On the American front, the decline of GDP growth to 2.2 percent rightly raises fears that our sputtering domestic recovery is just about over.
It is no surprise, therefore, that leading columnists like Paul Krugman have taken this opportunity to announce triumphantly that austerity is a “fairy tale” that shatters the social confidence that it is designed to shore up. It is futile to invoke fiscal austerity, he argues, when economically beleaguered countries really need to be “spending more to offset falling private demand.” The cure is supposed to be increased government spending, but that solution has its own serious problems. Krugman assumes that the declines in private demand and private investment are attributable to mysterious external forces that are beyond the power of government to control.
Richard A. Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University Law School, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago.