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February 8, 2021 3 min

The pandemic shook things up, a lot. It exposed the country’s deepest inequalities, and arguably, made them worse. Now, all eyes are on President Biden to see how he’ll fix it, and Republicans are responding exactly as expected: by crying about the debt. Here’s the thing, though, says Paul Krugman, an American economist and op-ed columnist at The New York Times, there’s really no reason to. It’s a tale as old as time. Both parties spend, but when it’s time for Dems to make the economic plans, and Biden took office, Republicans “suddenly rediscovered that they were worried about debt” he tells co-host Molly Jong-Fast on this bonus episode of The New Abnormal. But it actually doesn’t matter, he claims. “The important thing to realize is that governments are not like you and me, governments don't have to pay back their debt,” he explains. “All they have to do is make sure that their obligations don't grow beyond any reasonable estimate of what they can us over time. That means they never actually have to pay off debt. It's a threat that exists only in the imagination of people who want to have some reason to squeeze government spending.” Instead, says Krugman, lawmakers should prioritize giving money to poor families with children, which is cheap and will get them out of poverty. “You can do an enormous amount for children, fairly affordably,” he says, but for the love of Pete, stop calling it tax breaks. “It's actually just giving people money,” he says, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Will the Trump voters go for this? It’s unclear, but Krugman says Biden’s policies actually help them the most. (“There's basically no place in America that is more dependent upon federal aid. That is more lifted out of absolute misery by massive support from the taxpayers than Eastern Kentucky. And it's very, very hard to find someone who didn't vote for Trump and those in those counties.”) Plus! The past alignments of the Democratic and Republican parties are completely changed, he says. (“People used to describe [the GOP] as being a center, right party, but it's not, it's now an extreme authoritarian, anti-liberal, anti-science, anti-almost-everything party that more or less [resembles] fascist parties of Europe.”) And! A prediction of what economic recovery look like post-pandemic. It’s good news for the working class. 

If you haven't heard, every single week The New Abnormal does a special bonus episode for Beast Inside, the Daily Beast’s membership program. where Sometimes we interview Senators like Cory Booker or the folks who explain our world in media like Jim Acosta or Soledad O’Brien. Sometimes we just have fun and talk to our favorite comedians and actors like Busy Phillips or Billy Eichner and sometimes its just Rick & Molly discussing the fuckery. You can get all of our episodes in your favorite podcast app of choice by becoming a Beast Inside member where you’ll support The Beast’s fearless journalism. Plus! You’ll also get full access to podcasts and articles. To become a member head to


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