Sunday, February 26, 2012

Exposed: Romney is a Closet Keynesian

None other than major league Keynesian Paul Krugman exposes Mitt Romney for the Keynesian he is.

Krugman writes:
According to Michael Kinsley, a gaffe is when a politician accidently tells the truth. That's certainly what happened to Mitt Romney on Tuesday, when in a rare moment of candor -- and, in his case, such moments are really, really rare -- he gave away the game.

Speaking in Michigan, Romney was asked about deficit reduction, and he absent-mindedly said something completely reasonable: "If you just cut, if all you're thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you'll slow down the economy." A-ha. So he believes that cutting government spending hurts growth, other things equal.

...a Romney spokesman tried to walk back the remark, claiming, "The governor's point was that simply slashing the budget, with no affirmative pro-growth policies, is insufficient to get the economy turned around."

But that's not what the candidate said, and it's very unlikely that it's what he meant. Almost surely, he is, in fact, a closet Keynesian...

we know who he turns to for economic advice; heading the list are Glenn Hubbard of Columbia University and N. Gregory Mankiw of Harvard. While both men are loyal Republican spear-carriers -- each served for a time as chairman of George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers -- both also have long track records as professional economists. And what these track records suggest is that neither of them believes any of the propositions that have become litmus tests for would-be GOP presidential candidates.

Consider Mankiw, in particular. Modern Republicans detest Keynes; Mankiw is the editor of a collection of papers titled "New Keynesian Economics." In an early edition of his best-selling textbook, he dismissed supply-side economics -- the doctrine embraced by the sainted Ronald Reagan -- as the creation of "charlatans and cranks." And, in 2009, he called for higher inflation as a solution to the economic crisis, a position anathema to Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, who warn ominously about the evil of "debasing" our currency.

Given his advisers, then, it seems safe to assume that what Romney blurted out Tuesday reflected his real economic beliefs -- as opposed to the nonsense he pretends to believe, because it's what the Republican base wants to hear.

And therein lies the reason Romney acts the way he does, why he is running a campaign of almost pathological dishonesty...

As I see it, it comes down to the cynicism underlying the whole enterprise. Once you've decided to hide your beliefs and say whatever you think will get you the nomination, to pretend to agree with people you privately believe are fools, why worry at all about truth?

What this diagnosis implies, of course, is that the many people on the right who don't trust Romney, who don't believe that he's truly committed to their political faith, are correct in their suspicions. He's playing a role, and it's anyone's guess what lies beneath the mask...

The truth is that Mr. Romney is so deeply committed to insincerity that neither side can trust him to do what it considers to be the right thing.
Krugman is clueless when it comes to correct economic theory, but he is spot on in identifying fellow Keynesians. There has never been more truth written about Romney.


  1. Willard Romney believes that government bureaucrats must confiscate wealth from one sector and redistribute it to another sector, the GOVERNMENT sector! To him, cutting the government is like taking away their toys.

    Willard is just of that kind of mindset that doesn't approve of leaving people alone to pursue their own interests in a society of freedom.

    Meanwhile, Ron Paul not only wants to cut spending, he wants to ELIMINATE whole departments and entire programs, and shrink the federal government dramatically (and, one hopes, shrink it into non-existence!).

  2. In my book, any government that impacts the general economy in any noticeable way when it cuts spending, even by 100%, is too large.

  3. Here is Hayek (on Firing Line, 1977 before Buckley changed the subject) explaining how scientific Keynesianism swept the world:

    Hayek: You see, another political element was that, of course, politicians just lapped the argument and Keynes taught them if you outspend your income and run a deficit, you are doing good to the people in general. The politicians didn’t want to hear anything more than that -- to be told that irresponsible spending was a beneficial thing and that’s how the thing became so influential.

    Someone tell Romney.

  4. There is no way Ron or Rand could be on the ticket or even in the same admin as Romney. He is a keynesian, war monger, and anti-civil liberties. Romney has a lot more in common with Obama than with either Paul.

  5. Robert Wenzel writes, "Krugman is clueless when it comes to correct economic theory ...."

    But, like Keynes, is he really so clueless? Or does advocating such policies constitute a backhanded way to increase government spending? After all, voters will go only so far in approving high taxes for themselves.

  6. Nobody on the Right is committed to free market economics other than Ron and Rand. Everyone is Keynesian. It's at epidemic proportions.