Friday, November 21, 2003

More Krugman

As Lambert notes, I bumped into him there. Krugman mostly gave his standard talk which you would have seen on C-Span, and answered questions.

One interesting point he made has to do with why the markets have yet to go into panic mode. He said he gets various letters from hedge funds, etc..., and all of them contain some version of the line "we expect a return to fiscal discipline after the '04 elections." As Krugman rightly noted, this is just crazy. The Bushies claim that the deficit will be cut in half by 2008 - but even this rosy scenario can happen only if none of what they are continuing to propose to do - namely making all of the various expiring tax cuts "permament." The odds of a return to fiscal discipline - either with a 2nd Bush term, or with a President Democrat and House Majority Leader DeLay are pretty close to 0.

I do wonder what these people are thinking. The baby boomers start hitting retirement age at 2011. Nothing's going to stop them from voting for huge transfers from working age folks for SS, Medicare, and all kinds of yummy new programs. They may be playing the "starve the beast" game to cause a government fiscal crisis - but the real result will be a full economic crisis. Grover may be trying to drown the government, but he'll only succeed if he drowns the country.