Friday, August 16, 2002

Well, this should explode a few heads: Paul Krugman has delivered a column that has absolutely nothing to do with the Bush administration. Not that it's some sort of Bush puff piece- it just doesn't mention him in the slightest. Instead, it raises the question of whether the United States might end up in a Japanese-style funk, thanks to the combination of the burst stock bubble, the corporate governance problems, poor long-term budget prospects and the possibility of a real estate bubble bursting. He acknowledges that there has been some small growth, but makes the point that even in Japan that's been the case for a while. The issue is the gap between what a country does produce and what it can produce, which is a huge gap in the land of the rising sun and a growing one in the U.S.

Needless to say, this is worrisome as hell if true. Japan's economy is one of the bigger economic problems out there right now, but it isn't the "buyer of last resort" by any means. The United States is, and any such long-term economic malaise would affect the entire planet. (Unless, of course, somebody else takes up the slack. Maybe Europe is due for a comeback?)

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