Nov 25, 2013

Mean for the sake of mean and ObamaCare

One thing that really sets Krugman off is when officials take policy positions that cause hardship on people when there is no justification for it. His recent example calls out the head of the German Central Bank for saying that printing money is not the way to get out of the financial crisis. Krugman is flabbergasted since he says there is no grounds for this argument as a higher inflation rate would help alleviate the situation. Krugman can't understand the desire for these officials to cause pain when solutions exist that will not cause pain and suffering.

Krugman points out that the latest estimates are that healthcare costs are slowing and some of this may be due to the implementation of Obamacare.

Also on Obamacare he agrees the roll-out has been a disaster but he feels the technical glitches will get worked out quickly. The big story though is that more and more people are getting access to affordable healthcare and that will be the story that will dominate the elections next year -- so the Republicans if they continue to rail against it will be on the losing side.

Nov 19, 2013

Larry Summers is the man and a new I was wrong mea cupla

Krugman is really, really jealous of Larry Summers -- basically at a recent very important economics conference, Summers gave a presentation that knocked the socks off of everyone -- including Krugman. Krugman says he has hinted at some of the points in previous works but Summers but it all together in a way that is now getting a lot of attention. The jist of it is that the economy's current depressed state may be the new normal and the only way to get higher employment is through bubbles. The reason for this is that declining population growth which reduces demand. The only way out of this situation is to force more demand -- through government spending and/or aim for higher inflation target.

It is fun to follow Krugman as he bashes others. Three years ago a number of economists signed an advertisement warning of bad things (inflation) if US government didn't stop spending so much money. Krugman now points out that no inflation happened but rather than saying we should just not listen to those who warned, we should see how they reacted. What's especially interesting is that Krugman points out that he has been wrong over the years and he gives a new example that he has not previously mentioned and it's a response to Nigel's long critism of him. He admits he was wrong on the euro coming to an end - back in mid 2012 he said it would just be a matter of months. Krugman ends his point by pointed out that none of the academics who signed the letter have admitted their error and this is a sign of poor character.

Nov 14, 2013

For European recovery higher inflation is needed and Ted Cruz is so crazy that no one dares be crazier!

Krugman continues to pound away at the need for greater inflation in the Euro zone. Interestingly enough the European Central bank actually cut their interest rate which of course Krugman applauded, since that should allow for greater inflation.

Krugman makes the point that higher inflation in the late-90's in southern Europe helped Germany recover from its doldrums. But now Germany is advocated low inflation which will not let southern Europe recover. Krugman calls out this hypocrisy - since Germany is now telling southern Europe to recovery through austerity which it never had to do.

On the political scene Krugman points out that no one wants to be seen at crazier than Ted Cruz. You would expect a wide range of viewpoints but it seems right wing stops at Ted Cruz.

Nov 7, 2013

Krugman and inflation

One of things that struck me very early on in my following of Krugman is his counter-intuitive embrace of inflation. Like most of the world I think, I had always assumed that inflation was always evil and the lower the better. Krugman however believes some inflation is good and necessary especially when an economy is in recession. One of his reasons is that it allows debts to reduced automatically since a future dollar (or euro) would worth less than one that is borrowed today. For people who are hugely indebted, unfairly in his opinion (think US sub-prime homeowners or Europeans economies which grew to fast due to German's pushing exports), this allows them to get back to normal spending quicker in order to get economies growing again.

Krugman also has a post where he explains (or should I say shouts!) that he has been right for five years now that stimulus spending and expansion of the money supply would not lead to inflation. He points out two Fed presidents who have admitted they have been on the wrong side of the argument and then ponders why this has not led to more pronouncements from other individuals who have been very wrong about inflation.