In Paul Krugman's latest New York Times op-ed piece entitled "Rebels Without a Clue," the Princeton economist proves three points. Being a (1) Nobel Prize winning economist from (2) a prestigious Ivy School college with (3) a beard is no guarantee of one's intelligence or political acumen. I am quite sure that Krugman is a fine economist in the theoretical world of economics and such, but as a political commentator and opinion writer for a dying newspaper that still fancies itself more important than what it really is, the man has a long way to go. He fully encapsulates the theorem that liberals just do not get it.
Let's just grant Krugman and his ilk have their view regarding the economic calamity that will befall the world should the debt ceiling not be raised. Surely an economist knows that a default is not a fact until bills are not paid when they come due. A family is not considered in default simply because they choose not to take on any more debt. There are policy options available to pay those bills. The government takes into about $175 billion a month- that is money that can be used, assets can be sold off, we can sell of gold reserves, etc. Of course, eventually those funds would run out and then true default would occur, assuming no action is taken. Regarding the more proximate problem- a government shutdown- Krugman admits that past shutdowns did not create the economic harm many predicted. But then he notes that the Clinton era shutdowns occurred during an economic boom while this one may occur under different economic circumstances.
Some of this illustrates the lies being spewed by the liberal media- Krugman included- about the recovering economy. If the government is needed to prop up the economy, then that is not a recovery. But it should be remembered that Krugman is the same economist who has lobbied for Stimulus 2.0 because the first stimulus was not big enough.
Krugman, probably correctly, contends that a government shutdown over a continuing resolution would look benign compared to a "shutdown" over the debt ceiling. It remains to be seen whether the GOP will use the more "ominous" debt ceiling fight to extract White House concessions elsewhere. Technically, there would be no shutdown but in the practical sense, there would be since there would be less and less money for government operations as the available funds are diverted to service the accumulated debt as it comes due.
After going into the economics of a debt default which, thankfully was not long-winded, he then turns to the real subject at hand: attacking Republicans. Take, for example, this quote where he manages to equate the debate over government debt and Obamacare somehow with climate change and creationism:
Republican radicals generally reject the scientific consensus on climate change; many of them reject the theory of evolution, too. So why expect them to believe expert warnings about the dangers of default? Sure enough, they don't: the GOP caucus contains a significant number of "default deniers" who simply dismiss warnings about the dangers of failing to honor our debts
The same day this editorial ran in the Times, Bill Maher penned a piece on the Huffington Post. At least Maher was more to the point in his celebration of all things liberal and "oh so California, man" when he referred to any conservative as a "knuckle walker." The phrase "default deniers" is not Krugman's, but there is a link... to a Rachel Maddow screed where the default "deniers" are named: a party of two- Congressmen Scott Perry of Pennsylvania (in an interview with Chris "Tingles" Matthews no less) and John Fleming of Louisiana. I believe there are over 200 Republican legislators in Congress, but "significant" to Krugman equals two, or less than 1%.
Secondly, no Republican truly believes that a default will not create a shock to the world's financial markets. Hence, they are not true deniers in that sense. However, Krugman and others seem to believe that with this practice of amending raising the debt ceiling legislation, the GOP is somehow breaking new ground. Liberals- which includes not only Krugman but the entire Democratic "leadership" in both houses of Congress- seem to forget that such "germane" items as Congressional approval for military action in Grenada and other things near and dear to the hearts of liberals were frequently inserted into previous debt ceiling legislation at the hands of Democrats in Congress when a Republican occupied the White House. Both parties have been equally guilty of not proposing or passing "clean bills." The difference this time is that we have a "president" who refuses to negotiate...period!
Turning to the politics of it, Krugman states:
...reasonable people know that Mr. Obama can't and won't let himself be blackmailed in this way...After all, once he starts making concessions to people who threaten to blow up the world economy unless they get what they want, he might as well tear up the Constitution.
This is a truly loaded statement in so few words that Krugman deserves a Nobel Prize in Literature. Looked at from outside the liberal bubble, most "reasonable" people are showing their "reasonableness," if Obama's plummeting job approval ratings are any indication. What liberals and Democrats view as "blackmail," others see as presidential intransigence and an inability or unwillingness to negotiate. Instead, he crosses his arms and pouts that the Republicans will not give him all he wants and he wants it all. When not pouting, he is in full campaign mode before chosen adoring crowds. Two points here: first, the campaign is long over and, yes, Obama the man may have won, but not his policies, especially Obamacare. Second, if four years later you have to defend a law through such a concerted campaign, then obviously something is amiss beyond "We didn't communicate well enough." The White House's lack of communication efforts mean next to nothing to the people being demoted to part time status, of seeing their health insurance premiums rise, or finding out that their spouses are no longer eligible to be on their health plan. In the world of politics, one man's blackmail is another man's bargaining position. Most reasonable presidents would at least negotiate with their opponents as a public relations maneuver, if nothing else.
But the truly galling line is the about tearing up the Constitution. Here's a little secret for Krugman: it is painfully obvious that Obama views the Constitution as a big inconvenience that stands in his way of transforming America in his liberal image. The process of shredding the Constitution started in January 2009 when Obama was sworn in for his first term; he does not need Republican help in this area. Obama seems to have some strange notion that because he is president, everything he says must come to fruition. The words "compromise" and "negotiate in good faith" are simply not in the man's lexicon. But, "experts" like Krugman are so enamored with Obama that they cannot see clearly. Krugman and most liberals are are such knee-jerk supporters of all things Obama that their responses are almost sickening.
Come to think of it, Krugman is like a schnauzer puppy sucking at its mother's teat with Obama the mommy. Come to think of it even more, he even looks like one. What is so annoying is his smugness and air of "expertise" because he teaches at Princeton and won a Nobel Prize. Given some of the goofballs at Princeton past and present (Cornell West, Michelle Obama) and given some recent Nobel Prize winners (Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Barack Obama), neither is something to be exceptionally proud about. Like other liberals, he does not quite understand that in a constitutional republic, Congress is not supposed roll over and give the Executive everything on its wish list. It is why we have three branches of government. That explains why Obama and his kind view the Constitution as an inconvenience, if not with disdain.