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Warmongering Journalism

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Krugman’s War Cry Won’t Avert Depression

— Posted Tuesday, 16 August 2011

By Michael Pento, Senior Economist at Euro Pacific Capital 

Paul Krugman sounded the war cry this Sunday on Fareed Zakaria’s program Global Public Square. After all, he asserted, only spending equivalent to another World War could lead us back to prosperity. That, and a healthy dose of inflation.

Krugman argued that inflation would address our debt problem by reducing our bill in current dollar terms and that the Second World War was a giant stimulus plan that actually worked. Thankfully, he added the refrain, “Hopefully we don’t need a world war to get there,” but I sensed a tinge of regret in his voice. After all, the Keynesian economist’s favorite pastime is seeing people waste their lives digging holes in the ground or sacrifice their lives in war. Both acts create economic growth according to the topsy-turvy logic of men like Krugman.

The truth is that wars are a miserable misallocation of capital and usually leave financial ruin in their wake. The US did not boom in the ’50s because we fought World War II, but because we resoundingly won. It was the byproduct of having an unscathed manufacturing base, solid infrastructure, an intact military, most of the world’s gold, and the only reserve currency.

The logical implication of Krugman’s arguments remains that working in productive employment is not at all necessary. If this is true, why not have people just save gas and stay home? The government could simply borrow and/or print money and send it to foreign countries that are dumb enough to produce goods and services for US consumption. Christina Romer, former Chair to Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, also sided with Krugman in a commentary posted in Sunday’s New York Times finance section. In it, she pontificated on the lessons to be learned from the Great Depression, saying: “It would be a mistake to respond by reducing the deficit more sharply in the near-term. That would almost surely condemn us to a repeat of the 1937 downturn.” This misdirection demonstrates her lack of understanding of what causes economic depressions in the first place. 

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Filed under Paul Krugman depression politics economics economy war warmongering inflation misallocation of capital reserve currency Christina Romer Great Depression World War II