Sunday, September 21, 2014

Paul Krugman Reacts to John Boehner the Way We'd Expect

(Updated below)

Playing to the base is easy. Creating jobs without doing anything is hard.
So what does John Boehner do? Legislate? Naw...

I don't know how you expect Paul Krugman to react to comments by John Boehner, comments that an ordinary human should find repulsive but that the Republican base would consider the cornerstone of their fiscal view, but I'm not surprised that Krugman countered Boehner with facts, not a diatribe:
But I’m sticking my toe in for the moment — and whaddya know, oops, he did it again. John Boehner says that unemployed Americans are pretty clearly malingerers, bums on welfare who have decided that they don’t feel like working:
“This idea that has been born, maybe out of the economy over the last couple years, that you know, I really don’t have to work. I don’t really want to do this. I think I’d rather just sit around. This is a very sick idea for our country,” he said.
“If you wanted something you worked for it,” Boehner said, adding, “Trust me, I did it all.”
I could point to the overwhelming economic evidence that nothing like this is happening — after all, if what we were seeing was a mass withdrawal of labor supply, we should be seeing wages for those still willing to work taking off. What we actually see is this:

Boehner's theory notwithstanding -- that the poor are lazy and hiding inside their gilded cage because they don't need no stinking job -- the truth of the matter is that there are no jobs to hide from. If there were jobs to shun amid a shrinking workforce, wages would go up as businesses chase increasingly unavailable workers. That's econ 101, as they say.

What, wages are down and flat as a pancake throughout this jobless recovery? Yes. So Boehner is playing to his base, which, educated by Fox News, eats it up with a spoon. That doesn't make it true or even rational, but when was that a requirement?

Boehner's views are nonsense, but his stating them in the run-up to what might be the last election that can be swayed by the angry white men vote is not. It's carefully calculated. But as Lindsey Graham said, it's a strategy rapidly approaching its sell-by date.

Update. Krugman contemplates a little more Boehner.

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