Paul Krugman is Still Selling a Fake Alien Invasion as a Boost to the Economy

Jun 20, 2012

Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner in economics and columnist for the New York Times, again thinks the economy would benefit from a fake alien invasion.

I had some fun with him when he first suggested this last year, but he’s serious. The Huffington Report reported on his talk at the Take Back the American Dream conference in Washington, DC:

"If you actually look at what took us out of the Great Depression," the Princeton University professor said in an interview with Chris Hayes of MSNBC. "It was Europe's entry into World War II and the U.S. buildup that began in advance."

"So if we could get something that could cause the government to say, ‘Oh, never mind those budget things; let’s just spend and do a bunch of stuff.' So my fake threat from space aliens is the other route,” Krugman said before a laughing crowd. “I’ve been proposing that.”

The federal government spending money for the sake of spending money, which has been Krugman’s mantra for a few years, is as ridiculous as hiring half the unemployed to dig ditches while hiring the other half to fill them in. Sure, you have full-employment, but the economy isn’t better off.

A growing economy involves mixing labor, land, capital, and entrepreneurship to produce goods and services that consumers need and want. Preparations for Krugman’s fake alien invasion would produce a lot of stuff, but when the little green men don’t appear we would be left with lots of stuff perfect for eBay and a science fiction convention.

What the U.S. economy needs is a reduction in the impediments to growth. Instead of making stuff based on a lie, how about investing in something real like America’s faltering infrastructure? How about advancing more trade agreements and promoting tourism? What about regulatory and legal reform to reduce business uncertainty? How about doing more to protect intellectual property, training workers to bridge the “skills gap,” and doing more to attract immigrant workers and entrepreneurs? How about reducing the deficit through entitlement and tax reforms to make America more globally competitive?

These practical ideas from the real-world would do more to create jobs, promote growth, and ease Americans’ worries than silly schemes Krugman concocts to sell economic fallacies.

[Almost as weird as Krugman’s alien invasion idea, was the cheers from the audience at the conference when interviewer Chris Hayes brought up the thought experiment of Krugman as dictator.]

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