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“You never open your mouth until you know what the shot is”

[ 56 ] January 18, 2013 |

You may remember Damon Linker from since Centrist* Comedy Classics as “we must burn down reproductive freedom in order to save it.” Today, he’s back with assertions that Matthew Yglesias and Paul Krugman are nutty leftists:

Given that both authors recently endorsed the manifestly absurd idea that the president could pay down a chunk of the nation’s debt by instructing the Treasury Department to mint a trillion-dollar platinum coin, I’m not so sure.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Is Linker arguing — in the course of all but calling Paul Krugman an idiot! — that the point of the platinum coin was to permanently pay off a part of the national debt, as opposed to increasing the money supply so that the United States wouldn’t default on its immediate obligations? (Perhaps his research into the issue began and ended with the Daily Show.) Sadly, he goes on to remove all doubt:

Entitlements will need to be means-tested and spending slashed — for the seemingly obvious reason that revenue cannot be conjured out of thin air.

1)This has nothing to do with the platinum coin debate. Nothing. The coin was not being advocated to address the long-term national debt. 2)The (undefended) idea that absolutely the only possible option in American politics is to slash entitlement spending — how fresh! (Does he invoke “means-testing” although the savings would be negligible? Of course!) For another of his errors, see here.

*”Centrist,” of course, in the “No Labels” sense of “people of all ideologies and partisan identities should come together and concede that the 20th most conservative Republican senator is right about everything.”

Comments (56)

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  1. JKTHs says:

    Dear lord. I didn’t want to give the dude a page view but I was too curious.

    I especially liked this line, along the lines of “we had to destroy the village in order to save it”

    Yet it is also true that the Bush tax cuts merely brought our deeper, longer-term fiscal problems to light a little sooner than economists once predicted. Social Security and especially Medicare were always going to explode the deficit down the road. And that is a problem for which liberals are at least as responsible as Republicans.

    Shit, we should just start handing out McMansion mortgages to people below the poverty line so we can get our next housing crisis over with already!

    • Cody says:

      Yet it is also true that the Bush tax cuts cyanide tablets merely brought our deeper, longer-term fiscal mental problems to light a little sooner than economists psychiatrists once predicted. Social Security and especially Medicare Living a normal life and especially reasonable logical skills were always going to explode the deficit ruin my life down the road. And that is a problem for which liberals are at least as responsible as Republicans.

      This looks like a fun project…

    • herr doktor bimler says:

      Obviously a rational taxation system would have been even worse, as it would have staved off the day of necessary spending cuts even further, perhaps indefinitely!!

    • Warren Terra says:

      Does no one remember back in 2001 when all those Serious People were warning that if the Surplus was used to pay down the Debt then the government would have too much power to spend according to its priorities, rather than according to the constraints of a tight budget, and we wouldn’t properly see the need to Screw The Olds?

      • Cody says:

        Duuude, that’s like so like, the past.

        Stop blaming Bush for your problems! It’s Obama’s fault he didn’t retroactively raise all that tax money he spent on wars.

        It’s been like 4 years, if I had been in office it would’ve taken like 3 months to totally fix America’s economy.

      • Kurzleg says:

        I wish I found this amusing. Instead, I find it the animating factor behind a raging, chronically inept goat fuck.

    • Mister Harvest says:

      Shorter: Any solution that works is incorrect, unless it is my proposed solution.

  2. Jon says:

    There is a clause in the Constitution written in Invisible Freedom® Inc that says that all laws must make sense to “centrist” pundits or else they are unconstitutional.

  3. mark f says:

    Well, he’s a step ahead of CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller:

    The government cannot borrow money in excess of the Debt Limit – no matter how many coins it mints.

  4. I think he’s right; Paul Krugman’s proposal to mint a trillion dollar coin, and then use it to prevent storm surges along the eastern seaboard, is irresponsible and delusional. What a loon.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Wait until he finds out that nutty left-wingers believe in a “federal reserve” that allows the federal government to print some kind of phoney-baloney “money.”

      • The Republicans say that the Federal Reserve is an agent of the New World Order, striving to enslave us all through the massive inflation we’ve witnessed over the past four years.

        The Democrats say that this Federal Reserve can just print money out of nowhere.

        So, really, both sides are the problem here.

    • StevenAttewell says:

      Also, I’m highly skeptical of Krugman’s proposal to use part of our gold reserves to forge this “Ash nazg.”

    • Jonas says:

      All very sensible people agree that a $3 trillion coin would contain so much platinum that it could be used to shore up the whole eastern seaboard.

      Or it could be used in a vending machine to buy a 3000 TeraLiter Coke. But not in New York City.

  5. Epicurus says:

    Mr. Linker has apparently never heard of the old aphorism “‘T’is better to keep one’s mouth shut, and be thought a fool…” Apparently, the Internet has removed all doubt, but that’s not stopping a lot of idiots from pushing the “Post” button. (Present company excepted, naturally!)

  6. david mizner says:

    In his piece today Krugman pretty much prebuts Linker by pointing out that the austerians’ argument comes down to “everybody knows.” And here’s Linker: “Everyone who looks at the issue honestly admits that addressing this deeper problem will require significant tax hikes as well as deep spending cuts.”

    Well, Krugman looked at this issue, apparently dishonestly, and says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/18/opinion/krugman-the-dwindling-deficit.html

    It’s true that right now we have a large federal budget deficit. But that deficit is mainly the result of a depressed economy — and you’re actually supposed to run deficits in a depressed economy to help support overall demand. The deficit will come down as the economy recovers: Revenue will rise while some categories of spending, such as unemployment benefits, will fall. Indeed, that’s already happening. (And similar things are happening at the state and local levels — for example, California appears to be back in budget surplus.)

    Still, will economic recovery be enough to stabilize the fiscal outlook? The answer is, pretty much.

    • Joshua says:

      The key to this statement, as you allude to, is the word “honestly”, it means that anyone who doesn’t agree is obviously some sort of unserious rogue, not fit for cocktail party invitations.

      The Village has hated Paul Krugman for over a decade now, for one reason and one reason only – he calls them out on their BS.

    • howard says:

      fwiw, i think we need higher revenues because i want government to be doing more, not the same plus inflation.

      of course, the first thing is to cut defense spending and reallocate the dollars, but even so, the infrastructure investment deficit is startling and worsening and will continue to reduce quality of life.

      this is not to disagree with krugman on his point – the fact is, i’m sure he’d love to increase borrowing to fund infrastructure spending and then pay it off with future higher taxes – but just to note that there is a real way to look honestly at the situation and conclude we do need higher revenues.

      • JKTHs says:

        Sure, but that’s different than saying “ZOMG DEFICITS BURN IT ALL DOWN!!!!” With “it” conveniently only being things that help the poor or middle class.

      • Sev says:

        Would be refreshing to hear someone get on the Sunday shows and say “Well, we have an investment deficit; nothing that couldn’t be fixed with an extra 20 or 30 trillion in spending though.”

        Hmmm.. that’s just 20 or 30 of them newfangled platinum nickles.

        • howard says:

          now you’re talking!

          i don’t have time to track any down, but i’ve seen some very scary charts about aging infrastructure across the country, and its cost in quality of life and economic inefficiency is real and growing, so yes, i’d love to see someone, anyone, speak up for the real interests of the future, which is for the present to do its job in maintaining the capital investments of the past.

          jkths, exactly, that’s why i say i’m not disagreeing with krugman, i’m making a separate point that i feel highly confident that he would agree with himself.

  7. Sly says:

    Next thing you know, pointy-headed liberals will want to so silly shit like fund scientific studies on the nerve cells of fruit flies and bear DNA.

    • mark f says:

      My city had an infestation of Asian long-horned beetles that destroyed like a quarter of our trees. So of course the ex-Democrat ex-mayor (“Hey, I didn’t leave the paaaahhhhty, the pahhhty left me”) who hosts a radio show on a local station that also carries Beck, Limbaugh and Hannity was OUTRAGED at the RIDICULOUSNESS of stimulus money being spent on a study of exotic insects.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      Don’t forget volcano monitoring!

  8. c u n d gulag says:

    Having read Linker, I’m reminded of that great Groucho Marx quote:

    “And East is East and West is West and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste more like prunes than a rhubarb does.”

  9. Tom Hilton says:

    Ohferfuckssake…

    Look, people (and I’m talking to you, No Labels asshats): there are two ways to cut entitlement costs: cut (reduce, means-test, reduce eligibility for) benefits, or cut the cost of healthcare. Coincidentally, private healthcare costs are also out of control (in fact, a little more so than Medicare/Medicaid), to the point that they’re inhibiting overall economic growth. So if we don’t deal with healthcare costs overall, deficits will be the least of our worries because the economy will be wreck. Cutting benefits does not solve that problem, and most benefit-cutting schemes make it worse.

    In other words, cutting healthcare costs rather than benefits is not only the more humane approach–it’s also the only responsible way to do it.

    • BigHank53 says:

      Silly Tom! You’re taking the approach of budgetary efficiency and public welfare maximization! Now, if you had paid attention to the first twenty minutes of Econ 101 and read a bunch of Rand, you would know how the world really works:

      The more of a resource there is, the less it’s worth.
      However, there are fixed limits to some resources, and therefore scarcity, which makes those resources worth more.
      If we manufacture more misery, its price will go down.
      But people won’t want it, so we also need to raise the price of happiness.
      Then all the rich people will be happy, and all the poors will be sad!

      Honestly, it works as well as whatever crap comes out of these pundits.

    • sparks says:

      B..b..but don’t we want to have a thriving healthcare sector?

      (Said in the midst of three hospitals where I live having a dick-measuring new building contest).

    • Malaclypse says:

      If I’m reading the Trust Fund report correctly, Medicare expenses rose 3.4% last year. I don’t remember the last time that I saw an insurance renewal where I work come in that low. This year we’re looking at an 8% rise.

      • Cody says:

        Mal, the insurance is going up to your company 8% because of Obamacare. Same as last year!

        This is obvious, because. You know. Cause all those regulations… and ruining America… etc. etc.

        Damn Obamacare!

        (P.S.: Seriously. Like everyone at work groaned when our insurance went up and blamed it on Obamacare, last year! AND this year!)

        • JKTHs says:

          National health expenditures are growing at very low levels, clearly not cause of Obamacare…it’s barely taken effect yet! How could it possibly have an effect?

          But oh yeah, those premium increases, Obamacare at work.

  10. JKTHs says:

    *”Centrist,” of course, in the “No Labels” sense of “people of all ideologies and partisan identities should come together and concede that the 20th most conservative Republican senator is right about everything.”

    According to DW-NOMINATE for the 111th Congress, ALL HAIL JOHANNS!

  11. snarkout says:

    The debt ceiling is apparently like marginal tax rates; I’d have thought that a basic understanding of what is a fairly simple, if slightly counterintuitive, topic* would be necessary to be taken seriously when opening your piehole on the national stage, but sadly, no.

    * “When marginal tax rates go up, your entire income isn’t taxed at the new rate, just the amount above a certain point!” and “for historical reason, Congress passes the laws that dictate how the Federal budget is spent but separately passes a different bill that authorizes the printing of the money to pay for it” strike me as close enough. Jon Stewart’s writers, get in touch!

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