On Sunday’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, it was apparent that the Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman had done his homework. It was also apparent that Romney’s spokesman, Eric Ferhnstrom had not.
Transcript from Crooks and Liars:
KRUGMAN: Well, the economy is weak. It’s not terrible, but it’s weak. The bitter irony here has to be for Obama, certainly for people like me, is that if the Republican answer is “let’s slash spending, let’s have low taxes,” that’s actually the policy we’ve been following. It’s amazing, actually. Especially if you look at the last couple of years, what we’ve actually seen is sharply.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me show you — we have a chart in your blog this morning.
KRUGMAN: Yeah, this is…
STEPHANOPOULOS: We created it. It shows the point you’re making.
KRUGMAN: Yeah, this is real government spending, so it’s federal, state and local combined, deflated, you know, adjusted for population growth and inflation, and it is plunging. It’s plunging mostly because of cutbacks at the state and local level, because the aid that they were receiving in the stimulus has run out, but also because unemployment benefits have been expiring because Congress won’t — you know, Republicans in Congress won’t extend them.
So in effect – and, by the way, if you extend that chart backwards, there’s been nothing like this since the demobilization after the Korean War. We’re actually practicing government austerity on a scale that we haven’t seen in 60 years.It’s not the president’s policy. In effect, we’ve already got the policies that Republicans say they will impose if they take the election, and yet, of course, it may lead to the defeat of this president.
Krugman’s polite way of saying that Republicans are sabotaging the economy with one goal in mind, the defeat of a Democratic President. Country be damned.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that’s the point Stephanie was making, so bringing it back to you, what would Governor Romney do right now — not in the future — right now, to get the economy moving again?
FEHRNSTROM: Well, it’s not just, as Paul says, tax policy. That’s part of it, of course, but it’s also spending policy, it’s regulatory policy. It’s confronting China on their unfair trade practices. It’s — it’s a whole — it’s labor policy, George.
The governor has laid out very detailed plans. People can go to mittromney.com and learn about them for themselves. But I think what we really have here…
KRUGMAN: I know from detailed plans and there is nothing there. There is not a blessed thing there.
FEHRNSTROM: What we really have here is a deficit in leadership. This President came into office without any any prior experience running anything. He never even ran a corner store. I think it shows in the way that he’s handling the economy.
In a corner store, you sell goods to make a profit, sometimes at the expense of the human beings you call your employees. When running an economy, you neither sell goods nor make a profit, and human beings should not be collateral damage.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Can the President do anything now?
STEPHANIE CUTTER, Obama Deputy Campaign Manager: He can get Congress to act. The proposals that we put forward have been sitting there for nine months. Independent estimates have put those proposals at a million jobs. So there are a million jobs sitting on that table in Congress right now that they could move on. They need to get off their hands and stop rooting for failure.
Then George Will deflected by bringing up another talking point, the Keystone Pipeline, to which Cutter replied that that would be a fraction of the jobs she is talking about.
KRUGMAN: On the Reagan thing, if public sector employment had continued to expand the way it did during Reagan’s first term, instead of falling by about 600,000 jobs, right there we’d have something like 1.4 million people working in this country.
If you can’t find a job, it might be because the teachers, firefighters and construction workers that our country desperately needs were fired and are competing with you for jobs.
Then Fehrnstrom demonstrated an almost Palinesque understanding of the world economy when the topic of China was raised, one of Romney’s key points in his economic platform.
FEHRNSTROM: He’ll (Romney) do what this president has failed to do in China, which is to declare that China is a currency manipulator. Look, we’re all in favor of free trade. In fact, we don’t think this president has done enough to reinvigorate trade talks — trade talks with our friends, but China is — is robbing us blind. They’re stealing…
KRUGMAN: I was very much for that. I’ve been demanding that we declare — but the window for that has passed. Right now, the Chinese economy is tanking. So if you were thinking you were going to get a big boost out of beating up on the Chinese now, two years ago I thought was really a good time to do that. But my god, now that is totally out of date.
Then the subject turned to the (Paul) Ryan plan, a plan that Romney and most Republicans cite as inspirational and almost gospel. Krugman had harsher words.
KRUGMAN: Can I say, the Ryan plan — and I guess this is what counts as a personal attack — but it isn’t. It’s not an attack on the person; it’s an attack on the plan. The plan’s a fraud. The plan is a big bunch of tax cuts, some specified spending cuts, basically for poor people, and then a huge magic asterisk which is supposed to turn into a deficit reduction plan, but, in fact, if you look what’s actually in it, it’s a deficit-increasing plan.
And so to say that — just tell the truth that there is really no plan there, neither from Ryan, nor from Governor Romney, is just the truth. That’s not — if that’s — if that’s being harsh and partisan, gosh, then I guess the truth is anti-bipartisanship.
Here’s the video: