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View Diary: Krugman: "The Urge to Purge" (62 comments)

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  •  Whatever you call it, Mellonism, Hooverism, (4+ / 0-)

    Austerity, Randianism, etc., it's all a form of modern day Puritanism married to wishful thinking economic theory that isn't grounded in economic fact, and as such is, at best, about Old Testament original sin theology that simply will not reconcile itself to New Testament moral humanism let alone empirical reality, and, at worst, economic cover for justifying the rape of the 99% by the 1%.

    Basically, people who call for austerity are either looking out for their perceived interests (which, ironically, they're wrong about because they're only reducing the long-term effective value of their wealth by advocating it because austerity destroys economies and thus the value of wealth), or they're puritanical moral scolds whose opposition to deficits and deficit spending is grounded more in personal moral outlook than economic theory.

    Something about excess (at least in others, as they always seem to excuse it in themselves) really bugs them, even if it's not really excess, but only appears to be. That's what this is all about, to the extent that their austerian views are genuine and not something they spout out of self-interest or because they're paid to shill it. They subscribe to the ancient belief that one must live within one's means, even if that means reducing one's standard of living.

    Which, in many ways, is a perfectly reasonable belief, so long as we're talking about reducing non-essential expenses during tough times. E.g. cooking at home, cheaply but still healthily, and not eating out, or skipping the annual trip to some fancy resort and taking a "staycation" (i.e. my family growing up).

    But when it comes to essential stuff like health, nutrition, housing, education, etc., it is NOT reasonable, not in an advanced society that enjoys a MASSIVE aggregate surplus, at least. No, when you can't afford such things you don't go without them. You get them anyway, whether it means that you personally go into debt, or society goes into debt, because there ARE essential.

    But no, it bugs them that some people--other people, that is--are getting more than they can afford, and that they are being asked to pay for it. Never mind that this is the right thing to do according to not only modern moral standards, but solid economic practice, and that society CAN afford to do this over the long run. No, on a personal, puritanical, irrational moral level, they simply do not like this, and all that other stuff just doesn't figure into their thinking.

    I.e. they're Old Testament Puritans with a bad case of economic OCD.

    I.e. they're assholes who need a good shrink, and to read the WHOLE bible.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:53:40 AM PDT

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