My guess is that Paul Krugman thought that this post was one of the more trifling economic-oriented pieces he has written in a while. It was short and probably took little time. It was also seemingly commonplace. After all, it was about a politician who said something inherently and obviously false.
But I found it to be extremely disturbing, not because it was off-the-wall — it’s anything but — but because it described a behavior — bald-face lying — that has become so blatant and commonplace among Republican policymakers on economic issues that any one of them who is even slightly honest and candid now would be both an absolute rarity and a welcome relief.
And the fact that the GOP lying about the economy…and especially the budget…is so accepted and expected means that any Republican who wasn’t jump-the-shark ridiculous on these issues wouldn’t be allowed to stay in the party much longer.
The obvious frustration that Krugman expresses in the post (not to mention the almost back-of-the-hand way he swats away Governor Chris Christie’s one-liner about the strength of the New Jersey economy and in the process makes the governor appear ridiculous to anyone who takes the time to look at the facts) mirrors what I was thinking when I posted this about House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) last week.
As I noted in the post, Boehner, who easily qualifies as the weakest and least effective Speaker in my lifetime and has to be included on the list of the all-time worst in U.S. history, demonstrated yet again that he’ll say and do anything to stay speaker even when what he’s saying about the budget can easily be shown to be nonsense and when he knowingly and without giving it a second thought threatens the well-being of the U.S. economy.
I’d say this doesn’t bode well for the outcome of this year’s federal budget debate, but that’s both obvious and an understatement. It actually points to the a period in U.S. history that is very likely to be labeled by historians as its economic dark ages.