Shaming The Devil
I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?
Why, I can teach you, cousin, to command
And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil—
By telling the truth. Tell truth and shame the devil.
.............WS Henry IV Part 1 Act 3 Scene 1
Paul Krugman tries to shame the Devil by calling "Bullshit" on the latest nonsense of Cameron and Osborne.
When the Cameron government came in, it was fully invested in the doctrine of expansionary austerity. Officials told everyone to read the Alesina/Ardagna paper (which is succinctly criticized by Christy Romer (pdf)), cited Ireland as a success story, and in general assured everyone that they could call the confidence fairy from the vasty deep.
Now it turns out that contractionary policy is contractionary after all. As a result, despite all the austerity, deficits remain high. So what is to be done? More austerity!
It really is just like a medieval doctor bleeding his patient, observing that the patient is getting sicker, not better, and deciding that this calls for even more bleeding.
And the truly awful thing is that Cameron and Osborne are so deeply identified with the austerity doctrine that they can’t change course without effectively destroying themselves politically.
As the Brits would say, brilliant. Just brilliant.