Why We Need to 'Kick That Can'
Paul Krugman: US debt problems are long-term; fixing now would be 'destructive'
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2013 1:15 PM CST
Updated Feb 8, 2013 1:31 PM CST
Paul Krugman argues that it would be irresponsible not to kick the can of debt down the road.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Paul Krugman appears exasperated with John Boehner's exasperation. On Wednesday, the speaker of the House discussed his determination to tackle the deficit, saying, “I’ve watched them kick this can down the road for 22 years since I’ve been here. I’ve had enough of it. It’s time to act.” Krugman disagrees. First of all, as Krugman notes in the New York Times, the debt fell for most of Boehner's first decade in the House, when Bill Clinton was president—it only soared again under George W. Bush because of his "tax cuts and unfunded wars."

And contrary to Boehner's complaints, the US is not in a fiscal crisis, as shown by the record-low borrowing rates the United States now enjoys. True, there is a long-term fiscal problem, but for now, short-term unemployment and growth are much more urgent. Looking around the world, he says the countries that have practiced the most austerity, such as Ireland, are today suffering the most. And heck, even Republicans are Keynesians when it comes to military spending. The deficit can wait. "Given the state we’re in, it would be irresponsible and destructive not to kick that can down the road," Krugman writes. Read his full column in the New York Times.

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hog_one
Feb 9, 2013 4:46 AM CST
Having read the story, I know of some facts that Mr. Krugman missed. Since President Obama has been in office a federal budget hasn't been passed, the federal payroll has increased by 12%, the deficit has increased by 6.5 trillion dollars, real jobs growth has increased by 1.5% and unemployment is still between 7.8 to 18.2%, depends on which poll you look at. But yet this is all "Bush's fault". That tune is getting very very old.
cornelison
Feb 8, 2013 10:17 PM CST
It's the Republicans that need to be kicked - right out of Congress.
Barbs1133
Feb 8, 2013 5:57 PM CST
So Mr. Boehner is going to cut tax loopholes for corporations and the rich? That would be a start. Financial Transaction Tax for all those high speed buys and sells that cheat honest people when they try to buy stock is needed. Europe is going to start and so should the US. No more oil subsidies and rich farming corporations don't need tax dollars either. Walmart, Target, Shopko, McDonalds, Pizza Hut etc. need to quit sucking off the government teat and raise wages for their workers instead of relying on the taxpayer to shore them up. Look for fraud and waste in government contracts and make tax evaders pay up or send them to jail like Wesley Snipes. Cut 20% of staffers for congress, senate and the military. The taxpayer pays for that too. And no more banquets and parties on the taxpayers' dime. That would be the beginning of not kicking the can down the road.