Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman appeared on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, where he and a panel of individuals admitted that the American economy is suffering greatly, and that the ramifications are likely to be both short and long term.
While NPR asked, “Is slow growth actually good for the economy?” Krugman maintains: “allowing unemployment to stay near 9%, allowing the number of long-term unemployed to be four million– which it hasn’t been since the 1930’s– [is] destroying skills, destroying the attachment of workers to the workforce.”
He continued: “A depressed economy has really devastating effects not just on the short-term, but on the long-term.”
However, rather than place the responsibility for the failing economy on the executive branch, Krugman slammed Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke for not “acting on the convictions he expressed as an academic.”
Here is a clip of the interaction:
“I think what’s happened to Bernanke– as I say he’s been assimilated by the borg– he’s become more concerned, probably unconsciously, with defending the Fed’s institutional safety because it’s the apostle of price stability, than with doing whatever he can to get this economy moving. If you listen to professor Bernanke himself ten years ago, he would know that he was supposed to be doing more.”
This follows an article Krugman wrote earlier this week, where he explained: “The Bernanke Conundrum — the divergence between what Professor Bernanke advocated and what Chairman Bernanke has actually done — can be reconciled in a few possible ways. Maybe Professor Bernanke was wrong, and there’s nothing more a policy maker in this situation can do. Maybe politics are the impediment, and Chairman Bernanke has been forced to hide his inner professor. Or maybe the onetime academic has been assimilated by the Fed Borg and turned into a conventional central banker. Whichever account you prefer, however, the fact is that the Fed isn’t doing the job many economists expected it to do, and a result is mass suffering for American workers.”
Krugman’s attack on Bernanke and the Fed leaves those critical of the president’s economic policies wondering whether Bernanke will soon replace George W. Bush as the political “scapegoat” who receives much of the blame for economic woes by members of the media and the administration, or whether Bernanke will be evaluated alongside the president and Congress when determining who is to blame?
But more than that– what does “assimilated by the borg” actually mean, in this context?