Simpson and Bowles and austerity's other sales people aren't really economic thinkers. They're paid to pitch a product. They didn't invent austerity any more than Alex Rodriguez invented Pepsi. But what they're peddling isn't a soft drink. It's a lot worse for you than that.
The Long Depression isn't hitting us all at once. It's taking pieces out of us over the course of years. That's allowed people to define previously unacceptable economic conditions as "The New Normal."
We know that Washington insiders -- and their corporate sponsors -- will keep trying to perpetuate their self-serving mythologies. But let's stop saying that "government should act more like a business." They don't even know what that means.
Whatever the reason, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that if government spending drops, there will be less overall demand in the economy and fewer goods and services will be produced. But Republicans simply won't admit that is true.
As the Vatican learned with Galileo, the truth has a way of resurfacing. Be on the lookout for debt-free, interest-free money, coming soon to a country-needlessly-plunged-into-recession-by-austerity near you.
Paul Krugman's book is called End This Depression Now! (exclamation point included). If that sounds like a self-help book -- the sequel to Listening to Prozac, maybe, or something by Dr. Wayne Dyer -- that's not altogether inappropriate in this age of collective near-despair.
Democrats should consider Sarkozy's fate a cautionary tale -- and a call to action. If they rally around the cause of growth, jobs, and optimism, the nation will benefit and they'll rewarded at the polls.
"I feel stupid," someone said the other day. "I consider myself well-informed, but I have no idea what the term 'austerity economics' really means." Actually it's not that complicated, and most of the lesson plan can be found in today's headlines.
Austerity economics is dominating our politics, too. We're being subjected to the same warped economic strategies that decimated Britain's economy, and our austerity crowd isn't any more deterred by reality than theirs is.
Unless the GOP agrees to a budget deal before year's end, the payroll tax cuts and extended unemployment benefits we have now will end. The scale of this fiscal contraction would be almost unprecedented.
We're seeing the demonization of the victim everywhere. It's in the public hatred for underwater homeowners and now reaches to the highest halls of power in both parties, where we told that helping struggling homeowners would be "rewarding the undeseverving."
London's fires are cooling into ashes, and with any luck they won't be rekindled. But even though the British economy is still a tinderbox, nothing that's happened has dampened some people's enthusiasm for doing the same thing over here.