It must be great to be a columnist at the New York Times and write anything you want. For years, Paul Krugman has been foisting his warped Keynesian perspective on the liberal readers of a very liberal newspaper and demonizing his critics. But, many actually accept his ideology. As he has written many times, Krugman does not want America to worry about deficits, the national debt, or the impact that continued and out-of-control entitlement spending will have on our economy and future generations. You can read about this and much more in Krugman’s latest op-ed piece.
The problem with Krugman is that he does not believe there is a problem relating to Social Security and Medicare that needs to be addressed at this time. In his words, “focusing on long-run sustainability . . . isn’t a way of being responsible.” What? Long-term financial planning should not be a priority of our nation and its leaders?
Further, Krugman states, “Projections of huge future deficits are to a large extent based on the assumption that health care costs will continue to rise substantially faster than national income.“ Yes, this is the problem. Many economic analysts, even liberals, believe entitlements will put a great strain on our country in the not-so-distant future. Yet, Krugman says, “the growth in health costs has slowed dramatically.” Does the current lull in health care costs represent a systemic change, or will much higher costs return when Obamacare kicks into high gear next year?
The arithmetic relating to entitlement increases, as Social Security and Medicare gobble up most of our tax revenues in response to a growing aged class of seniors, is very troubling. Having the Times' economic oracle dismiss this potential catastrophe is just not acceptable to many pragmatic Americans.
Even Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund who is quoted in the piece, is telling us to “hurry up with putting in place a medium-term road map to restore long-run fiscal responsibility.” Some people, according to Krugman, have the outrageous notion that long-term entitlement reform and less austerity for the benefit of those suffering from cutbacks can be done simultaneously. Not Krugman, however. There is no balanced approach for him.
The only comment that I will not contest in Krugman’s piece is that the political climate is so highly charged that Congress can do nothing about entitlements at this time. But, this is no reason to stop accumulating data and debating the issue.
When Democrats are flayed in the 2014-midterm elections because of the incompetence of the Obama administration, the political climate might change and legislative initiatives may be possible. When Americans realize that everything the president has touched during his tenure was either far less important than advertised or downright bad for the country, they will rise up and look elsewhere for leadership. Hopefully, when average Americans finally understand the true facts about entitlements, Krugman will be harshly criticized about his aversion to fiscal responsibility.