The Republican president | Arkansas Blog

The Republican president

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Paul Krugman grows wearier of President Obama's move to the right, particularly recent pronouncements on the budget.

One striking example of this rightward shift came in last weekend’s presidential address, in which Mr. Obama had this to say about the economics of the budget: “Government has to start living within its means, just like families do. We have to cut the spending we can’t afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing, and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs.”

That’s three of the right’s favorite economic fallacies in just two sentences. No, the government shouldn’t budget the way families do; on the contrary, trying to balance the budget in times of economic distress is a recipe for deepening the slump. Spending cuts right now wouldn’t “put the economy on sounder footing.” They would reduce growth and raise unemployment. And last but not least, businesses aren’t holding back because they lack confidence in government policies; they’re holding back because they don’t have enough customers — a problem that would be made worse, not better, by short-term spending cuts.

Mentioned, too, are fears that Obama is prepared to join Republicans in proposing to end Medicare as universal health coverage and to slash Social Security benefits.

BY THE WAY: That Social Security savings, through a change in the formula by which COLAs are calculated, has been under discussion for years and makes a fair amount of sense.

ALSO: Does a Clinton-style "third way" option for the debt ceiling and budget remain — a compromise in the middle forged by the president and Speaker John Boehner?

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