There's Not Enough Coffee for This on a Sunday Morning

Aaron C sent over the link to today’s NYT column by Princeton economist Alan B. Krueger. In his email, Aaron’s only comment was, “Who say liberals don’t have a sense of humor.” So I clicked and found this:


In one important respect, however, Mr. Obama’s deficit speech disproves the caricature, and contains a bold, serious and timely proposal.

I’m not talking about the president’s plan to curb the growth rate of Medicare expenditures beyond what is already included in health care reform, or his renewed pledge to allow the Bush tax cuts on top income earners to expire — both of which will be difficult to achieve. (An earlier version of the Medicare proposal was projected by the Congressional Budget Office to produce only modest savings, and we all know what happened the last time the top tax rates were held hostage to middle-class tax cuts.)

What I have in mind is his endorsement of a trigger that would automatically kick in to reduce spending and tax expenditures if Congress and the administration fail to bring the debt under control.

It was a deeply unserious speech, no matter what Krueger might say. Then again, Krueger has written a deeply unserious column. Because while Obama’s “trigger” is a means of automatically increasing taxes to match expenditures (think of Congress’s automatic pay raises), Krueger never once uses the phrase “tax increase” or anything like it.

Don’t read the whole thing.



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