In the pursuit of rigorous debate and honest intellectual dialogue, should Dr. Paul Krugman wish to respond to this post by Heritage Foundation Chief Economist Stephen Moore, we would be pleased to give him equal space on The Foundry free of any edits. —Geoff Lysaught, Publisher, and Rob Bluey, Editor-in-Chief.
With the news last week that I have joined The Heritage Foundation as chief economist, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman couldn’t resist poking his sharp elbow at me. I am charmingly described by Krugman in his column as “deeply, irredeemably anti-intellectual.” And even worse, I am “the equivalent for the dismal science” of one who “denies climate change and evolution.”
Why is that exactly? One of my acts of economic sacrilege is that I predicted that the Obama stimulus wouldn’t work to create growth and jobs — um, it didn’t. Krugman hasn’t forgiven me for a 2011 column in the Wall Street Journal calling out Keynesian demand side theories as a form of “economic bimboism.”
My argument is very simple really: We had a great $830 billion experiment in government as stimulus and it gave America the weakest recovery from a recession in modern times. Perhaps Krugman hasn’t noticed that four and a half years into the “recovery,” there are still close to 20 million Americans who are unemployed, forced into part-time employment, or who have stopped looking for work altogether. Polls indicate that about half of Americans still think we are in a recession, maybe because the middle class has LOST $2,000 in income since the Obama recovery started.
If Krugman really wants to take credit for this abysmal performance, it’s all his. You own it, Paul. Of course, the standard Krugman defense is to pretend that we would have had more jobs if only the government hadn’t pulled back on stimulus. Pulled back? Apparently $5 trillion of borrowing just wasn’t enough Keynesian/Krugman juice.
As for Krugman’s attacks on my scholarship, I will wear them at Heritage as a badge of honor. After all, this is the economist who back in 2008 called Europe the “comeback continent,” and who said that the 9/11 attacks “could even do the economy some good,” and who predicted in 1982 a coming “inflation time bomb” even as inflation remained tame for 20 years. He has the same track record as my dear departed uncle who predicted at the start of every baseball season that this would be the year for the Cubs to go to the World Series.