Monday, January 11, 2010

Economics

Paul Krugman says Europe is not an economic hell-hole. I have no idea how to assess his article or counterclaims—I might as well try to evaluate the Riemann hypothesis—but it interests me because in the circles I travel, it is taken practically as axiomatic that Europe is a disaster, and that any policy that makes the United States one bit more like Europe is bound to destroy our country. In fact, it seems that literally everyone except for me understands exactly how the economy works.

What confuses me most about the economy is that when the economy is good, it's always the result of your guy's actions—right now if he's in power right now, the last time he was in power otherwise; and, when the economy is bad, it's always the result of the other guy's actions—right now if he's in power right now, the last time he was in power otherwise. But this general truth does not change, regardless of which party I talk to—and it must be true, because everyone is so damn sure. So, neither party ever gets the economy wrong, and both parties always get the economy wrong. There seems to be some kind of tension, here. But then, my problem surely is that I'm trying to apply logic to politics—always a losing proposition.

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