the media with a story about Ann Coulterrefusing to board a plane with a black pilot” and Paul Krugman filing for bankruptcy after living a bitlavishly. And then there was that time Bill O’Reilly assaulted a department store Santa.

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GOP: We’ve been lying all along

Oh my…is the Speaker of the House a bit upset with the tea-party faction of his caucus?

Salon

Boehner’s admission that we don’t really have a debt crisis reveals his party’s ulterior, program-cutting motives…

I never thought I’d write these words, but here goes: Thank you, John Boehner. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for finally admitting on national television that all the fiscal cliffs, sequestrations and budget battles you’ve created are, indeed, artificially fabricated by ideologues and self-interested politicians and not the result of some imminent crisis that’s out of our control.

America owes this debt of gratitude to Boehner after he finally came clean on yesterday’s edition of ABC’s “This Week” and admitted that “we do not have an immediate debt crisis.” (His admission was followed up by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who quickly echoed much the same sentiment on CBS’ “Face the Nation”).

In offering up such a stunningly honest admission, the GOP leader has put himself on record as agreeing with President Obama, who has previously acknowledged that demonstrable reality. But the big news here isn’t just about the politics of a Republican House speaker tacitly admitting they agree with a Democratic president. It is also about a bigger admission revealing the fact that the GOP’s fiscal alarmism is not merely some natural reaction to reality, but a calculated means to other ideological ends.

Before considering those ends, first remember that Boehner (like Obama) is correct on the facts.

As Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman has pointed out, “Even if we do run deficits, federal debt as a share of GDP will be substantially less than it was at the end of World War II” and “it will also be substantially less than, say, debt in several European countries in the mid- to late 1990s.” It is also lower than the 80 percent of GDP level that many economists say starts to put countries in a precarious position. Additionally, citing Congressional Budget Office data, the Center for American Progress notes that the long-term debt outlook is only dire because the projections simply assume without question that “future Congresses will enact huge new deficit-increasing tax cuts and spending hikes.”

“The debt outlook is bad (but) we’re not looking at something inconceivable, impossible to deal with,” writes Krugman. “We’re looking at debt levels that a number of advanced countries, the US included, have had in the past, and dealt with.”

So yes, we should start dealing with the long-term debt in a pragmatic and sober way, but we shouldn’t pretend it is some sort of imminent crisis worthy of draconian austerity measures.

If we could somehow do that, then there would be plenty of gradual steps that could be taken right now — steps that deal with the debt in measured ways that do the least harm to the overall economy. Those include starting to phase out the Bush tax cuts, which show no correlation with job growth and yet are the single largest driver of annual deficits; starting to reduce defense and war spending, which, job-creation-wise, is one of the least effective ways for the government to spend money; starting to move the United States toward the least costly, more efficient, and more effective single-payer healthcare system that most industrialized countries have, and that lowers overhead for employers; and starting to spend more money on social programs that fight economic inequality, with the understanding that driving down such inequality tends to boost macroeconomic growth and consequently boost public revenues (this is the Reagan-esque idea of growing one’s way out of debt).

But, of course, we aren’t having a sober and measured discussion about such pragmatic solutions. Instead, the national conversation about the budget is dominated by debt demagogues with ulterior motives. Taking a page out of the shock doctrine playbook that says every crisis is an opportunity, these alarmists have sought to create the perception of an immediate crisis in order to quickly manufacture opportunities to legislate their otherwise politically impossible agenda items.

Continue here…

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KRUGMAN: We Are On The Brink Of A Technology Revolution That Will Transform Our Economy

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksban...

As a quasi techie, this article caught my eye…

Business Insider

A life-changing technology revolution, which we thought it was decades away, is upon us, says economist Paul Krugman, author of “End This Depression Now!

“So far the information technology revolution doesn’t hold a candle to previous technology revolutions,” Krugman said in an interview with Business Insider editor-in-chief Henry Blodget.

“The really big revolutions were the ones that took place largely towards the end of the 19th century that actually powered growth for a long time after that.”

But now, with driverless cars becoming a reality, technology is closer to affecting our physical world – transportation, productivity and efficiency, among others.

Watch Krugman making the case against technology pessimists below.

http://www.businessinsider.com/paul-krugman-on-technology-and-the-economy-2013-2

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Paul Krugman Explains Why He Really Didn’t Want That Treasury Job, Anyway

A new commenter inadvertently led me to this article.  Thank you and welcome, Ed Darrell  for your   original suggestion to read You need to watch this: Paul Krugman, ‘Jobs NOW, the key to our recovery’ .

Washington Monthly

In a fascinating and sprawling interview with Bill Moyers, airing this weekend on the PBS show, Moyers & CompanyNew York Times columnist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman explained why he didn’t want to be nominated to the post of Treasury secretary, even after 235,000 people signed an online petition urging the president to appoint him, and offers his take on Jack Lew, the president’s nominee:

PAUL KRUGMAN: …I probably have more influence…, doing what I do now, than I would if I were inside trying to, you know, do the court power games that come with any White House — even the best — which I don’t think I’d be any good at. So no, this is fine. And what the president needs right now is he needs a hardnosed negotiator. And rumor has it that’s what he’s got, so.

BILL MOYERS: In Jack Lew?

PAUL KRUGMAN: That’s right. The president can’t pass major new legislation. He can’t formulate major new programs right now. What he has to do now is bargain down or ride over these crazy people in the Republican Party. And we what we need now is not deep thinking from the treasury secretary. If the president wants deep thinkers, he can call Joe Stiglitz, he can call other people. What he needs from the Treasury secretary is somebody who’s going to be very effective at dealing with these wild men and making sure that nothing terrible happens.

But that’s not the most interesting part of the interview. Believe it or not, where it gets really fascinating is in Moyers’ discussion with Krugman on the difference between a recession and a depression. (As the title of Krugman’s new book, End This Depression Now!, he thinks what we’re in is the latter.)

While he concedes that the current depression, as he sees it, is not as horrific as the Great Depression of the 1930s, Krugman asserts that it’s likely worse than we perceive, because things that once made a depression obvious to all — breadlines, “will work for food” signs and the like — have take new forms in the the electronic age, and at a time when some public welfare, however meager, is available, and all acting in concert to hide widespread suffering from view:

KRUGMAN: Somebody said that food stamps are the soup kitchens of the modern depression. That there’re a lot of people who would be standing in line to get that soup, who are instead, and it’s a good thing, who are instead getting — I guess it’s now called SNAP, Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program — but who are getting those debit cards, and are getting essential food stuffs. And they’re at the grocery store and they look like anybody else. But the fact of the matter is they are still as desperate, they’re getting by day to day with the aid of a trickle of government aid, just like the people who were standing in line at the soup kitchens in the ’30s, but they’re not visible. They, we don’t have guys selling apples in street corners partly because, you know, the city licensing wouldn’t allow that anymore.

I totally buy that. I know lots of people of all generations who consider themselves middle-class, but are living hand to mouth. The young people working marginal jobs with no prospects and an unimaginable pile of college debt. The middle-aged people short-selling homes that were theirs for years. The old people who never earned enough to invest in mutual funds.

I know them. Don’t you?

The complete Moyers interview:

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Paul Krugman Tells It Like It Is, Calls Debt Ceiling Negotiations ‘Hostage Taking’

krugman

I had hoped that  President Obama would considered economist, Paul Krugman for Secretary of the Treasury.  I’m certain that  Krugman’s signature is more legible than Jack Lew‘s (the POTUS’ pick for that position.)

Having said that, I must say after watching Peggy Noonan the video below and regular Sunday appearances on most of the cable and network  news shows, I’ve come to the conlusion that Peggy Noon is a right-wing ideologue that believes everything Fox News puts out there.

Addicting Info

This morning on “This Week” Paul Krugman refused to bow to the usual pundit-talk, telling fellow round table members that the GOP’s tactic on the debt ceiling is “hostage taking” and should not be allowed. Krugman defended the President’s position on the battle against complaints by columnist Peggy Noonan, who said that she thought Obama should be “sitting down and talking” to Republican Congressional leaders.

Ignoring the obvious retort – he HAS sat down with them and they won’t cooperate – Krugman told Noonan:

“This is hostage taking, this is walking into a room and saying, ‘I’ve got a bomb, give me what I want or I’ll blow up this room.’ This has never happened before and should not be allowed to happen.”

He went on to say that this is a much scarier proposition because, unlike with the so-called fiscal cliff, sequester and other GOP slash-and-burn strategies, what is at stake here is the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. and if that is damaged, we just can’t know what the result will be. Fellow panelist Al Hunt agreed with Krugman’s stance, saying that the GOP’s brinksmanship is “…not on the level, a complete fraud.”

Noonan continued to whine about Obama, though, saying that it was “unusual” that he can “never make a deal with those folks.” What Ms. Noonan is neglecting to take into account is that it is thosefolks who refuse to deal in good faith with this president, as if he hasn’t bent over backwards to try to deal with the ridiculous and selfish actions of GOP leaders. Noonan opined about the “herky-jerky, crisis cliff” way that things are happening in governance but either can’t or won’t face the facts onwhy that is happening.

An obviously annoyed Krugman replied, “This is not something you negotiate over…” Another panelist, Judy Woodruff, pointed out that the White House position is that Congress was the one that appropriated these funds – meaning the spending which the debt ceiling covers – and they should be the ones to “bite the bullet” and pay for them.

Of course, Ms. Woodruff is correct – the debt ceiling is not some kind of credit limit, it’s the way we authorize payment for debts the country has already accrued. And it has nothing to do with the “spending crisis” that Peggy Noonan is wringing her hands over. Krugman’s stance is that the GOP’s gamesmanship is “… a doomsday, this is really saying, ‘I will blow up world unless you give me what I want.’ And you don’t negotiate on that.” And he is 100% right about that. I hope that the White House stands firm on this and refuses to deal with the Republicans who would take this country’s economy hostage with no thought for anything but their own designs. That, IMO, is perilously close to treason.

See the video here…

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