New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has consistently been a strong voice in the argument against making dramatic spending cuts in tough economic times. On Monday, Krugman was once again forced to defend his position during a discussion about the current financial crisis on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” schooling his fellow panelists—which included deficit hawks Ed Rendell and Richard Haass—on why austerity is the wrong solution.
“Our track record is actually not bad; we’ve tended to reduce our debt at least relative to GDP when the economy was strong,” the Nobel Prize-winning economist said. “We tend to increase when the economy is weak, but that’s what you should do. So this is not a hard call. I mean, as long as we have 4 million people who have been unemployed for more than a year, this is not a time to be worrying about reducing the budget deficit. Give me something that looks more like a normal employment situation and I’ll become a deficit hawk, but not now.”
He later said, “People like me have been saying for five years, ‘don’t worry about these deficit things for the time being; they’re a nonissue.’ Other people have been saying, ‘imminent crisis, imminent crisis!’ How many times do they have to be wrong and do people like me have to be right before people start to believe this?”