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 25 comments Comments 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.