Paul Krugman on Covid Economics, Cryptocurrencies and Deficit Delusions

01.29.2021 - By The Ezra Klein Show

Download our free app to listen on your phone

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.


“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, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

More episodes from The Ezra Klein Show