Third, what’s really striking about all the talk about how long-run structural issues are the real thing is how fuzzy the thinking is. In a world that is short of demand, how, exactly, is structural reform that enhances the supply side (if it does) supposed to solve the problem? If Europe’s problem is lack of competitiveness, why doesn’t a weaker euro solve it — and for that matter, why is Europe as a whole, and Germany in particular in trade surplus? For people who are supposedly so serious, the Very Serious seem remarkably casual about thinking things through.
Finally, I know that people who airily dismiss the austerity debate and all that and demand that we focus on the long run think they’re taking a brave stand; but you know, they aren’t. In fact, they’re ducking the truly hard issues — because let’s face it, stimulus and austerity, QE or not, are politically charged issues where taking any kind of stand will get you attacked. And since they are also important issues, pretending that they aren’t is a form of moral cowardice.
Vir: Paul Krugman, NY Times