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Paul Krugman: Disaster Begins at the Top

Wednesday, 11 May 2011 09:00 AM

The economic problems we're experiencing now stem from public policy, not average Americans, says economist Paul Krugman.

"What we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster," Krugman writes in The New York Times. "The policies that got us into this mess weren't responses to public demand."

"They were, with few exceptions, 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."

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Paul Krugman
(Getty Images photo)
According to Krugman, the policy elite claim that we got into this mess because voters wanted something for nothing, and weak-minded politicians catered to the electorate’s foolishness.

Krugman says that the Bush tax cuts added roughly $2 trillion to the national debt over the last decade, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan added an additional $1.1 trillion or so, and the Great Recession — all policy driven — led to a collapse in revenue and a sharp rise in spending on unemployment insurance and other safety-net programs.

“So who was responsible for these budget busters?” Krugman asks. “It wasn’t the man in the street … it was the bad judgment of the elite, not the greediness of the common man, that caused America’s deficit.”

“And much the same is true of the European crisis.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that government officials from France and Germany went out of their way to stress the need for a unified euro zone even as intensifying worries over Greek debt piled pressure on the currency bloc.

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The economic problems we're experiencing now stem from public policy, not average Americans, says economist Paul Krugman. What we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster, Krugman writes in The New York Times. The policies that got us into this mess weren't...
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Wednesday, 11 May 2011 09:00 AM
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