By now, the month of their annual meeting, says Paul Krugman, economists could well have been expected to be talking about the swift recovery from our near-depression. Don't blame the economists for the speed of the recovery.
It’s tempting to argue that the economic failures of recent years prove that economists don’t have the answers. But the truth is actually worse: in reality, standard economics offered good answers, but political leaders — and all too many economists — chose to forget or ignore what they should have known. ...An economy is not like a household. A family can decide to spend less and try to earn more. But in the economy as a whole, spending and earning go together: my spending is your income; your spending is my income. If everyone tries to slash spending at the same time, incomes will fall — and unemployment will soar. ...Paul Krugman, NYT
That "kitchen table" image of the national economy that politicians like to promote is way off target. Earnest Congressional pols from the heartland promoting an image of honest citizens sitting down at their kitchen table to pay their bills before they borrow more doesn't begin cover the situation. But it sounds good, and earnest conservatives grab onto it without further thought.
Certainly without mentioning that it was a toxic combination of their bad judgment, their wars, their corporate ties, and their pork that brought us the economy we're still struggling to leave behind. And we seem to be stuck with these guys.
...Here in America, Republicans insist that they’ll use a confrontation over the debt ceiling — a deeply illegitimate action in itself — to demand spending cuts that would drive us back into recession.
The truth is that we’ve just experienced a colossal failure of economic policy — and far too many of those responsible for that failure both retain power and refuse to learn from experience....Krugman, NYT
Maybe Paul Ryan's recent political decisions reflect a change within the Republican party, a turn away from the tea party faction's austerity orthodoxy.
The Times concludes from Ryan's behaviors that the party is moving on to finding a sellable position for 2016. Ryan did vote in line with the radicals on depriving flood victims of federal help. But for the most part, he seems to be falling in line with the party leadership.
Mr. Ryan’s vote, which lent support to Mr. Boehner, also places him squarely in a role he has long found comfortable: that of the dutiful Republican soldier. Mr. Ryan voted in favor of many large and contentious issues — the Medicare prescription drug plan, the bank and auto bailouts — and in the process cast aside conservative orthodoxy to support his party’s leadership.
His tax vote, however, was also a calculated one. He believes that the coming fights on spending and deficit reduction will fall squarely in his budget “sweet spot,” in the words of a friend. And with Mr. Boehner’s backing, Mr. Ryan has a better chance of influencing those debates. ...NYT