Today on MSNBC, the Morning Joe team — many of whom have been having a tough time with the facts of the economic recovery plan — hosted Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman to discuss the bill. Krugman began by emphasizing the severity of the current economic crisis. “This is not your father’s recession,” Krugman said. “This is your grandfather’s recession. This is something that is closer to what we went through in the 30s.”
Krugman criticized opposition to the “pork” in the recovery plan, calling the obstruction “irresponsible” and “ludicrous.” He noted that it’s “a few billion dollars in a $900 billion plan. …They’re picking out small punctuation errors and saying ‘oh this whole thing is wrong.'” Krugman added, “This is the kind of situation where you try to build a bridge across an economic chasm and if you build half a bridge it doesn’t work.”
Yesterday, the Senate defeated (but most Republicans voted in favor of) an alternative plan offered by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that centered mainly on massive tax cuts. Krugman called the plan “completely crazy” and an indication of a failure of bipartisanship:
KRUGMAN: Look at what just happened, we had a proposal I think it was McCain’s proposal for an economic recovery package, his version of it which was all tax cuts, a complete, let’s do exactly what Bush did, have another round of Bush-style policies. After eight years which that didn’t work and we got 36 out of 41 Republican senators voting for that which is completely crazy. So how much bipartisan outreach can you have when 36 out of 41 republican senators take their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh?
Later in the interview, Krugman advised President Obama to “disregard” the GOP’s knee-jerk reaction to cut taxes. “At this point we have a Republican Party that, except for a few members, is committed to just doing more what we did during the last eight years. Obama has to disregard that.”