Once again, Paul Krugman is teeing off on the Very Serious People who keep running around claiming that the US is on the verge of a major debt crisis, and that we’re doomed if we don’t cut entitlement spending NOW.
This is pretty familiar territory for Krugman, who goes after this crowd all the time and in his columns, but it’s still enjoyable to watch.
This week Krugman includes in his target list hedge funder Stanley Druckenmiller, who has been going around to college campuses warning of “Generational Theft” and how young people will get screwed by the old people on Social Security.
A couple paragraphs really stand out:
Once upon a time, walking around shouting “The end is nigh” got you labelled a kook, someone not to be taken seriously. These days, however, all the best people go around warning of looming disaster. In fact, you more or less have to subscribe to fantasies of fiscal apocalypse to be considered respectable.
This is so spot on. Being extremely worried about the future is the mark of respectability these days, even though these “end is nigh” calls have been terrible. Everything people have said about how debt and money printing would lead to spiking interest rates and a collapsing dollar have been 100% wrong. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t believe in some major looming crisis, you’re seen as having your head in the sand, and being unrealistic.
It’s a strange time for that reason.
Krugman ends with some great advice:
So the next time you see some serious-looking man in a suit declaring that we’re teetering on the precipice of fiscal doom, don’t be afraid. He and his friends have been wrong about everything so far, and they literally have no idea what they’re talking about.