We are certainly used to the fallacious Keynesian "economics" that pours forth from most of Paul Krugman's New York Times columns. That's bad enough. But dishonesty too? What's the excuse for that? In a recent column called "Fifty Hebert Hoovers," Krugman expressed fear that the nation's governors would follow in the footsteps of Hoover, with devastating consequences for the economy. And what did Hoover do that has Krugman so concerned? He writes:
No modern American president would repeat the fiscal mistake of 1932, in which the federal government tried to balance its budget in the face of a severe recession....
But even as Washington tries to rescue the economy, the nation will be reeling from the actions of 50 Herbert Hoovers — state governors who are slashing spending in a time of recession.... [Emphasis added.]
Krugman here leads his readers to believe that Hoover tried to balance the budget by slashing spending. In fact, Hoover did not reduce spending. On the contrary, he increased it. If he aimed at balancing the budget, it was through tax increases not spending cuts. For example, the top marginal income-tax rate jumped from 24 to 63 percent. Anyway, he actually ran large budget deficits. In this, as in many other areas, Hoover anticipated Franklin Roosevelt. (See my article, "Bad Deal," in The American Conservative, Jan. 12.)
Does anyone believe that Krugman is unaware of that fact?
Cross-posted at Anything Peaceful.