Paul Krugman on Covid Economics, Cryptocurrencies and Deficit Delusions

01.29.2021 - By The Ezra Klein Show

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The Biden administration’s first legislative priority is a $1.9 trillion economic rescue package. It’s the kind of mega-package where the individual policies contained inside it — a $15 minimum wage, $1,400 checks, a huge child tax credit expansion, a $50 billion virus testing infrastructure — would be big deals on their own. But together, this would be one of the most consequential packages ever passed.

So there’s a lot to talk about here. And who better to talk about it with than my now-colleague Paul Krugman? We dig into the details of the plan and then spiral off into some other topics I wanted to run by the nearest Nobel laureate: the major rethinking of debt and deficits among left-of-center economists, the differences between Keynesians and Modern Monetary Theorists, how Krugman made a bunch of money off Bitcoin (it’s not how you’d think!), why progressives need a better theory of technological change, Krugman’s favorite indie bands of the mid-2000s, and more.

References:

“Notes on the Coronacoma (Wonkish)” by Paul Krugman
“Why Markets Boomed in a Year of Human Misery” by Neil Irwin and Weiyi Cai
“Who’s Afraid of Budget Deficits?” By Jason Furman and Lawrence Summers
“Public Debt: Fiscal and Welfare Costs in a Time of Low Interest Rates” by Olivier Blanchard
“America’s anti-democratic Senate, in one number” by Ian Millhiser

Book Recommendations:

“Laundry Files” series by Charlie Stross
“Merchant Princes” series by Charlie Stross
“The Price of Peace” by Zachary Carter

Band Recommendations:

The Be Good Tanyas
Larkin Poe
Reina del Cid

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

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