Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shorter Paul Krugman

The good doctor notes a comment from John Boehner (R-OH), the House Minority leader — “It’s time for government to tighten their belts and show the American people that we ‘get’ it.” — and comes to an obvious conclusion: Mr. Boehner is insane.

What’s insane about Boehner’s remark? He’s talking about the current economic crisis as if it were a harvest failure — as if we faced a shortage of goods, so that the more you consume the less is left for me. In reality — even most conservatives understand this, when they think about it — we’re in a world desperately short of demand. If you consume more, that’s GOOD for me, because it helps create jobs and raise incomes. It’s in my personal disinterest to have you tighten your belt — and that’s just as true if you’re “the government” as if you’re my neighbor.

In other words, the problem isn’t that we’re spending too much; it’s that we’re not spending enough. However, the only “we” with the money to spend at the moment is the government. The thing Mr. Boehner doesn’t get is that “we” are the government. Every dollar the government spends comes from us, and therefore they’re giving it back. How’s that for “spreading the wealth”?