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Paul Krugman can't figure out why anyone worries about debt

Paul Krugman (Credit: YouTube)

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is scratching his head: Why are so many people worried about a "fiscal apocalypse" in America?

Despite knocking on the door of $17 trillion in national debt, Krugman writes in frustration about a "debt crisis that keeps not happening, and, in fact, can’t happen to a country like the United States..." We can print our own money, Krugman explains. Problem solved, or something.

Krugman points to Alan Greenspan and others who warn that our unsustainable spending will be our undoing as fear-mongerers who "literally have no idea what they’re talking about."

On the Chicken Little aspect: It’s actually awesome, in a way, to realize how long cries of looming disaster have filled our airwaves and op-ed pages. For example, I just reread an op-ed article by Alan Greenspan in The Wall Street Journal, warning that our budget deficit will lead to soaring inflation and interest rates. What about the reality of low inflation and low rates? That, he declares in the article, is “regrettable, because it is fostering a sense of complacency.”

It’s curious how readily people who normally revere the wisdom of markets declare the markets all wrong when they fail to panic the way they’re supposed to. But the really striking thing at this point is the date: Mr. Greenspan’s article was published in June 2010, almost three and a half years ago — and both inflation and interest rates remain low.

So has the ex-Maestro reconsidered his views after having been so wrong for so long? Not a bit. His new (and pretty bad) book declares that “the bias toward unconstrained deficit spending is our top domestic economic problem.”

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