Thursday, June 06, 2013

Arguing In Good Faith

Krugman today accuses one Arvik Roy of arguing “health care reform” in bad faith because he claims facts which are not true in making his points. Krugman does not say which untrue facts Mr. Roy claims, but that’s okay, because Krugman is undoubtedly correct in his accusation. My problem with Dr. Krugman is that I’m wondering where he gets off making such accusations, given his proclivity for spouting nonsense himself.

Let’s take, for instance, Krugman’s assertion that the government should borrow money without restraint at this time because interest rates are really low. Add that to the statement that he has made many times that governments never repay debts and you have an assertion by Krugman which is completely inconsistent with reality. Krugman knows that government debt is, essentially, adjustable rate debt and that interest rates are certainly not going to stay low forever, so he cannot possibly believe that his claim regarding the cost of government borrowing is true as he posits it.

It might be true if the government were to retire the debt when its term expired, but Krugman specifically asserts that government does not do that. It might be true if the debt were not time limited, but Krugman knows very well that such is not the case. So is Krugman “arguing in good faith” when he claims that the government should borrow without restraint because interest rates are low at this moment? I think not.

Let’s also examine Krugman using the writings of John Maynard Keynes as authority for why government should spend money in economic hard times. All well and good, but then he abandons Keynes altogether in arguing that we should strive for inflation because it “makes debt easier to repay.” Keynes abhorred inflation, and with good reason, in that it rewards debt, punishes savings and diminishes capital formation. Keynes also advised that, while government should spend in times of economic stress, he advocated that it should repay the incurred debt in economic good times, something which Krugman specifically decries.

Can anyone claim that selectively citing a source and quoting only those portions that fit your agenda is “arguing in good faith” on any topic?

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

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