Krugman’s blog, 9/25/15

There was one post yesterday, “Boehner and the Belt:”

Travel day (domestic), which means that I’m a captive audience for a lot of talking heads on TV. Lots of talk about the Boehner resignation. It was especially excruciating to hear pundits going on about the soon-to-be-ex Speaker’s motivations for not just stepping down, but actually leaving his seat. Is there some rule preventing them from saying the obvious: his extremely lucrative career as a lobbyist can’t start until he’s out of Congress?

But anyway, if there are going to be retrospectives on his tenure, I’d give pride of place to his obstructionism to any and all attempts to rescue the economy as it threatened to plunge into the abyss. His immortal line will be this:

American families are tightening their belt, but they don’t see government tightening its belt.

This was in early 2009, before austerity mania swept the western world; but even then, Boehner was demanding that fiscal policy lean into a recession, not try to offset it. The good news is that Obama managed to pass a significant stimulus anyway, but it wasn’t nearly a big or sustained as it should have been — and it got not a single Republican vote in the House. But Boehner did make a significant contribution: forever after, we have his belt as an illustration of how bad “common sense” macroeconomics can be in a crisis.

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