Obama the Fiscal Conservative?

Um, no.

Krugman is back to his worst:

Here’s debt as a percentage of GDP in 2021 (using the OMB numbers(pdf) for Obama and CRFB for the others):

Yeah, right. Obama — the guy under whose watch Congress increased the debt by 50% — is now the fiscal conservative?

The problem with all of this is that this is based on projections and models and not on that troublesome thing called reality. The economy is a complex, non-linear, multi-dimensional thing. It is a seething, writhing mass of humans, animals, weather, markets, desires, processes, and ideas, and modelling that is (at very, very best) troublesome, or at worst impossible. All of these projections could be wildly and completely wrong.

And these bozos have been completely wrong before.

Jonathan Chait lays it out:

Although OMB and CBO used quite different policy assumptions, both foresaw surpluses starting in 2012 — CBO projected a surplus of $87 billion for 2012; OMB projected a surplus of $48 billion for 2012.

Whereas — back in reality — we have a deficit of $1.3 trillion. So they were only (roughly) $1350 billion out. That’s only 2700%!

It’s something of an understatement to say that we should treat such predictions with extreme scepticism: the kind of scepticism you’d treat, say, an unsolicited e-mail from the Crown Prince of Nigeria telling you that he needed help getting $2 billion out of the country, and offering you a $10 million slice if you can send $2,000 up front by Western Union.

In a later post, Krugman back-pedalled a little:


So it remains true that all of the proposals, except maybe Ron Paul’s would lead to higher deficits than Obama, based on a common assessment.

Okay. I still don’t buy the numbers, but did Paul Krugman just admit that the best hope for cutting the Federal budget deficit is Ron Paul?