Nobel Peace Prize winning economist Paul Krugman dished out another serving of rhetoric on ABC’s “This Week.” His performance on Sunday follows Krugman’s deficit reduction debate with former congressman Joe Scarborough (R-FL) and a recent speech in which Krugman advocated “death panels and tax increases” to solve the nation’s debt woes.
Krugman did offer one morsel of truth on Sunday which should serve as a warning to the vast majority of Americans who value our nation’s model of economic freedom. To quote Krugman, “this [debate] is about a fundamental difference in visions of what American should be.” President Obama, for whom Krugman expresses much admiration, admitted as much in 2008 when he stated, “we are five days away from fundamentally transforming America.”
Sadly, many voters fail to understand that the machinery which Krugman and Obama attempt to replace is responsible for the most widespread prosperity in human history. Transforming our economic model from one driven by the decisions and ingenuity of individuals to one dictated by the vision of government bureaucrats poses a threat to this prosperity. Krugman’s declaration that the ongoing policy debates are caused by a “fundamental difference in visions” rather than “bad relations” is a startling admission.
Of course, Krugman distorted the essence of this difference in vision, claiming the President’s opponents desire “to take down the safety net we have” and to “roll back” Social Security. Yet, Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, presented a ten year budget plan which actually increases Social Security over ten years relative to the President’s proposal, and which also provides for yearly increases in Medicare and Medicaid.
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, current chair of the Democratic National Committee, built on Krugman’s distortion, claiming the Republican leadership in the House has “not been able to act [because of] the extremism in the Republican conference.” Yet, this Republican conference is the same one which passed Paul Ryan’s plan overwhelmingly—a plan which maintains this nation’s safety net.
Krugman also claimed, “the sequester is mostly falling on discretionary spending.” Yet, even with discretionary “cuts” in 2013, the discretionary spending levels in 2013 will total roughly $1.2 trillion dollars. This amount exceeds every year in United States history other than the four years under President Obama. Krugman argues that the effects of this will create “air traffic delays” and “a lot of things that people actually value.” Yet, to blame these problems on sequester cuts rather than government inefficiency defies logic. After all, discretionary spending still remains near record levels – with the “cuts.”
Until the media begin holding pundits such as Krugman accountable for their factual fallacies, expect this rhetoric to have the intended results of deluding the under-informed public.