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Voice of the Mainstream



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I am on book promotion duty at the moment and, as a sensitive soul and insecure little author, it is naturally distressing when one hears circuitously from respectable TV bookers that one is considered a bit too “fringe” and “out of the mainstream” for their tastes. So I’m always interested to discover what these shows consider “mainstream.”

Yesterday the “Fareed Zakaria GPS” show hosted Paul Krugman of the New York Times. Professor Krugman, the Nobel Prize–winning economist, has spent the last couple of years arguing that World War Two is proof that Keynesian stimulus works. But, in our present economic crisis, he’s now decided that massive global conflagration between conventional nation states leading to tens of millions of deaths is nickel’n'diming it and we need to think big:

KRUGMAN: It’s very hard to get inflation in a depressed economy. But if you had a program of government spending plus an expansionary policy by the Fed, you could get that. So, if you think about using all of these things together, you could accomplish, you know, a great deal.

If we discovered that, you know, space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren’t any aliens, we’d be better –

ROGOFF: And we need Orson Welles, is what you’re saying.

KRUGMAN: No, there was a “Twilight Zone” episode like this in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. Well, this time, we don’t need it, we need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus.

And, even when the lid gets blown off, the demand for “The Invasion From Planet Zongo Was An Inside Job” bumper stickers will stimulate a second economic boom!



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