Krugman’s blog, 6/15/15

There were three posts yesterday.  The first was “Shouting Grexit in a Crowded Theater:”

Some readers have noted that I haven’t said much about the Greek crisis in the past few days. Indeed. It’s crunch time, and right now everyone involved needs to engage in quiet, cool deliberation. There’s really nothing more outsiders can say, at least in public, that we haven’t already said. So it seems to me that for now I should hold back a bit.

Yesterday’s second post was “Absence of Jebmentum:”

Nate Cohn notes Jeb Bush’s failure to nail down the GOP nomination, or even to establish himself as the candidate of the Republican “moderates” (I think we always need scare quotes in this context). Jeb is nowhere close to even having the kind of position Mitt Romney had at this stage.

Cohn thinks this is surprising. But may I suggest that we consider the candidate? Why, exactly, is Jeb Bush someone the Republican establishment should coalesce around?

True, he has name recognition — but not the kind you want. Time was that conservative writers fawned over Jeb’s supposed stellarmanagement of the Florida economy, but we now know that it was nothing but a giant housing bubble. What he did do was bring a new intensity of crony capitalism to the state, and in general he has a lot of business career explaining to do.

Say what you like about Mitt Romney — and there isn’t much that liberals should like — he was at least a successful businessman, someone who managed the Olympics well, and for that matter a successful health care reformer even if he ran away from his own achievement. What, other than his now double-edged family connections, does Bush bring to the table?

The last post yesterday was “Bubble!”:

It’s tempting! to ridicule! Jeb Bush! over his ludicrous campaign logo! But it would be wrong.

He should, instead, be ridiculed over his ludicrous, self-aggrandizing economic claims.

Incredibly, Jeb! is running on his economic record as governor of Florida, on the claim that he knows how to create growth — 4 percent growth, no less — because of the way Florida prospered during his term in office:

We made Florida number one in job creation and number one in small business creation. 1.3 million new jobs, 4.4 percent growth, higher family income, eight balanced budgets, and tax cuts eight years in a row that saved our people and businesses 19 billion dollars.

During those years, of course, Florida experienced the mother of all housing bubbles — and when the bubble burst (luckily for Jeb! just after he left office) it promptly wiped out 900,000 of those 1.3 million jobs:

So Jeb! is basically promising that as president, he can generate Florida-style bubbles, which bring disaster when they burst, to the rest of America!

And not incidentally, you might think that the debacle in Kansas would finally kill any notion that conservatives know the secrets of rapid growth. I know, derp abides, but still.

Consider, if you will, the contrast. Hillary Clinton has come under some criticism over the question of whether she really has a plan to achieve her populist agenda. Are there really policies that can reverse the rise in inequality? Could she get them through Congress?

But Jeb! is living in a world of pure fantasy, in which supply-side policies can produce economic miracles despite abundant evidence that they do no such thing. He’s even put a ludicrous number on the goal — 4 percent growth, which nobody has any idea how to achieve.

This is a lot funnier than his adventures in punctuation.


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