Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said the impending government shutdown is based upon GOP “policy ignorance.”
Krugman went head to head with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol over Obamacare on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday. Krugman accused Kristol and the Republican party of not understanding the law they are trying to defund.
“There have been shutdowns througout the last over last 25 years and, as you know, they don’t always backfire,” Kristol insisted. “It’s a little delicate. But look, why not delay at least parts of Obamacare for a year?”
“It happens, in fact, to be a very good law. One thing that’s going on here is just a failure on the part of the Republican caucus to actually understand anything about this thing,” Krugman said. “They haven’t done the policy. They haven’t understood.”
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“In fact, all of the substantive news about Obamacare over the last couple of months has been good,” he continued. “Premiums are coming in below expectations. Health care costs are moderating. Probably there will be some technical glitches with the computer systems, but those are not fundamental. People who support this law are looking forward, they’re almost cheering, at the preliminary results. The odds are, this is going to do a lot of good for a lot of people. Why not put it into effect now?”
“Should the president have delayed the employer mandate?” Kristol asked. “Yes or no?”
“Yeah, actually – ”
“But not the individual mandate?” Kristol interrupted. “Business gets the delay, but the individuals don’t.”
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“That’s what I’m talking about,” Krugman said, “this policy ignorance. You’re not understanding. The employer mandate is basically a trivial add-on to the law while the individual mandate is central to the law.”
He turned to a smiling Kristol on the panel and added, “If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand that.”
Krugman said the “government shut down is a given,” but most people are comfortable with that. But there’s a “25, 30 percent chance of default” when it comes to the country’s debt limit.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the federal government will reach its borrowing limit of Oct. 17, ABC News reported. It will go into default if the debt ceiling is not raised, having a severe impact on the economy.
Given that, Krugman still supports President Barack Obama’s decision not to negotiate.
“You can’t really blame people who ran, saying they would do their best to delay this bad law from happening from trying to do that,” Kristol added. “Democrats ran in ’06 saying they were going get us out of Iraq, and they spent all of 2007, 2008 undercutting our efforts in Iraq.”
“But, Bill, this law passed and was signed by the president,” said panelist Matthew Dowd, President George W. Bush’s former chief strategist. “Then the president ran a re-election campaign, the American public voted for him overwhelmingly. The Republicans need for fold their tent and face the law.”