George Will and Paul Krugman had another great debate Sunday about the role of government spending in stimulating the economy.
As the New York Times columnist predictably whined about the need for more federal spending not less, ABC's lone conservative said on "This Week," "It would be good to go to the electorate and have a Krugman election this time, saying: resolved, the government is too frugal - let's vote" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
PAUL KRUGMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: The first thing is, we shouldn't -- you know, from -- from the perspective of a rational person -- in other words, a progressive on this stuff -- we shouldn't be even talking about spending cuts at all now. We have 9 percent unemployment. These spending cuts are going to worsen unemployment. That's not even -- it's even going to hurt the long-run fiscal picture, because we have a situation where more and more people are becoming permanent long-term unemployed. And if you have a situation in which you're going to permanently raise the unemployment rate, which is what this is going to do, that's actually going to reduce future revenues.
So this -- this thing -- these spending cuts are even going to hurt the long-run fiscal position, let alone cause lots of misery. And then on top of that...
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: Well, you...
KRUGMAN: ... we've got these budget cuts, which are entirely -- basically the Republicans said we'll blow up the world economy unless you give us exactly what we want, and the president said, OK. That's what happened.
AMANPOUR: You know, you've been consistent about this, saying that there should be no cuts at a time of recession and weak recovery. What is your scenario, though, once this goes through and there are significant spending cuts and no revenues?
KRUGMAN: We're looking. I mean, we used to talk about the Japanese and their lost decade. We're going to look to them as a role model. They did better than we're doing. We're -- this is going to go on -- I have nobody I know who thinks that the unemployment rate is going to be below 8 percent at the end of next year.
With the spending cuts, it might well be above 9 percent at the end of next year. There is no light at the end of this tunnel. And all the -- we're having a debate in Washington which is all about, gee, we're going to make this economy worse, but are we going to make it worse on 90 percent the Republicans' terms or 100 percent the Republicans' terms? And the answer is 100 percent.
GEORGE WILL: Paul's right. We are a third of the way through a lost decade, but we're a third of the way after TARP, the stimulus, Cash for Clunkers, dollars for dishwashers, cash for caulkers, the entire range of stimulus, the Keynesian approach, which, by its own evidence, simply hasn't worked. Now Paul says double down.
KRUGMAN: Can I just say -- in advance, one important point is to make that -- is that people like me said in advance this wasn't remotely big enough. It's not an after the fact. It's not coming back afterwards. Right from the beginning, we looked -- I looked at the numbers, people like me looked at the numbers, said we have -- we're going to have huge cutbacks at the state and local level. You've got a federal increase which is going to be barely enough to limit those cutbacks. There is going to be no net fiscal stimulus, if you look at government as a whole, which is what happened.
WILL: And it...
KRUGMAN: So here we are.
WILL: It would be good to go to the election -- electorate and have a Krugman election this time, saying: resolved - the government is too frugal. Let's vote.
Since 2007, annual federal spending has increased by 41 percent while the debt has grown by $5.6 trillion or 64 percent. During this time, unemployment rose from 4.4 percent to 9.2 percent.
And idiots like Krugman think spending more will solve the problem.
Even worse, idiots like the folks that produce ABC's "This Week" continue to invite him on their program to repeat such nonsense.