Daniel W. Drezner

Meet the newest neocon

I’m 50% convinced that Paul Krugman’s op-ed today is correct, and the moderates wound up damaging the stimulus more than they improved it.  The thing is, I’m also 50% convinced that Krugman is to Keynesians as Richard Perle is to neoconservatives.  When an embittered ideologue derides his political leader for demonstrating a willingness to compromise and ...

I’m 50% convinced that Paul Krugman’s op-ed today is correct, and the moderates wound up damaging the stimulus more than they improved it. 

The thing is, I’m also 50% convinced that Krugman is to Keynesians as Richard Perle is to neoconservatives.  When an embittered ideologue derides his political leader for demonstrating a willingness to compromise and "negotiating with yourself," well, one does get the sense of deja vu. 

The rhetorical parallels between neocons and Keynesians are increasingly disturbing.  Martin Wolf argued late last week that "shock and awe" is required to stimulate the global economy — a point seconded by KrugmanCritics of the Keynesian approach are summarily dismissed as wingnuts

Not all Keynesians are acting in this manner.  Brad DeLong has provided substantive rebuttals to critics of the stimulus. 

I’m in the Ken Rogoff camp on the economy — I’m somewhat dubious about the ability of any stimulus package to really jumpstart the economy, and very wary about the long-term costs of this strategy (for one thing, Bretton Woods II still needs to be unwound).  But I also don’t have a better idea and "the situation is so dangerous it has to be tried."

But I also know that when I hear anyone using rhetorical tropes that remind me of Richard Perle, I run like hell in the opposite direction.  And Krugman is increasingly sounding like Perle. 

UPDATE:  See Clive Crook and Will Wilkinson on this point as well. 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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