SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman has his knives out. This is the toughest and the most intuitively correct of all the attacks on Obama economic policy:
President Obama’s plan to stimulate the economy was “massive,” “giant,” “enormous.” So the American people were told, especially by TV news, during the run-up to the stimulus vote. Watching the news, you might have thought that the only question was whether the plan was too big, too ambitious. Yet many economists, myself included, actually argued that the plan was too small and too cautious. The latest data confirm those worries—and suggest that the Obama administration’s economic policies are already falling behind the curve.
The Republican leadership has failed to criticize the Obama plan in a consistent, intelligent fashion. But this doesn’t mean Obama economic policy is beyond criticism—far from it. Implicit in Krugman’s criticism is something fundamental: How can the Treasury presume to undertake a “fix” when we don’t really appreciate the full scope of the problems at institutions like AIG and Citibank? Since the middle of September, breathless advice on how to remedy the situation has come from a handful of barons on Wall Street. They may indeed be concerned about the country, but they have a notorious record of putting their personal and institutional interests first. The problems need to be exposed fully and thoroughly before any more billions are pumped into a “fix.” What doctor would stop the diagnostic process halfway and start with a cure that his “gut” tells him is right? It would be malpractice. And Krugman is right that the key shortcoming so far is a failure to sound out the bottom of the well. We’re wasting precious time.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”