It’s not often that I read something by Paul Krugman and think, “Good point, I hope he’s correct.”
After all, I had to correct Krugman’s inaccurate analysis of Estonia, and also point out the errors in what he wrote about the United Kingdom. And I also noted mistakes he made when writing about Canada and France.
And let’s not forget his absurd assertion that it would be good for the U.S. economy if aliens threatened to attack!
It certainly seems as if he specializes in making mistakes.
But he has just written something that sort of makes sense.
In pushing for draconian cuts in Medicaid, food stamps and other programs that aid the needy, Mr. Ryan isn’t just looking for ways to save money. He’s also, quite explicitly, trying to make life harder for the poor — for their own good. In March, explaining his cuts in aid for the unfortunate, he declared, “We don’t want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people into lives of dependency and complacency, that drains them of their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives.”
To be more specific, I hope Krugman is right in that Ryan wants “to make life harder for the poor” if the alternative is to have their lives stripped of meaning by government dependency. And I agree that it will be “for their own good” if they’re motivated to join the workforce.
To be sure, Krugman wants readers to reach the opposite conclusion. Even though the War on Poverty seems to have put an end to the progress we were making (see this remarkable chart), Krugman equates spending money with compassion.
And I suppose I should point out that he is completely wrong (using dishonest Washington budget math) when writing about “draconian cuts” since Cong. Ryan is merely proposing to slow down how fast government spending is growing.