The incorrigible Nobel Prize winner, with no sense of logic, in his latest column:
Next, write off anyone who asserts that it’s always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their money.
Here’s how to think about this argument: it implies that we should shut down the air traffic control system. After all, that system is paid for with fees on air tickets — and surely it would be better to let the flying public keep its money rather than hand it over to government bureaucrats. If that would mean lots of midair collisions, hey, stuff happens.
By what logic, if it can be called logic, does this follow? It might imply that we ought to privatize air traffic control. But then Krugman would have to show, yes, using the methods of logic and induction, that air traffic control is a public good whose provision is only possible through a tax on air tickets. Of course, he’d also have to demonstrate how a user tax bears any resemblance to a you-rot in jail-unless-you-pay tax.
Krugman makes an argument against a minority opinion–one that says it’s always better to cut taxes–but really he comes off sounding as though he always wants to increase government spending. A more honest thinker would provide some kind of criteria for how he decides if and when and to what extent government spending is good. Tossing out non-sequitors of numbing grossness works on the Times’ op-ed page, but in more sober symposium, it smacks of stupidity.