Pawlenty Accidentally Endorses Keynesian Economics

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 4 2011 10:02 AM

Pawlenty Accidentally Endorses Keynesian Economics

Tim Pawlenty responds to Barack Obama's launch video with one of his own. (It rebuts the "winning the future" theme that has become, sadly, a stable of Obama speeches, but didn't appear in the video.)

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Pounding music, fast-cutting file footage, Paul Krugman... wait, Paul Krugman? The New York Times columnist is one of only two non-Pawlenty talking heads in the video. In a short clip, he says "Washington has given up on the jobs picture."

Is Krugman on the same page as Pawlenty when he talks about the economy? Well, no. The clip comes from a March 27 appearance on This Week , in a three-way exchange with George Will and Christiane Amanpour. Krugman:

I would just say that the aftermath of a terriblefinancial crisis, and this was the worst financial crisis since the1930s, is always a prolonged period of weak growth. And the tragedyis that Washington has given up on the jobs picture. It's not that -- it's not a failure of policy. I think thepolicies that we have undertaken made things less bad than they wouldhave been. But here we are with still terrible unemployment rate, 37weeks the average unemployed person is unemployed. And no interest inWashington about doing anything to create jobs.

This is basically what Krugman's been saying since January 2009 -- the government needs to spend money to stimulate the economy, and the stimulus should have been larger, but at least it was something. When he says "Washington" has given up he is criticizing Obama but he's criticizing him for conceding the House Republicans' argument that a massive spending cut, not more stimulus spending, is what's needed right now. A very odd excerpt for Pawlenty to use.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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