More and more people have been telling Paul Krugman that the budget deficit is the people’s fault: “Weak-minded politicians catered to the electorate’s foolishness.” But that viewpoint is not only “self-serving, it’s dead wrong,” writes Krugman in the New York Times. Instead, we can thank “policies championed by small groups of influential people—in many cases, the same people now lecturing the rest of us on the need to get serious.” They’re behind the deficit’s key factors: the Bush tax cuts, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the Great Recession.
George W. Bush cut taxes “in the service of his party’s ideology, not in response to a groundswell of popular demand.” Similarly, the Iraq war was something he and his advisers cooked up; Americans weren't "clamoring for war against a regime that had nothing to do with 9/11." And the recession was the fault of a “runaway financial sector, empowered by reckless deregulation.” Why worry about all this now? Two reasons: “simple accountability,” and because it's important to make sure we learn from our mistakes. Click through for Krugman's take on the parallel crisis across the pond.