Paul Krugman says Stay the Course.
The debate over economic policy has taken a predictable yet ominous turn: the crisis seems to be easing, and a chorus of critics is already demanding that the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration abandon their rescue efforts. For those who know their history, it’s déjà vu all over again – literally.
In previous liquidity-trap episodes, policy makers gave in to these pressures far too soon, plunging the economy back into crisis. And if the critics have their way, we’ll do the same thing this time.
A few months ago the U.S. economy was in danger of falling into depression. Aggressive monetary policy and deficit spending have, for the time being, averted that danger. And suddenly critics are demanding that we call the whole thing off, and revert to business as usual.
Those demands should be ignored. It’s much too soon to give up on policies that have, at most, pulled us a few inches back from the edge of the abyss.
Flashback August 2, 2002
With thanks to “CS” for sending me the link, inquiring minds are investigating what Krugman was thinking on August 2, 2002.
Please consider Dubya’s Double Dip?
A few months ago the vast majority of business economists mocked concerns about a “double dip,” a second leg to the downturn. But there were a few dogged iconoclasts out there, most notably Stephen Roach at Morgan Stanley. As I’ve repeatedly said in this column, the arguments of the double-dippers made a lot of sense. And their story now looks more plausible than ever.
The basic point is that the recession of 2001 wasn’t a typical postwar slump, brought on when an inflation-fighting Fed raises interest rates and easily ended by a snapback in housing and consumer spending when the Fed brings rates back down again. This was a prewar-style recession, a morning after brought on by irrational exuberance. To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.
Despite the bad news, most commentators, like Mr. Greenspan, remain optimistic. Should you be reassured?
Krugman, McCulley Never Learn
As we all know now, the double dip recession never came. However, a housing bubble came in spades. And now the same Keynesian clowns who were calling for a housing bubble to bail out the Nasdaq stock crash are now calling for another even bigger stimulus package to bail out the housing bubble that crashed.
Krugman says “It’s much too soon to give up on policies that have, at most, pulled us a few inches back from the edge of the abyss.“
The irony is the policies Krugman espouses are exactly what threw us over the edge of the abyss in the first place.
Yes Paul, it is indeed déjà vu all over again – literally. And the sad thing is neither you nor McCulley have learned a damn thing from it either.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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