Sunday, February 21, 2016

Paul Krugman's Republican style economic voodoo in attacking Sanders.

Paul Krugman is a well known economic writer for the NY Times who could be called liberal or progressive. He could also be called someone who went into the tank for Barrack Obama a long time ago and has yet to call out Obama on everything from Obamacare's failures to Obama's misrepresentations on the auto bailout.

Krugman at one time, back in 2009, called for a $1.6 billion stimulus to get the economy back on his feet. He was right. But Obama in his never ending capitulations and sell outs to any opposition he faces, cut it in half to $800 million to try and appease Republicans (which it didnt) which is why the economic recovery has been so weak, taken so long and ineffective for millions. But no criticism by Krugman of Obama and his ineffective half baked stimulus package.

But in a recent column accusing Sander's economist Gerald Freidman of engaging in voodoo economics with numbers that supports many of Sanders plans,Krugman sounded an awful lot like Republicans in 1996 who, led by Newt Gingrich, called Bill Clinton's 1996 budget "smoke and mirrors" and shut down the government. Using a lot of the same reasons.

Bill Clinton's budget was, as per the agreement with the Republican majority in congress,a balanced budget. It was based on forecasts of economic growth and job growth that Gingrich and Republicans, like Krugman now with Sanders, called voodoo or "smoke and mirrors". Republicans all but accused Bill Clinton of cooking the books and manipulating the numbers. Then they shut down the government. 

The reality turned out to be that based on the implementation of Clinton's policies and their success, the economy outdid the Clinton administration's forecasts and grew at over 4%, resulting in the lowest unemployment in 40 years and the greatest economic expansion in U.S. history. 

Krugman's claims of Sanders voodoo is based on an assessment by of all people, former members of the Obama administration who criticized Sanders' economist Gerald Friedman who assessed the success of Sanders economic programs based on a U.S growth of  5.3%  which also comes from the implementation of Sanders other policies, most notably a progression to a single payer health care system. 

Krugman's claims of voodoo sound a lot  like Republican claims of smoke and mirrors in 1996 based on their economists assessments and forecasts which all turned out to be wrong.(As an aside, the term "voodoo economics" was coined by George HW Bush in criticizing Reagan's economic proposals known as "trickle down").

More reality: the government run public health care option which had the votes to pass congress and which Obama sold down the river to the health insurance companies, a sell out endorsed by Hillary Clinton, had been scored by the CBO as reducing the deficit $160 billion over ten years. That alone as a transition step to a single payer would be, and would have been had Obama not been unprincipled and unscrupulous,  a boon to the U.S. economy that probably hasn't been seen since 1996. It would have put thousands of dollars in insurance premiums back in the pockets of people instead of the pockets of insurance companies, and would have been tantamount to people getting a giant raise.

Given that 80% of U.S. GDP is consumer spending, what that would have done, and can still do for the U.S., economy under Sanders is give it the kind of economic boost that could easily see 5.3% growth while cutting health care costs while providing heathcare to 30 million people who still don't have it under Obamacare.

Another argument made against Sanders economic plan is that the consecutive years of growth is based on the implementation of his plan and therefore cannot happen. When someone, especially those with no creativity, no vision and no ideas, tells you something can't happen because it's never happened before you throw their ideas out the window.

Sanders received his share of smirks in the 1980's when he endorsed Jesse Jackson for president and was his campaign chairman in Vermont. There more than a few people who thought the idea of a Black man becoming president was preposterous. It was something that would never happen.

History is littered with people who said something couldnt happen because it never happened before. 

If one wants to argue whether or not Sanders could get it through a Republican congress the answer is obvious. But Obama had the biggest congressional majority in 60 years and could have done anything. Obama just blew it.

If Sanders is elected with a Democratic majority in congress by voters who want Sanders polices implemented it will be done. 

Krugman says he is a wonk. He is. He is also a politically biased wonk since the group he quotes who criticized Sanders economic plans are all former members of the Obama administration who are trying as best they can to rig the nomination for Hillary Clinton and so their economic opinions when it comes to Sanders have more in common with Bernie Madoff than Bernie Sanders and are just as trustworthy.

It also needs to be pointed out that Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton supports Bernie Sanders and his economic policies and agrees with them. 

Krugman is a wonk. And a good one.  But wonks have no imagination, no creativity and no vision. That's why they are wonks. They can provide numbers and a point of view, and assessments, but in making those future assessments, their numbers are based on a vision they don't have, a creativity they don't have, and ideas and their effects on people that they don't have. Those policy decisions are best left to people who have all those things when they come along.

Which is why Krugman sounds more like a Republican attacking Sanders. And would be a lot better off getting back to some honest wonking.

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