Krugman(?): If only the earthquake had done more damage, the economy would have gotten a boost; Update: Not Krugman

posted at 10:14 pm on August 23, 2011 by Allahpundit

Via Timothy Carney, this appears to be real.

Is it real or just a goof? Kevin Williamson isn’t sure and neither am I, but given that this is the same guy who fantasized recently about the Keynesian awesomeness of an alien invasion, it’s at least a toss-up. All day long I’ve felt relieved that the quake caused only very minor damage, but now suddenly I’m bummed that the Brooklyn Bridge didn’t fall into the river. Maybe we can get DHS or the NYPD to blow it up? That’s a few thousand jobs right there.

Exit question: Who’s up for breaking some windows?

Update: Added a question mark to the headline because there’s no way to prove that that’s really him updating that Google+ page. But there’s also nothing on the page that suggests it’s a parody. If someone’s impersonating him, that’s an odd way to do it.

Update: If it’s not him, it sure sounds like him. Here’s a bona fide Krugman original, published … September 14, 2001.

It seems almost in bad taste to talk about dollars and cents after an act of mass murder. Nonetheless, we must ask about the economic aftershocks from Tuesday’s horror.

These aftershocks need not be major. Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack — like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression — could even do some economic good. But there are already ominous indications that some will see this tragedy not as an occasion for true national unity, but as an opportunity for political profiteering…

First, the driving force behind the economic slowdown has been a plunge in business investment. Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings. As I’ve already indicated, the destruction isn’t big compared with the economy, but rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.

Second, the attack opens the door to some sensible recession-fighting measures. For the last few weeks there has been a heated debate among liberals over whether to advocate the classic Keynesian response to economic slowdown, a temporary burst of public spending. There were plausible economic arguments in favor of such a move, but it was questionable whether Congress could agree on how to spend the money in time to be of any use — and there was also the certainty that conservatives would refuse to accept any such move unless it were tied to another round of irresponsible long-term tax cuts. Now it seems that we will indeed get a quick burst of public spending, however tragic the reasons.

Update: As of Wednesday morning, the “Krugman” Google+ profile has disappeared and this guy is claiming he, not Krugman, was behind it. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know; we’ll have to wait for the man himself to weigh in. But if it wasn’t his profile, I’m mighty curious to know whether he agrees with the point made about the quake. It’s the same Keynesian argument as in his post-9/11 piece. If the quake is different somehow, what makes it different?

Update: And here’s the man himself weighing in. It wasn’t his Google+ page. Duly noted, and I apologize for the error. But I hope he addresses the argument in the fake tweet on his blog. If World War II ended the Great Depression, why is it outrageous to think a Keynesian might see an economic boon to a natural calamity?

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Again, Krugman shows that a Nobel Prize is no guarantee of even competence in a subject.

His field of economic study was very narrow – the statistical relationship between international trade and the business cycle. It didn’t require any general knowledge of economics, just a detailed understanding of data collection methods and the use of analytical tools.

Besides, his work was nearly 20 years old and not all that significant in the first place: he won the Prize for hating Bush.

Adjoran on August 23, 2011 at 11:59 PM

I’m not surprised that maroon is pushing the broken window fallacy.

single stack on August 23, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Like Microsoft pushing Windows Vista – another broken windows fallacy.
(Or is it flatulence?)

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on August 24, 2011 at 12:07 AM

Krugmann is getting more and more insane with every day that passes.

Sorry, Professor Krugmann, that we can’t get Hitler to invade Poland again, or for Mars to attack for real.

Really Right on August 24, 2011 at 12:24 AM

Does Krugman claim that the tsunami in Japan is good for their economy?

Schadenfreude on August 24, 2011 at 12:32 AM

Look, these lefties need to get their theories aligned.

If we can break some windows, we’ll spur the economy.

But all those broken windows in Japan dragged the economy down.

Well, which is it?

When they’re looking for an excuse for the crappy economic growth, they throw Japan’s earthquake out there every single time.

But now the broken windows would be good.

FFS I wish they’d get on the same page.

ButterflyDragon on August 24, 2011 at 12:37 AM

This guy is such a ghoul.

DeathB4Tyranny on August 24, 2011 at 12:39 AM

Look for my new book on Amazon titled, Aliens and Earthquakes, oh and I have another coming out soon How the Tea Party Enslaved Black America Using Telekinetics and Mind Control.

Africanus on August 24, 2011 at 12:44 AM

Krugman was really hoping for that alien invasion – then again he looks like the kind of guy who would enjoy an anal probe.

theflyonthewall on August 24, 2011 at 12:57 AM

Just amazing. Someone should send him a copy of Henry Hazlit’s “Economics in One Lesson.”

NNtrancer on August 24, 2011 at 1:00 AM

I don’t really care if this moron said it because I know for a fact there are progressives out there who do actually think a good catastrophe would be good for the economy. Unless of course it is an oil spill in the gulf that kills birdies and makes The Messiah look bad.

csdeven on August 24, 2011 at 1:02 AM

LOL! Krugman has evidently adopted his economic theory from Zorg in the movie “5th Element”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krcNIWPkNzA

EasyEight on August 24, 2011 at 1:04 AM

For Krugman and his ilk, what this country really needs is large projects to move large holes in the ground around. If they need to build railroads to do that, even better.

pedestrian on August 24, 2011 at 1:06 AM

I think this pretty much sums it up.

KEYNES
We could have done better, had we only spent more
Too bad that only happens when there’s a World War
You can carp all you want about stats and regression
Do you deny World War II cut short the Depression?

HAYEK
Wow. One data point and you’re jumping for joy
the Last time I checked, wars only destroy
There was no multiplier, consumption just shrank
As we used scarce resources for every new tank

Pretty perverse to call that prosperity
Rationed meat, Rationed butter… a life of austerity
When that war spending ended your friends cried disaster
yet the economy thrived and grew faster

KEYNES
You too only see what you want to see
The spending on war clearly goosed GDP
Unemployment was over, almost down to zero
That’s why I’m the master, that’s why I’m the hero

HAYEK
Creating employment’s a straightforward craft
When the nation’s at war, and there’s a draft
If every worker was staffed in the army and fleet
We’d have full employment and nothing to eat

http://econstories.tv/2011/04/28/fight-of-the-century-music-video/

r keller on August 24, 2011 at 1:26 AM

Well, Krugman sort of had it right.

If the earthquake had opened up the earth under his feet and swallowed him down about 10,000 feet or more, the economy probably would improve.

The Left’s favorite pseudo-economist commentator would no longer be able to publish his idiotic crap to influence the weak minded.

LegendHasIt on August 24, 2011 at 1:36 AM

Like Microsoft pushing Windows Vista – another broken windows fallacy.
(Or is it flatulence?)
Dr. Carlo Lombardi on August 24, 2011 at 12:07 AM

I helped a few people with their Vista machines. I still like the hourglass — and despise the whirling blue ring to this day.

Feedie on August 24, 2011 at 1:40 AM

Someone needs to explain to Krugman that a nation that can’t afford “a quick burst of public spending” when disaster strikes doesn’t get an “economic boost,” it gets unsightly ruins.

HitNRun on August 24, 2011 at 1:47 AM

Yeah Paul….WW2 was an economic boom

Dollayo on August 24, 2011 at 2:33 AM

God Almighty! That guy is beyond nuts.

Lon Chaney on August 24, 2011 at 2:35 AM

Time to call up the guys with the butterfly nets.

John the Libertarian on August 24, 2011 at 3:08 AM

Don’t worry, Paul, the nice men in the white coats are here to help you.

theflyonthewall on August 24, 2011 at 4:50 AM

Forget Japan. Now we know why Haiti has become the world’s economic powerhouse that it is. Who’d a thunk it? All we can do is sit back and marvel.

tpitman on August 24, 2011 at 6:09 AM

So when Karl Rove’s Weather Control Machine hit NOLA, it wasn’t proof that George W. Bush hates black people, it was proof that he loves them and wants them to have more jobs.

The Monster on August 23, 2011 at 10:40 PM

And just look, 6 years later they’re still cleaning up after that mess. Do ya think that Paul would take a moment to say “Thank You” to GDub for all of those great jobs he created? ..not holding mah breath..

ted c on August 24, 2011 at 6:39 AM

Someone needs to explain to Krugman that a nation that can’t afford “a quick burst of public spending” when disaster strikes doesn’t get an “economic boost,” it gets unsightly ruins.

HitNRun on August 24, 2011 at 1:47 AM

yeah, but those are OUR RUINS dammit!
/palestinians/

ted c on August 24, 2011 at 6:40 AM

Forget Japan. Now we know why Haiti has become the world’s economic powerhouse that it is. Who’d a thunk it? All we can do is sit back and marvel.

tpitman on August 24, 2011 at 6:09 AM

Yes, that does make perfect sense. In Krugman’s world. He looks a bit demented, actually….

chai on August 24, 2011 at 6:50 AM

So was Hurricane Katrina or the Gulf Oil Spill included in Krugman’s list of “Top 10 Disasters and Calamities that Were the Best Boosts to the US Economy”.

If Krugman could choose between an Earthquake, Hurricane or Nuclear Meltdown as the best way to boost the economy, which would he choose?
Answer: All of the above.

albill on August 24, 2011 at 6:55 AM

if you accept his ideology, it all makes sense, of course reality says otherwise.

rob verdi on August 24, 2011 at 7:01 AM

It’s hard for me to believe that Krugman gets paid to write/talk about economics.

kregg on August 24, 2011 at 7:02 AM

To: Paul Krugman

From: Nobel Prize Committee

Dear Sir:

Due to the continuous beclowning you make, of yourself and the study of Economic Theory, while posing as someone with a Doctorate in Economics, please return the Nobel Economics Prize Medal and any remaining funds. Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.

Yours truly

Thorbjørn Jagland

jcw46 on August 24, 2011 at 7:19 AM

Does Krugman claim that the tsunami in Japan is good for their economy?
Schadenfreude on August 24, 2011 at 12:32 AM

That’s a great point. If these disasters are so great, why didn’t the Japanese tsunami generate growth in Japan. And why is Obama blaming the tsunami as part of his bad luck?

RedSoxNation on August 24, 2011 at 7:27 AM

What happens if you don’t have the money to rebuild and can’t borrow it? Does the disaster still provide growth? And why doesn’t Krugman ever talk about the “net” effect of this disaster growth…

RedSoxNation on August 24, 2011 at 7:32 AM

Did the Washington monument fall on obongo?

Then I’m afraid he’s not correct

Sonosam on August 24, 2011 at 7:43 AM

It’s so easy when you just make stuff up. Liberalism as a mental disease just keeps making more sense every day.

BetseyRoss on August 24, 2011 at 7:47 AM

I was kidding all during the events in Japan and recently about the battle for Tripoli that the Left would come out and cheer that it would create a bunch of broken windows and shovel-ready projects… I even used the “/Krugman” tag… I can’t believe this guy is this stupid.

Why don’t we just get those f;ash mobs to go through our cities smashing windows, street lights and windshields… the inner cities would explode with economic growth. Oops, better be careful or I might be giving Kruggie some ideas!

mankai on August 24, 2011 at 7:51 AM

And why is Obama blaming the tsunami as part of his bad luck?

RedSoxNation on August 24, 2011 at 7:27 AM

Lack of imagination? Desperation? Dementia?

SKYFOX on August 24, 2011 at 7:52 AM

Does Krugman claim that the tsunami in Japan is good for their economy?

Schadenfreude on August 24, 2011 at 12:32 AM

You kid, but the Left is way ahead of you.

http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2011/03/21/the-earthquake-could-actually-be-good-for-japans-economy-long-term/

mankai on August 24, 2011 at 8:04 AM

Krugman’s a couple of fries short of a Happy Meal.

kingsjester on August 24, 2011 at 8:06 AM

So we the Left was correct all along… we shouldn’t have been bombing Baghdad (lucky jerks!), we should have been bombing NYC, DC and Philadelphia.

Imagine the positive economic impact!

mankai on August 24, 2011 at 8:07 AM

Krugman’s comment conforms to socialist dogma that the acquisition and distribution of money takes precedence over what the rest of us regard as human values. They view mankind as merely a collection of ‘economic units’.

Louis on August 24, 2011 at 8:14 AM

If only the earthquake had done more damage, the economy would have gotten a boost

There are two inexact sciences-economics and psychology-in which the “experts” are all certifiable lunatics, their “expert predictions” are 100% (or nearly so ) wrong and if you attempt to challenge their veracity, they hit you over the head with credentials-degrees, licenses, books and treatises written.

MaiDee on August 24, 2011 at 8:25 AM

Neither panic or emergency spending revives an economy. Krugman can now be easily dismissed forevermore.

rbj on August 24, 2011 at 8:38 AM

LegendHasIt on August 24, 2011 at 1:36 AM

Almost. If you substitute D.C. for Krugman then it would free up the economy and we’d be off and running.

chemman on August 24, 2011 at 8:47 AM

It doesn’t matter what the circumstance is, Paul Krugman will always advocate more government spending as the magical solution to any and all economic problems. Any tragedy, foible, or ruse that promises more government spending is good news to him. What was that about the left and magical thinking?

dkmonroe on August 24, 2011 at 8:58 AM

I made the same point joking around yesterday with some other added “bonuses” if only the quake had turned out to be worse and there was widespread devastation similar to Haiti or any other disaster. I’m glad none of that happened. and especially being in NJ.

First, obviously any damage done by the earthquake would require some amount of money to be spent to fix/rebuild. Instant oppty for more of those dumbazz construction signs touting the project being funded by the stimulus.

Second, this comes at a time when Obama is widely seen as fiddling while Rome burns. What better way to demonstrate his engagement then for him to have jumped right into Navy One and fly to NYC to survey the scene. He and his handlers would’ve had the mother of all press conferences. It would’ve made his fake coliseum acceptance speech look like Uncle Floyd’s cable access show.

Third, it would’ve provided a plausible economic background for the supposed jobs package that he’ll be announcing in a couple weeks when he gets around to it, after a few more rounds of golf, some more meetings with Warren Buffet who’s basically senile at this point, and a couple date nights with Moochelle. Imagine if he were able to frame the argument like he always does. Straw man on the left, those that want to spend without any regard to budget. straw man on the right, evil anti-american tea party congress wants to kill grandma. obama the centrist in the middle, compromising to only spend a trillion dollars for a million new construction jobs up and down the coast. lefties and other certifiable idiots would’ve lapped it up. Tingles thrill would be back.

now Obummer’s Regime is back to the point they were at last week. having no plan other than to propose meaningless tweaks here and there with some new spending.

smfic on August 24, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Certifiable nutz

Wade on August 24, 2011 at 9:10 AM

It’s a terrible and reaffirming fact of life when there is some form of disaster people pick themselves up, mourn their losses and try to get back their lives. Insurance replacement helps local economies.

Surely our govt will find trillions of dollars of damage needing replacement over the next ten years

MarkT on August 24, 2011 at 9:11 AM

By this logic, shouldn’t all Londoners be thanking the rioters?

DrMagnolias on August 24, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Out: Shovel-ready projects.
In: Coffin-filling projects.

Ward Cleaver on August 24, 2011 at 9:41 AM

By this logic, shouldn’t all Londoners be thanking the rioters?

DrMagnolias on August 24, 2011 at 9:13 AM

I’m glad to see that the cops in the UK are actually going around and arresting looters in their homes, and recovering stolen property.

And in some places, the layabouts who were involved in the riots are losing their benefits and their council flats.

Ward Cleaver on August 24, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Tell it to New Orleans

Wade on August 24, 2011 at 10:38 AM

After all complaining about the size of an Earthquake after asking for Space Aliens… that is just so NOT Krugman… /sarcasm

Honestly, how are we supposed to tell what is not his stupidity and what is?

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on August 24, 2011 at 10:38 AM

This from Krugman himself:

So if you see me quoted as saying something really stupid or outrageous, and it didn’t come from the Times or some other verifiable site, you should probably assume it was a fake.

He’s right. He says plenty of stupid and outrageous things in the Times as it is.

halfastro on August 24, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Fake but accurate?

DaveC on August 24, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Even when Krugman deserves an apology, he lies about it. NRO didn’t “attack” him. Which his readers would know if he linked to it, which is why he didn’t.

Jim Treacher on August 24, 2011 at 12:15 PM

But does he agree with the sentiment of the post..?

d1carter on August 24, 2011 at 12:37 PM

So if you see me quoted as saying something really stupid or outrageous, and it didn’t come from the Times or some other verifiable site, you should probably assume it was a fake.

But it’s consistent with your economic theories.

“Infrastructure” projects are the result of natural forces, but applied over a longer period. So what is the economic difference between an earthquake damaging a bridge in 2011 and a bridge in 2011 needing repairs after 40 years of weathering?

mankai on August 24, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Ward Cleaver on August 24, 2011 at 9:45 AM

That‘s good news. I’d love to think it will inspire meaningful change, but…no.

DrMagnolias on August 24, 2011 at 2:45 PM

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