Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 14, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

WHY PAUL KRUGMAN IS DEPRESSING....So why did I say yesterday that Paul Krugman is depressing in person? Here's an excerpt from my interview, where he talks about what he thinks is going to happen to the U.S. economy:

Were headed for some kind of collision, and there are three things that can happen. Just by the arithmetic, you can either have

  • big tax increases, roll back the whole Bush program plus,

  • or you can sharply cut Medicare and Social Security, because thats where the money is,

  • or the U.S. just tootles along until we actually have a financial crisis....and we turn into Argentina.

Which one of those is most likely? Whats your best guess?

I think financial crisis....

Really? A financial crisis in the United States? Like in Argentina? Krugman admits that conventional wisdom says this is impossible, so I ask him again:

And do you think thats a serious possibility for the United States?

Yeah, I mean, you just take the numbers as they now look, and thats where it heads....I think we have to take seriously the possibility that things wont work out this time.

Oh.

Here's the thing. In person you can tell that he's dead serious. And whatever you think of Krugman's politics, he's a top flight, world renowned economist whose professional specialty is international economic disasters.

And when a top flight, world renowned economist tells me that an Argentina-like financial collapse is a serious possibility in America, that's just really damn depressing.

You'll see the entire context of his remarks when I finish transcribing the interview, and it's quite true that his opinion is based on the idea that we're politically gridlocked and incapable of handling grownup economic facts right now. And obviously he could be wrong about that.

But still....

Kevin Drum 11:56 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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