...W.P.A.-type programs putting the unemployed to work doing useful things like repairing roads.As per usual, he does not explain where the money will come from for such make-work projects. Since the money will come as a result of taxes, increased debt or money printing, it means those taxed will have less of their own money to spend (or invest), borrowing will crowd out the private sector and inflation will hurt those that are last in line to get the money. It is hard to understand how Krugman doesn't understand that a WPA-program is just wealth transfer via theft.
Curiously though, it does not appear that this Krugman prescription will have any traction in the Obama Administration. Jared Bernstein, who until recently was Vice-President Biden's top economic adviser, responds to Krugman:
There will be no WPA-type programs in our near future. There was no appetite for them in the Obama admin in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression and there’s a lot less now. The reasons for that are interesting and I’ll speak to them another day. But it ain’t happening.Could there be some voices of sanity at the White House? Let's hope Bernstein follows through on his promise to lift the curtain a bit more and fill us in on the great impediment blocking a WPA-economic distortion type program.
But, don't think for a minute that Bernstein is one of those voices of sanity. Here's Bernstein on Krugman:
Don’t you get a little bummed out when you open the paper on a Krugman day and he’s not there, or when he says he won’t be adding to his blog for a few days because of travel? What’s more, I could be wrong, but seems to me that when Paul is away, the Very Serious People he worries about say crazier stuff. It’s as if up on Capitol Hill, they’re going, “Krugman’s on vacation! It’s the perfect time to launch our bill to do away with social insurance once and for all!! Mwahahaha!!!”