Paul Krugman Destroys Every Conservative Argument Against Government Spending One by One
Paul Krugman, like may other pundits, is feeling pretty hopeful about the chances of a Clinton rather than a Trump presidency. After Trump's colossally bad week last week, Clinton has 83 percent odds, according to the New York Times’s model, of being elected.
Presuming that her lead holds, Krugman has a few suggestions for Clinton in Monday's column about what she should do about the domestic economy. "The most important thing we need is sharply increased public investment in everything from energy to transportation to wastewater treatment," he writes, and proceeds to make the case that government borrowing is the way to pay for it.
First, we have obvious, pressing needs for public investment in many areas. In Washington, the aging Metro is in such bad shape that whole lines may have to be shut down for maintenance. In Florida, green slime infests beaches, in large part because failure to upgrade an 80-year-old dike or to purchase more land as a runoff area is forcing the Army Corps of Engineers to release polluted water from Lake Okeechobee. There are similar stories all across America.So investing more in infrastructure would clearly make us richer. Meanwhile, the federal government can borrow at incredibly low interest rates: 10-year, inflation-protected bonds yielded just 0.09 percent on Friday.
Put these two facts together — big needs for public investment, and very low interest rates — and it suggests not just that we should be borrowing to invest, but that this investment might well pay for itselfeven in purely fiscal terms. How so? Spending more now would mean a bigger economy later, which would mean more tax revenue. This additional revenue would probably be larger than any rise in future interest payments.