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Friday, February 24, 2012

Paul Krugman: Romney’s Economic Closet

What can we learn from the fact that Mitt Romney is "running a campaign of almost pathological dishonesty"? That he can't be trusted:

Romney’s Economic Closet, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: According to Michael Kinsley, a gaffe is when a politician accidently tells the truth. That’s certainly what happened to Mitt Romney on Tuesday... Speaking in Michigan, Mr. Romney was asked about deficit reduction, and he absent-mindedly said something completely reasonable: “If you just cut,... as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy.” A-ha. So he believes that cutting government spending hurts growth, other things equal.
The right’s ideology police were, predictably, aghast... And a Romney spokesman tried to walk back the remark... But... Almost surely, he is, in fact, a closet Keynesian.
How do we know this? Well,... while his grasp of world affairs does sometimes seem shaky, he has to be aware of the havoc austerity policies are wreaking in Greece, Ireland and elsewhere.
Beyond that, we know who he turns to for economic advice; heading the list are Glenn Hubbard ... and N. Gregory Mankiw... While both men are loyal Republican spear-carriers ... both also have long track records as professional economists. And what these track records suggest is that neither of them believes any of the propositions that have become litmus tests for would-be G.O.P. presidential candidates. ...
Given his advisers, then, it seems safe to assume that what Mr. Romney blurted out Tuesday reflected his real economic beliefs — as opposed to ... what the Republican base wants to hear. And therein lies the reason Mr. Romney acts the way he does, why he is running a campaign of almost pathological dishonesty. ...
What this diagnosis implies, of course, is that the many people on the right who don’t trust Mr. Romney ... are correct in their suspicions. He’s playing a role, and it’s anyone’s guess what lies beneath the mask.
So should those who don’t share the right’s faith be comforted by the evidence that Mr. Romney doesn’t believe anything he’s saying? Should we, in particular, assume that, once elected, he would actually follow sensible economic policies? Alas, no.
For the cynicism and lack of moral courage that have been so evident in the campaign wouldn’t suddenly vanish... If he doesn’t dare disagree with economic nonsense now, why imagine that he would become willing to challenge that nonsense later? And bear in mind that if elected, he would be watched like a hawk for signs of apostasy by the very people he’s trying so desperately to appease right now.
The truth is that Mr. Romney is so deeply committed to insincerity that neither side can trust him to do what it considers to be the right thing.

    Posted by on Friday, February 24, 2012 at 02:35 AM Permalink  Comments (124)

          


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