begins with these words:
Mitt Romney is optimistic about optimism. In fact, it’s pretty much all he’s got. And that fact should make you very pessimistic about his chances of leading an economic recovery.Krugman, in this column, says that in what Romney said in the video with his donors in Boca Raton, makes it clear that his economic plan relies on "magic" -
“My own view is,” he declared, “if we win on November 6, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see — without actually doing anything — we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.”The answer to that question, from anyone who is not blinded by the Republican theology on economics, is clearly not.
Are you feeling reassured?
Please keep reading.
Krugman is very thorough in this column, and also cannot resist reminding us of what he has previously said. Thus, after discussing the role economic optimism can play he offers this
You should also know that efforts to base policy on speculations about business psychology have a track record — and it’s not a good one.He provides specifics from the European austerity approach in 2010, including quoting from the then President of the European Central Bank that the austerity measures:
“increase the confidence of households, firms and investors.”Let me step back for a minute and offer several observations.
At the time I ridiculed such claims as belief in the “confidence fairy.” And sure enough, austerity programs actually led to Depression-level economic downturns across much of Europe.
Yet here comes Mitt Romney, declaring, in effect, “I am the confidence fairy!”
1. As aNew York Tim columnist Paul Krugman cannot endorse Obama, just as the likes of David Brooks cannot endorse Romney, not officially.
2. Too many of those writing about politics as reporters and even many who are commentators seem to want to portray a close horse race that does not exist, and to treat both major party candidates as if they are offering serious proposals.
3. Perhaps some writing/observing/reporting/commenting need to be reminded about Krugman that (a) he is a Nobel Laureate in economic; (b) ALL of the predictions he has made about economic proposals, whether it was on the insufficient size of the stimulus or the ineffectiveness and destructiveness of the austerity approach have been proven over time; (c) the kinds of criticisms he has offered of Romney's economics and of Ryabn's budget are supported by the work of independent analysis such as the Congressional Budget Office.
Even though too many in the commentariat are still locked into a false paradigm, what is interesting is to see the American people moving away from it, which is why increasingly people are moving in Obama's direction when it comes to matters of whom they trust on the economy.
Krugman reminds us that as the feeling has moved in the direction of a likely Obama victory, contrary to how Romney has argued in his campaign the markets have gone up, not down. Perhaps that is because for all their desire for less taxation and regulation, many dealing with Wall Street understand how well they have done under the Obama administration, and recognize the real financial risks of a Romney/Ryan approach. Let's be honest - regardless of their expressed political ideology, what really motivates people in financial markets is the stability of their profits.
But Krugman is not finished. He really cuts at the end of his column:
Mr. Romney’s whole campaign has been based on the premise that he can become president simply by not being Barack Obama. Why shouldn’t he believe that he can fix the economy the same way?That is about as good a concise summary of the Romney campaign as I can imagine. Romney not only believes he is entitled to the Presidency, he has thought he can win it simply by being not Obama. This in fact tracks with Republicans in Congress who have refused to vote for things Obama supports, even when they themselves originally proposed it - whether it is Obamacare which originated in the Heritage Foundation before it was Romneycare, or it is the veterans jobs bill partially written by Republican Senators who then refused to vote for it.
At least we are lucky that the American people do not seem to be buying what Romney is selling. Romney has a theory, as Krugman puts it, that he can fix the economy simply by not being Obama.
But will he get a chance to put that theory to the test? At the moment, I’m not optimistic.Don't be misled. He is not optimistic that Romney will get the chance.
Somehow, given what he thinks about Romney's approach, I think that for Krugman he is far more optimistic about our economic future precisely because Romney won't get that chance.
Certainly I am.
How about you?