New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman spoke at an AFL-CIO event this afternoon and offered his take on what we should do to rebuild the economy. The short answer: Keep on spending until we are rich.
In Krugman’s own words:
What do we do from here? Well, what we ought to be doing is the opposite of what we have been doing. We should be spending more. We should have another — particularly, one thing we could do really quick is more aid to state and local governments . There are a lot of infrastructure projects … that have been put on hold. You could very quickly get a lot of people back to work by doing that… It is insane that we have actually been cutting (back) on infrastructure spending in this crisis.
Krugman conceded that while that was what we should be doing, politically it was hard to see another stimulus bill coming out of Congress. So his suggestion was to “do no harm”: “At the very least we can say don’t make the depression worse. Give this economy a chance to recover.”
Later in the discussion he bemoaned the “right-wing noise machine” saying, “Obviously, progressives are never going to have the kind of lavishly-funded, Koch-fueled media operation that has the same kind of message discipline.”
He added: “One thing that is really true is that progressives still spend a lot of time trying to appease the – trying to sound reasonable.” They spend too much time trying to engage the other side and react to the Right’s arguments rather than saying they are flat-out wrong. “The president does this a lot,” Krugman said.