Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Paul vs Paul - Krugman vs Ron Paul

Bloomberg News presents a 20-minute debate between Rep. Ron Paul and Professor Paul Krugman.

From Raw Story:

Paul made his case for Austrian economics, arguing for a limited government that keeps its hands off the economy. In contrast, Krugman made the case for Keynesian economics, arguing that a completely unmanaged economy would inevitably lead to a volatile boom and bust cycle.

After watching the video, I appreciated a very good question that the hosts asked of both participants: "Which is worse, big government debt or high unemployment?" Krugman I believe, answers the question correctly, and says that high unemployment is much worse.

I disagree with Paul's answer that government debt is worse because he's prioritizing an abstract problem above one that causes very real pain to real people in real time. The example I've often used is Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. How could people tell there was a problem? Well, because their streets were underwater! How can people tell that debt is a problem? Only because pundits and experts tell them it's a problem.

There's no way for an average citizen to even tell whether the government's in debt or not. In fact, a local right-winger recently claimed in a comments section that government debt has gotten worse under President Obama. Has it? Actually no, it hasn't. The US debt load is actually smaller than it was three years ago. Why is the right-winger able to claim the opposite with a straight face? Because it's an abstract problem that doesn't directly affect anyone.

Nah, I agree with Krugman, Paul wants to go back 150 years to the Gilded Age. Problem is, there's a reason that the Gilded Age ended and the Progressive Era began.

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