Krugman’s Weak Evidence Expires Within One Week
Earlier this week I wrote about a nonsensical blog post by Paul Krugman (sorry, redundant) in which he tried to cite the gap between Ireland’s CDS spreads and Spain’s as evidence that markets are not impressed by commitments to fiscal austerity. Well, a mere six days later, Spain’s CDS spreads have caught up with and are now virtually identical to Ireland’s. I don’t suppose this proves anything about whether the markets are impressed by commitments to fiscal austerity, but it certainly demonstrates that Krugman’s argument was preposterous (cripes, I did it again).
Krugman’s latest column can be summed up as follows: Germany should be engaging in a lot more deficit spending, because right now their borrowing costs are so low. For such an esteemed economist, he seems not to have a very firm grasp of how good credit risks with low borrowing costs turn into bad credit risks with high borrowing costs. Hint: It involves following Krugman’s advice.
As for the question Krugman spends the column wringing his hands over — why won’t the Germans just take his advice and spend, spend, spend? — I can provide the answer: They don’t want to join the end of this line, especially when many of them sense they are already there.