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Paul Krugman's Alien Invasion Economics

Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters caught the Times' contemptuous liberal columnist Paul Krugman on HBO's Real Time May 25 making the bizarre Keynesian argument (which he has made before) that the government should fake an alien invasion to spur investment in infrastructure. (Photo montage borrowed from Sheppard's post.)

Krugman: This is hard to get people to do, much better, obviously, to build bridges and roads and healthcare clinics and schools. But my proposed, I actually have a serious proposal which is that we have to get a bunch of scientists to tell us that we're facing a threatened alien invasion, and in order to be prepared for that alien invasion we have to do things like build high-speed rail. And the, once we've recovered, we can say, “Look, there were no aliens.” But look, I mean, whatever it takes because right now we need somebody to spend, and that somebody has to be the U.S. government.

Kyle Smith's long Sunday New York Post essay also noted that ridiculous statement. "Krug Attacks!" Smith's comprehensive dissection of Krugman's hypocrisy, contradictory pronouncements, and contempt for any economist who disagrees is worth reading in full.

When Paul Krugman dies, he’ll be primarily remembered for three things: He won the 2008 Nobel Prize in economics; he has been one of the world’s most-read and most-influential political pundits; and he said with total seriousness (watch the video) that a way to fix America’s economy would be for the government to spend a ton of money preparing for a nonexistent alien invasion because at least that would get people working.

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Krugman is a most unusual economist. Others may measure their words, issue caveats, acknowledge that the research isn’t conclusive, admit that their biases influence their reading of facts. Not Krugman. Krugman is remarkable for his freewheeling writing style, which frequently leads to lively metaphors (“invisible bond-market vigilantes,” “confidence fairy”). He is often dismissive, misleading and tendentious. He changes the subject, ignores inconvenient evidence and plays playground bully to people he sees as ideological enemies (a list longer than Nixon’s). He blasts away at others’ work without even providing the basic courtesy of a link to what he’s talking about, which is a disservice to readers who might like to review the other side of the argument to decide for themselves.

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Krugman’s problem, as he reminds us in “End This Depression Now!” is that he is a fanatic in the grip of a religion called “Keynesianism” which says you should borrow and spend your way out of a recession.

A religion that even embraces alien invasion as a solution to economic woes.