Krugman, or Crudeman?


 

HIGH DEBT = HIGH PLUTOCRACY.

Abstract: President Obama has been getting atrocious economic and financial advice, all across the spectrum, from Summers to Krugman.

This abominable advice reinforced the plutocracy, with tax cuts, and a giant spigot of money creation directed at giant banks and their demons. While the banks are getting nearly all the money, the rest of the economy has been weltering. The government is obsessed with throwing money at bank holding companies to save its friends, while accusing everybody else.

The main architect of this quiet coup, Summers, and his demoncrats and democrats, is supposedly on his way out (see Note1). That may be just a ruse to escape the sword of justice and positive change.

Another Reagan adviser posing as a democrat, and a progressive, Paul Krugman, has been more in evidence recently, as some of his advice has obviously gained traction.

Krugman’s advice: accusing China, with GUSTO (while sparing the American plutocracy of much blame), and augmenting government spending, BLINDLY. It does not matter if said spending is on foolish things: just spend. Keynes, the Jesus Christ of Krugman’s religion, said so, so it ought to be right. A detail: said augmented spending goes through… the friendly giant banks. Friendly to them oligarchs (see Rahm Emanuel’s 17 millions from one bank).

After accusing China, whatever China does, Krugman has also targeted European austerity programs, from Ireland to Lithuania, blaming them for the difficulties of the USA.

Krugman’s latest attacks are against the British government austerity program (some of which was started by Labor before the election in Spring, so there is real tripartisan support for it).

China and Europe are trying hard, in many ways, to change their economies and societies for the best, though, whilst the USA is just forking more money to its greedy plutocrats, calling that dismal masquerade "recovery and reinvestment" (a lot of these huge transfers of money go through hermetic notions such as "Quantitative Easing”, or buying toxic garbage from the banks, as if it were worth anything: it’s done through the banks… the private banks).

Let me repeat slowly. The advice of Krugman is dressed in leftist garb, but it is nothing of the sort. It’s like getting currency advice from Soros: dangerous at any speed.

The policies Krugman promotes, such as Quantitative Easing 2 (flushing the biggest banks with money), and xenophobia, are deeply pro-plutocratic (unsurprisingly Soros advises QE2 too).

This essay will rectify some of Krugman’s massive disinformation. Whether he is fully conscious of it, or not, is irrelevant: Krugman gives bad advice to the government of the USA. The USA needs to engage in Colbertism, as Europe and China are doing, and the defense department of the USA does.

Sending more money on the ravenous world manipulating financiers, as Krugman suggests to do even more of, in practice, amounts to feeding more poison to the victim, throwing more gasoline on the fire, breeding more black mambas inside the house, while screaming that more insanity will bring strength. And lying about other countries, from China to Great Britain, does not help. It’s internationalism at its worst.

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DEBASING CHINA:

According to Krugman, China is bad, Europe is bad, whilst the hard working USA is good, as it tries single handedly to pull the entire world economy out of the slump it itself created. But the USA’s goodness is not quite enough to master the foreign devils. So sad. This is apparently Krugman’s latest New Trade Theory: USA sinks, because big bad aliens did it.

Nothing to do with reaganomics, Obama’s admiration for Reagan, Clinton’s dismal selling of democracy and the future to plutocracy, and Krugman’s work for Reagan, hand in hand with Summers. This is all the past, we don’t need to ruminate it. Krugman would rather talk about…1937. (Not to tell us about American plutocracy supporting Hitler, while undermining democracy, as what was going on then, but to talk about FDR overenthusiastic support of… interest rates!)

One has to know that Krugman is viewed as one of the authors of “New Trade Theory”, NTT, a sophistry which basically boiled down to claiming that trade is good, no matter what. NTT did not work for the common folk, thus apparently Paul Krugman is now down to trading insults with reality, in the apparent hope that this will distract enough simple common folks. Thus New Trade Theory has revealed its true nature: adding insult to injury.

New Trade Theory faltered by ignoring the enormous leverage American plutocracy would get by going global, while no legal strings were attached, and conspiring with local dictators (the later a good source of Bill Clinton’s prodigious income). Plutocracy could drive at any speed, carry whatever cargo it wanted, including the most precious good: people’s employment.

The result is the unfolding economic and social disaster in the USA (and a lot of the world). Krugman may be trying to change his spots to cleanse his soul. And Krugman liberally attacks all foreigners, all over, most of the time, thus diverting attention to the root cause of the problem, already clear with his old boss, Reagan.

Last week Krugman was furious because China had lifted its short term interest rates up to 2.5%. That should lift the Chinese currency, which is one of the obsession of Krugman. So Krugman gets what he wanted, but that makes him even angrier (because, as expected, it changes nothing).

Meanwhile the dollar of the USA is returning a colossal .18% on short term maturities (Fed Funds rate). Yes that is about zero percent. Yes, that is about 13 times LESS than the return on the Chinese currency! In other words the USA is trying to lower the dollar as much as possible (Obama said he wanted to double USA exports in the next five years. But he forgot the slight detail that the USA is becoming a banana republic. I cannot believe he will find so many bananas to sell, even if they come super cheap, not everybody wants to splurge and become obese on American bananas).

So Krugman accuses China to debase its currency, but the USA is debasing the US dollar thirteen times more (this, what I just uttered, is a parody of what plutocratic economists call a model, full of sophisticated mathematics, the sort of things Krugman claims he does. but it’s little more than smoke and mirrors, and silly graphs which mean nothing, except that plutocracy is hiding behind them).

In truth China has something like four giant infrastructure projects running concurrently, in education, trains, biology, clean energy, etc. China builds universities, and China builds Airbuses (yes, from the company headquartered in Toulouse). Just the Chinese High Speed Rail infrastructure project amounts to 500 billion dollars or so (it uses basic European HSR technology).

China has even offered to finance and build the High Speed Rail in California. That is because all the American money goes to American plutocrats, and none is left for mundane activities. As Stiglitz pointed out a few days ago:

The US Federal Reserve may make funds available to banks at close to zero interest rates, but if the banks make those funds available to small and medium-sized enterprises at all, it is at a much higher rate.”

The banks keep the money, making risk free profits, feeding their bonuses, and their power.

And don’t worry: Silicon Valley plutocrats use private planes, and do not want to see 250 mph trains in their backyards, for many reasons, so it will not happen, for a long time (except if American sheep wake up and turn into combative Europeans, which is unlikely, because they have been brainwashed into believe that it is cool to be as cool and politically minded as barnacles).

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WRONG IS WRONG:

Krugman, Stiglitz, and also myself, would be viewed, by many as critics from the left. As the last British election unfolded, I was more in support of Mr. Brown, who had long aggravated me, but changed his spots, once he became Prime Minister. However, I hold that the truth is the truth. It is not because one overall disapproves of the general drift of the new PM, Cameron, that one should then support invented data inimical to Cameron. But that is what Krugman has been doing.

When the sheep invents data to support its cause, it invites the wolf to do the same, and the wolf will do it better, with more drastic consequences for the sheep. 

In a remarkably misleading editorial, Krugman says the following (see full quotes in the notes):

1) "Fiscal austerity is the fad of 2010. That fad is fading, but the damage is done." (False: successful Europeans nations, such as Sweden and Germany, have been at austerity for arguably 20 years. Let alone France in the 1930s…)

2) Krugman asserts that austerity does not rest on careful analysis (False: not only it rests on careful analysis, all the way from the High Middle Ages, but austerity rests on careful experience: Europe is made of more than 30 nations, and some went austere, and came out ahead, while the profligate ones are down in the dumps.)

3) Krugman claims that austerity has been justified by the hope of gaining confidence. (False: Europeans and Chinese don’t give primacy to market and business confidence, due to the fact that there, in China and Europe, the state rules, rather than the plutocracy. In the EU around half of the economy is state.)

4) Krugman claims that "The sensible thing, then, is to devise a plan for putting the nation’s fiscal house in order, while waiting until a solid economic recovery is under way before wielding the ax. But trendy fashion, almost by definition, isn’t sensible — and the British government seems determined to ignore the lessons of history."

(False: the sensible thing to do is to do what has worked several times in Europe, let alone China: re-establish fiscal, economic and social order, FIRST. Don’t wait for plutocracy to toll for thee. There is no evidence that the other way around ever worked.)

-So what history is Krugman alluding to? Just the relevant, but specious case of the 1937 USA, when FDR squeezed "liquidity" (that is, money creation by private banks, in financial jargon) too early, reverting a nascent recovery of the PRIVATE economy.- This a special case, irrelevant to the present Europe and China. And, of course, irrelevant to the present USA where short term interest rates have long been put at zero by the government (and other rates have been made very low, by same government, to HUGE opportunity cost for the rest of society)-

5) Krugman compare incomparables by claiming that "Both the new British budget announced on Wednesday and the rhetoric that accompanied the announcement might have come straight from the desk of Andrew Mellon, the Treasury secretary who told President Herbert Hoover to fight the Depression by liquidating the farmers, liquidating the workers, and driving down wages." Krugman confuses here the private sector in the USA in 1931, with the public sector in Great Britain in 2011. So many words, so many ideas, so many concepts, so many years! It can all go zoom zoom in one’s head!

6) Krugman then observes that Great Britain’s debt is below "historical average". He disingenuously forgets to say that historically average debt, contracted in World War One was what the boom of the 1920s was engineered to fix (causing Great depression II). And that historically average debt, furthered by World War Two, and the USA financially perfidious behavior, ruined Great Britain durably thereafter. As a good American patriot, Krugman wants Great Britain to be historically indebted, so it can keep on being the USA’s poodle. Fortunately the present British government has no docile canine temperament, and has figured out American perfidy.

7) Sanctimoniously, Krugman gives the usual preaching about learning from history. But the preceding shows that as he threatens Great Britain with Japan’s fate, he forgets that Japan has a total state debt above 200% of GDP, nearly double that of Greece (itself much larger than Britain’s). Among dozens of other important facts he conveniently forgets to mention as true.

Paul Krugman forgets to say that, overall, the British government spending will keep on augmenting. UK government spending is planned to be UP by 6% in nominal terms by 2014. (Down 3% in real terms with inflation taken into account.) So much for the gloom and doom. Oh, wait…

Why so many spectacular cuts while spending increases? Because the payment of the interest on the British government debt is exploding, and the government has to budget it. It is pretty telling that Krugman does not mention the rotting elephant in the bathroom: what a jolly sight, what a happy surprise!

The problem of exploding interest is not exclusive to Great Britain. In France the entire national income tax is used to pay for the interest on the national debt. French national debt is still augmenting as more debt is piled up to pay for retirees, some retiring at 54 (as in the railways, as if we were still in the age of steam and coal). 10% of the French retirement is paid through more national debt.

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KRUGMAN IS RIGHT (OF THE PLUTOCRATS), EXCEPT FOR ALL THE FACTS:

I reacted to Krugman’s "British Fashion Victims" with the following reply that the honorable Krugman and his New York Times had the kindness to publish:

In truth, Europe knows what it is doing, and Krugman, with all due respect, does not know enough about what he is talking about, to be cogent, as we will presently demonstrate by deconstructing most of his remarkably erroneous essay.

An example: Prime Minister Cameron program will reduce government employees by 490,000 (much of them through attrition, as employees retire with their expensive pensions). Krugman says that’s terrible, and it will depress the British economy.

However, Great Britain has six million civil servants in 2010. Proportionally to the population, it is as if the USA had 30 million civil servants (the UK has a bit more than 60.5 million citizens, the USA a bit more than 310 millions).

But how many civil servants do the USA have? Krugman forgot to point that number out. The USA has 18 millions employed in government, three times as much as in Great Britain. Three times as much, for five times as big a population. Thus, to have the same relative number of civil servants as the USA, PM Cameron would need to fire more than two million British civil servants.

Thus the situation is much different from what Krugman depicts it to be. Different times, different countries, different situations.

Krugman compares Prime Minister Cameron in 2011 to Hoover in 1931. In truth, by letting banks close, Hoover was destroying the private economy. Cameron and his government are cutting what they view as government fat. Education and defense are basically untouched. Nationalized health care is left completely untouched (as promised in the campaign).

Cameron’s and Clegg’s idea is to increase high technology plus innovation. Tories and Liberals are singing the praises of Airbus (a major employer in the UK, as it builds there Airbus’ wings). This is very far from what the Americans expected, as it behooves them that Britain would be anti-European, that is, against itself. The British government wants to make economies by sharing aircraft carriers with France. What is there not to like in this no non sense approach to the real European economy?

Indeed, the analysis in Britain is that the UK has fallen behind France and Germany in high technology industry (after centuries of leading, or being equal), and that this is the root of Great Britain’s doom, should it be not fixed immediately. The aim is to do whatever it takes to catch up in industrial high technology. This is a major insight of Tories and Liberals. It is of course a major rapprochement with the main line of France, first, and Germany, second.

This line of progress was the line of the Franks: instead of enslaving men, let technology do the work… And let’s keep the government small. After five hard centuries of using that method to pull out of the Dark Ages imposed by the Christian obscurantism and fascist theocracy, by the year 1000 CE, the Franks (basically the present Eurozone) had achieved the world’s highest GDP per head.

So it is not surprising that Europe is going back to the tried and true. All of Europe is reigning in state spending. Even Norway (which is more than twice richer, per head, than the USA). Even Sweden, the temple of social democracy, richer per capita than France, or Germany.

Even in Germany, the world number one exporter (even beating sneaky China, most of the time).

In France, more than 10% of the present retirement spending is paid by further borrowing by the state. This is unsustainable, thus unacceptable. Most of the French population (more than 60%) believe that it is unacceptable (while, paradoxically a majority supports the strikers according to the sacred French principle that loud protests are the only religion worth having… as long as it does not interfere with the All Saints vacation).

And the stingy Europeans are right. Those who have borrowed money are owned by those who lent it to them. The last time there was really major borrowing in Europe, it came to be called serfdom. This is indeed what happened in the High Middle Ages.

The debt had to be piled up, then, because the Imperium Francorum was invaded from all directions. First Charles Martel nationalized the church, to pay for the army. But that was not enough.

The terrible Muslim invasions were very expensive to fight as the attacking fascists had harnessed the resources of more than half, and the richest half, of the Roman empire to feed and equip their jihadist armies.

Thus, although the Franks had outlawed slavery, overspending, caused in great part by the necessity of rising the greatest armies since the heydays of imperial Rome, and the cost of reconstruction once the ravaging Muslim armies had been pushed out, brought them right back down into a system where the average person was indebted… And being indebted means being indebted to the rich.

The first European Prime Minister who came to understand that government spending had to be cut down was the Swedish PM, and he was a Social-Democrat. Social democrats had put in place the all controlling Swedish nanny state. That Swedish PM, as progressive a liberal as they come, embarked on a savage austerity program who made him very hated.

At the time, the Swedish economy was collapsing, so there was no choice. The PM started very crafty changes, replacing a lot of costly central state functions by cheaper local citizen initiatives, for example in health care ( midwives and other non MD medical personnel were allowed to make a lot of medical procedures, and lots of health care is conducted on the phone, making Sweden the best health care system, even ahead of the 2% of GDP costlier French health care, which is more gold plated).

Now, but for oil rich Norway, Sweden is doing better economically and socially than all other European countries. And Sweden is in the EU, and it has no oil. The Swedes are proselytizing, and the rest of the 26 EU countries are inspired by it.

In general, Scandinavia has long cracked down on the imperial state. Scandinavian politicians pay for all their private expenses, and do not fly business on flights less than 3.5 hours. One is far from the Imperial Roman state based in Washington, with a First Man ("Princeps") and a "First Lady" who make Nero and Caligula look like misers, relatively speaking.

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IMPERIAL USA, DOWN THE PLUTOCRATIC ROAD: I SELL, THEREFORE I RULE:

Why does this all mean? Trying to boost the economy through throwing money at the people was done during the worst centuries of Rome. It led to success only in the sense that the fascist imperial degeneracy kept on going.

Of course, some will say that those days are back. Imperial Rome was at its most grotesque when the Praetorian Guard put the imperial throne for auction. Yesterday, Barack Obama came to the San Francisco Bay Area. Plutocrats paid $30,400 per person to come to events where the president was acting up. Two months old plutocratic babies paid their $30,400. Then, to have your photograph taken with the president, it would cost you another $6,500.

Yes, $30,400 is more than half the average family income in the USA. And yes, Barack Obama visited several plutocratic homes. Meanwhile the Praetorian Guard is building bases as if it were going to stay a century in Afghanistan. Never mind what Obama says, he will do as the plutocrats say. As long as they pay. A Silicon Valley plutocrat spent more than 100 million dollars of her money to be elected governor.

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LEVERAGING STATE SPENDING FOR THE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT OF THE ECONOMY:

I am as progressive as they come. I am for central state spending in health, education, etc. I believe in Colbertism, the invention, earlier, by King Henri IV, of the high technology, legislated advancing economy to provide every family with a hen in the pot, at least once a week, as he put it.

However, this government investing in a valuable future works better when the spending is similar to what is done with money creation through private banks (the fractional reserve money creation system). The state brings in 10%, of the money, the privates do the rest. So the privates leverage on public money. For example in Europe, 250 mph, High Speed Rail is financed and built by private companies, leveraging governmental input. The USA used to do this, for example when railroads were built in the USA in the 19C. But for that government has to have available money to spend. This is highly relevant: 1.2 million construction workers are idle, and they could be put to work on conventional railroads, making them faster, safer, more efficient. But of course that cannot happen as long as the money goes to the corruptocrats and other plutocrats.

To borrow for current spending is unacceptable, in a family, but even more in a country: a family can die, and escape debt that way, but not a country…without great mayhem. Actually this is exactly how debt leads to war.

Cautious spending, investment spending, is the way to go. Unfortunately, Obama’s spending, deluded by Reagan advisers, and their plutocratic masters, has been neither. What British PM Cameron is doing is risky, but it may well work. What has been done under Obama, so far, cannot work.

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Patrice Ayme

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Note 1: STIMULATING PLUTOCRACY, NOT JOBS: First there was Larry Summers, who used to be a Reagan economic adviser, at the inception of the plan to put the plutocracy in power much more than it already was ("trickle-down economics"). Summers advised to write as many big checks to the banks as needed, to save their owners and managers.

TARP was put in evidence, but was only a small part of the (on-going) support to the giant banks and their giant owners. A grandly called "stimulus" was also put in evidence. But it was nothing of the sort. More than half of it was made of tax cuts (yes, a la Reagan!), and most of the rest compensated for the states’ financial collapse. A tiny proportion went to creating jobs (mostly of the menial, non multiplying type, such as improving trails in the middle of national lands).

This meant that money creation was mostly directed at Wall Street. Money was created, to serve Wall Street, not industry. In 2 years Obama stimulated jobs for 50 billion dollars (the trails above, and a few potholes), while Wall Street, in bonuses alone, distributed to itself 300 billion dollars. The source of the money is the same: taxpayers. To create these 300 billion dollars of bonuses, about four trillion dollars were spent.

How? Through Quantitative Easing. Basically the government lent short at zero interest to the giant banks, which were then allowed to reinvest with the government on so called longer maturities, at much higher interest. Many other tricks were used, such as having nationalized companies (FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac) buy at outrageous prices worthless mish mash of over-valued mortgages. said nationalized companies are broke.

The other of ex-twenty something Reagan adviser, Summers’ alter ego, at least in the Reagan White House, was Paul Krugman. He seems to be listened to recently (considering the USA’s aggressive dollar devaluation, and all azimuths attacks against other countries).

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Note 2: HOW THE QUR’AN CREATED MIDDLE AGE SERFDOM: One way the Franks beat the Muslim armies, aside from sheer intelligence, was with very heavy cavalry, and its giant armored horses. The cost was tremendous, but a cavalry charge by European knights would go through Muslim horse like a hot knife into butter. More generally a highly specialized military aristocracy, training itself from early childhood was created (under Charles Martel). But it put all of Western Europe in debt. On the positive side, the savages from the north (Vikings), from the east (various types of Huns), and the south (Muslims), were thereafter domesticated, once their armies had been defeated and chased out (which took more than 12 centuries in the case of Europe itself, and various Muslim theocracies).

Note 3: American ignorance is an astounding marvel: The other day, Fox News’ Neal Cavuto, one of Fox’s stars, who thinks he is a business genius, was interviewing a BRITISH European Member of Parliament in Strasbourg, France (the Euro parliament sits in Strasbourg, part time).

As he interviewed the British European MP, Cavuto idiotically insisted, again and again, that "Great Britain had to be happy not being part of that club". Meaning that Great Britain had to be happy not being in the European UNION. First, the EU is not a club, but an Union.

Secondly Cavuto was interviewing a British Euro MP, knowing very well that the gentleman was British, and a Euro MP, but apparently, Cavuto was congenitally incapable of drawing the conclusion that this meant that Great Britain was part of the European Union.

This is the degree of ignorance of Americans about Europe, in full evidence. And it’s not just Fox’s Cavuto: Krugman and Stiglitz, and smart, for American economists, are both deeply ignorant of European politics, history and economics, to the point that the advice they give about Europe reminds of the advice of Huns about Ukraine.

(Stiglitz, as Krugman has long been anti-European; in the last few days, Stiglitz wrote an essay in the Financial Times along the lines I have long held, of doing what one could call an investment stimulus… by opposition to a current account debt pile up, advocated before. So some are learning… Hopefully such knowledge can reach Obama…) 
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7 Responses to “Krugman, or Crudeman?”

  1. Joseph Says:

    Yes, they have gone quite mad, haven’t they. Recently Geithner wrote in a letter to his G20 counterparts that surplus countries “should commit to undertake policies consistent with reducing external imbalances below a specified share of GDP over the next few years.”
    The US in favor of global central planning, imagine that. We can only guess who is supposed to dominate the politburo. Where is the outcry ? Or rather, where are the people, who want to stand in the way of a drunken stumbling giant ?
    Of course the government circles across Europe and Asia know about the state of the US political system, which is simply not able to produce any results. Rotten, corrupt, criminal, hypocritical, useless, fubar – pick your favourite adjective.
    And they also understand that the recent round of foreigner bashings are nothing but spasms. Unless the US finds back her way to political, social and economic sanity, the actions of Asia, Europe or Madakaskar will not matter all that much. Since this is not likely to happen, the remaining option is: duck and cover !

    Like

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Joseph:
      Yes, I did not say “quite mad”, but I concur with you. That editorial of Paul Krugman was entirely wrong (except for well known fact such as Cameron is PM). Both Krugman and Stiglitz, who have been, in serious economics the serious “left” alternative to the advice Obama has been getting are real strange.

      Krugman advises some European government (for example Spain). Stiglitz advises the French government, and is professor in no less than 2 French schools. He used to be Clinton’s chief economic adviser, but quit that, and then the same post at the World Bank, because of fighting with the throroughly rabidly plutocratic Summers.

      However Stiglitz is a fight onto himself plutocracy and madness, against common sense and decency. In 2002, he wrote papers with 2 Orzags about Fannie Mae and Company. One of the Orzags was Obama budget director (just resigned). The conclusion? Maximum exposure of these was… 2 million dollars. Two. Yes, millions, with a m. However, in the meantime they failed, and were nationalized. Now they are further in the red, again, by at least 260 billon dollars. Yes, with a b. Like billion. 260 billions.

      So they do their pathetically trivial, pathologically irrelevant like mathematical models, Krugman is so proud of. But they have lost track of the fact that the economy is built with shovels and brains. These clowns did not sit in Obama’s office, and explain that millions had to be put to work. Between the rails, and the power grid, there is plenty enough. Some renewable energy operators are paid to not produce, because their electricity has nowhere to go (from lack of lines).

      So they send 5 trillions to the bank holding corporations, instead of sending them direct to the real economy. Nationalizations of the banks themselves (while letting the bank holding companies and the associated financial sector die) and crammed down on mortages’ principals would have done the rest. But instead they are playing mad little games with their mathematical models, hiding behind the Fed (which is giving an impossible task, because money does not a real economy make… it just facilitate it… once it exists).
      PA

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  2. JMcG Says:

    I don’t disagree with Krugman here. In the U.S., the Republicans talk about reducing the size of government but end up increasing the deficit by passing tax cuts that aren’t paid for and aren’t needed and by cutting social programs that are needed because they do not benefit the rich. Now in the wake of the election talk of more tax cuts or not letting some expire for the highest income earners will not help the economy.
    JMcG

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    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Jeff:
      Well I agree on that point of Krugman, of course. I was talking about his other points. To start with his title, as if austerity was a fashion… The same Krugman was proclaiming the failure of Europe, economic, financial and moral, even the imminent disparition of the EU because of the debt crisis, and he was promoting competitive devaluations…
      PA

      Like

  3. Chris Snuggs Says:

    Patrice AYME – WOW!
    First, an amazing post – lots to talk about. Secondly, (get the bad news out of the way first) the fact that you warmed to Brown when he became Prime Minister worries me, principally because the man was at best totally incompetent and at worst a moron, having totally messed up almost every aspect of British life one can think of but in particular the economy. It is only the fact that we started out from a better position that prevented (or prevents) us from “doing a Greece”. The waste and delusions were humungous; the basic management skills non-existent. I note that Mr Brown is going to make a speech in the House of Commons soon; I wonder if he is going to apologize for the appalling shambles he left behind or whether he is going to accuse the new government of not spending enough. His finest hour came when “saving the world” by encouraging governments everywhere to borrow vast amounts of money to save money. Had the overall consequences of his previous policies not been so disastrous this could almost have been funny. Well, it was funny for the banks, who of course were laughing all the way not only to the bank but at it.

    CHINA: I’ve been to China – (wonderful people) the problem (if there is one) is not their economy per se but the fact that it is a dictatorship. There have been and indeed are worse dictatorships, but it is one nonetheless. As their economic power increases so does their sabre-rattling. Have there ever been any cases where mighty economic power has not been followed by territorial expansion? Patrice will know this; his overview of history in these matters is extraordinary. N° 1 Satan the USA may be, but without their umbrella free, democratic Taiwan would most likely already have been invaded by mainland China.

    The YANKS? Humans are – in my humble opinion – often extremely conservative. Americans have been used for decades if not centuries to believing that their country is “the greatest in the world”. (they are not the only guilty ones, the French and Chinese run them close). It is going to take them some time to realize the junk value of that particular belief. While they are slowly internalising it we should be patient, remembering that they did save us from Hitler and/or Stalin. No doubt of course for their own selfish reasons, they did the same in Kosovo, too, (the Europeans – except those anti-European, Anglo-Saxon Brits of course – having done SFA) though I’m still trying to work out why – perhaps EXXON had geological surveys indicating vast oilfields around Pristina?

    To save the US it will take someone with a lot more steel than Obama; that is the problem, and WHERE is this person coming from?

    FRANCE: If there is any country mired in self-delusion apart from the USA it seems to me to be France ….. I am NOT anti-French – far from it. I lived and worked there for ten years ….. however, Patrice’s observation that most French people understand the need for change but most also support the strikes is revealing. This is the crux – they cannot make up their minds what they want – for too many in positions of power the status quo is too good – a bit like in the USA with the plutocrats. Thus they stagger about getting into a worse and worse situation, much like Britain did under Gordon Brownosaurus. The STATE in France is TOO BIG and SELF-IMPORTANT. Sarko realizes this, but his attempts to rein it in (forced by budget constraints) have been feeble and in any case the inertial resistance is stupendous. The phrase “reality-check” comes to mind.

    THE EU: As for “STATE TOO BIG”, the EU is overreaching itself, having just committed to spending over €5 BILLION on a fatuous new diplomatic service run by a nonentity earning TWICE as much as the British and French leaders and which will give the EU FORTY-SIX “diplomats” on the island of Barbados. Nothing against the Barbadians – jolly good chaps and chapesses – but are they REALLY that important to the EU taxpayer? We’ll also have over 50 in that economic colossus of the universe, Madagascar. Meanwhile in Brussels, a new building is to be leased at a cost of a piffling £10,000,000 a year. It is said by the great and good in Brussels that this new diplomatic service is needed to “compete with the Chinese and Indians”. Absolute rubbish of course. The idea that a black-African country will trade with the EU and not the Chinese just because we have fifty odd “diplomats” in a spanking new building downtown is ludicrous. What the Africans want is good value (i.e. cheap) and reliability. Europe is getting past the stage of being able to offer much of those, bogged down as it is by 100,000 pages of European Law and mindless regulations designed à la française to improve the lot of “workers” but which in fact gradually destroy all their jobs.

    I personally think the EU is doomed; destroyed by greed, arrogance and self-delusion. The British are already very anti-EU, NOT because we are anti-European; we are just anti venality, greed and overweeing self-delusion. However, in true EU spirit, we are denied the referendum we were promised on the Lisbon Treaty. Anyway, in the EU if you vote “No” in a referendum you just keep getting referenda over and over again until you say “Yes”, so what is the point?

    EU TREATIES? A tremendous FARCE of course. Did you know that it is ILLEGAL for members states to bail each other out? But what happened with Greece? And now they have a NEW cunning plot to bail out the next failing economies: Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland must already be licking their lips at the thought of getting free German money. So, bailouts are ILLEGAL, but not apparently if we actually want to do it. So they are only illegal in THEORY then? So it seems. Now Frau Merkel and the usual stitch-up-the-rest suspects (France) have worked out their plan there remains the niggling little detail about it being ILLEGAL. So what is the solution? The humungously-overpaid and fatuous EU President (has he got his presidential jet yet?) has been asked to look at the problem and “see if he can find a way to bail the countries out legally.”

    Of course, despite spending thousands of man-hours on the problem he won’t find a way that will stand up in court so the increasingly-fragile and erratic Frau Merkel is talking about “amendments to the Lisbon Treaty”. More hilarity – this took ten years to thrash out, agree and pass and yet she wants to muck about with it already. I find all this both hilarious and criminally venal, treating the European taxpayer with contempt. How do they get away with it? VOTER INERTIA – the same problem as in the USA, where they have a POOR choice of parties and lurch from one dinosaur to the other without ever seeming to explore alternatives. EUROPE? Do YOU know who your MEP is? Does he or she LISTEN to what you say? With Europe in the midst of the biggest financial crisis since WWII when EVERYONE in the real world (not Wayne Rooney of course) is cutting back, jobs are going, projects abandoned the MEPs voted for a 6% INCREASE in their budget. One wonders who their PR people are, but in truth they don’t have to bother much about PR since their accountability is about zero.

    The EU initiatives are INSANE – power-mad. It is so transparent as to be laughable. As the British learned from “Yes Minister”, the bigger your budget the more important you must be and therefore the more you must pay yourself. This is the rational for EU top-brass being paid double what NATIONAL LEADERS get. (Oh, and for the “inconvenience” of living abroad of course, even though they get a whole raft of vast expenses including free schooling for their kids). Cameron knows it, but the Brits are so used to being slagged off by the Continent (especially statist France, which is always very glad to get its bills paid by someone else – will the Germans bail out France when their economy collapses?) that Cameron has to tread a tricky line. At heart, the Brits are FREE MARKETERS and NOT willing to be an outpost of The United States of Europe, which is of course what they want over the Channel. France wants that because it believes it can control it;, they could be deluding themselves – monsters one creates often become uncontrollable. And the Germans of course are kept on a leash because France still plays on German guilt for WWII, but is that ploy now looking a bit sick? It certainly can’t last for ever so milk it while you can, eh?

    THE EURO: The recent EU jolly came up with a plan to “save the euro”; they were all happy as sandboys about this, but do they REALLY believe that Greece can EVER repay its debt without MORE vast donations from Germany? Do they think Germany will continue to bail out the feckless Mediterranean countries (plus Ireland …)? Some of these countries shouldn’t BE in the euro, unless of course the EU can control their economies. AHA, THERE WE HAVE IT! That is the agenda of course … more central control = more power and in particular more “harmonisation” of taxation. Don’t you just love that word; it sounds so PC. ‘harmony’ = balance, peace, contentment ….. all the right marketing vibes … but what it means of course is “harmonisation” UPWARDS to match the preposterous tax levels in Germany and France. The Germans are so efficient that they seem to get by with such high taxes, but they are crippling France. Despite their fatuous 35 hour week – introduced to create more employment (why didn’t they make it 10 hours per week – surely that would have created even MORE employment?) – their unemployment rate is still way above the average, and this for DECADES.

    Well Patrice, I agree with much of your analysis of the USA, but I suspect Yanks will be up in arms. (the “greatest country in the world” syndrome). I am reminded of the importance of education; is it SO difficult to learn from the past? Apparently so – humans are so deep-rooted in the immediate present and so few take a long-term view, especially in our “democratic” systems of government where Obama has only been going for two years yet is effectively starting the next election campaign. And as we know, British politicians will do and say anything to gain power and having done so very often ignore much of what they promised. I myself do not remember the British Labour Party promising to ruin the country in 1997, yet that is what they have done in many areas.

    Where I disagree is with the impression I have from your post that Europe is doing much better than the USA. I don’t think we are. I think we are in a tremendous mess and have NOT yet understood what faces us – see strikes in France for a start. One bright light? the economic performance of Germany, the only “serious country in Europe – apart from those magnificent Scandinavians of course. Another bright light? The performance so far of the British Coalition, at least having the courage not to take the easy but long-term catastrophic path of “Spend, spend, spend” so honed and perfected by the previous bunch of charlatans.

    By Chris Snuggs

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    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hello Chris!
      I am still travelling, it’s hard for me to make justice to all your observations. I do agree with nearly all you say, especially in the beginning. (I used to deeply dislike Brown, because he was anti-Euro, BTW, and, first of the best friend of plutocracy.)

      I agree much less about your attacks against the EU itself. It seems you are worried too much about obvious defects that should be remedied.

      In the big picture, there is only one fact. The fact is fundamental. Europe has two choices, and two choices only:

      1) UNITE POLITICALLY ENOUGH TO MAKE WAR FOREVER IMPOSSIBLE.

      2) war (with the usual Franco-British polity, this time hopefully joined by Germany, fighting the enemy…)

      What you complain about in Europe are infuriating details. Anyway we are going to have still another constitution, as I fully expected, and, HOPEFULLY, it will be one more of many to come.

      The problem, right now in the USA, is the very machinery of human reason. The USA needs to RALLY TO RESTORE SANITY.

      French strikes, etc,: much exaggerated. French strikes are remarkably noisy and spectacular, a kind of national pastime. But apparently France has fewer strike hours lost per capita than say, Canada. Nobody gets all riled up about Canada being unreal, too French, obnoxious, lazy, argumentative, loud, owning history, truth, etc. So I think that some of the exaggerated worries about France in Anglo-Saxonia are just a form of anti-French feeling I tolerate ever less, at least in the USA.

      Not so much because it is a form of racism, but, more generally a form of intense stupidity. Exit polls in California on November 2, 2010, give some cause for hope. Apparently California voters agree that taxes ought to be raised. Also people voted down the plutocrat Whitman, precisely because of her vicious plutocrateness. Or plutocratitude, whatever neologism which fits…

      Yanks/ Up in arms? They are increasingly irrelevant… Even inside the USA. The huge influx of Hispanics and other new immigrants into the Golden state is an increasing question, though…

      I brace for the accusation of racism (I have counter strike capability!)… But California is the fastest growing state… IN THE WORLD. A problem that, admittedly, Europe does not have…

      In conclusion: we agree on much. I just tend to have transverse dimensions to many of your assertions… Which allow me to jump over them. (At this point I am quite comfortable with the result of the British election. we will see…)
      PA

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  4. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Sent to Professor Steve Keen, a veteran economist, author of “Debunking Economics”:
    Krugman has long been an agent of the wealthiest disguised as a “progressive”. Although a full subscriber to the New York Times, and sending very cogent comments, I was banned from there (they even unsubscribed me!) And this has been going on for a very long time:

    Please consider: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/krugman-or-crudeman/

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