Aug 242011

Last night, Twitter was abuzz with something said by a Google+ user purporting to be economist Paul Krugman.

“People on twitter might be joking, but in all seriousness, we would see a bigger boost in spending and hence economic growth if the earthquake had done more damage.”

It turned out to be a hoax, though. Krugman’s initial reaction is here. Dave Weigel’s cleanup is here. Krugman’s further comments are here.

It certainly seemed like something Krugman would say. After all, he has made similar comments in the past, as the unrepentant imposter (troll?) points out in his confession. Predictably (and disappointingly), the comments list was overrun with drive-by “Broken Window Fallacy, dumbass!” comments and immature grunts of the sophistication of “Hayek’s cool. Krugman drools.” It’s no wonder Krugman’s supporters have been having a hearty laugh at his detractors’ expense. We were duped.

Here’s what’s not being said, though. His supporters were duped, too. Evidence can be found in the state of the comment stream as of 3:30AM. (Yes, I did post comments. I was indeed duped. In my defense, though, my contributions were directed at pro-Krugman/Keynes commenters and not the hoax remark itself.)

It only seems fair to me that if Team Mises/Hayek loses points for attacking a straw man, Team Keynes/Krugman should lose points for trying to defend the fake remark as though it were a reasonable and substantive argument. So why haven’t I seen anyone else make this point? Are they out there, and I just haven’t seen them, or is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black (and hiding his can of black paint)?

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