This morning’s events included a surprising announcement from GOP leaders who’d met over the weekend to discuss budget strategy.
According to an aide present at the weekend retreat, Rep Paul Ryan, the powerful chairman of the House Budget Committee, brought a version of John Maynard Keynes treatise, “The General Theory…” as a joke. “He thought he’d crack Eric and John up, but a funny thing happened when they started flipping through the book,” the aide said.
Rep Eric Cantor confirmed the account. “Paul brought Keynes in there as a goof, of course, but when he started reading passages, we were all inexplicably spellbound. Mitch [McConnell, R, KY—GOP minority leader in the Senate] came in, saw us all listening intently and asked me if Paul was reading from the Bible. ‘He just might be,’ I heard myself reply.”
Reached for comment last night, Rep John Boehner confirmed that the weekend turned into a seminar on Keynes. The party leaders even got economics Nobelist and Keynes’ defender Paul Krugman to join the retreat on Sunday, for an extended lecture on the macroeconomics of Keynesian stimulus.
“I thought it was probably a trap,” said Krugman, who nevertheless quickly flew down to DC and was clearly surprised by his reception. “By the end of the day, they were falling all over themselves to apologize to me for getting this wrong for so long. I really didn’t know what to say. I’m still pinching myself.”
Rep Ryan began the day on Capitol Hill by surprising everyone in his caucus by denouncing his own budget, endorsed by the Republican-led House just weeks ago, as “a horribly misguided example of austerity economics” and “a roadmap back to recession.”
“Just look at Europe,” Ryan announced to the stunned caucus. “Do you want us to become Greece, because that’s where all this austerity leads!?”
Then, along with Cantor, Boehner, and McConnell in the Senate, the budget chairman introduced a $1 trillion stimulus measure, fashioned, its authors claimed, after Keynes’ 1933 letter to Roosevelt.
Equally stunned Congressional Democrats spent the morning trying to make sense out of the turnabout in Republican policy. “We’re glad they’re finally thinking about jobs instead of cuts, but a $1 trillion stimulus would blow a hole in the deficit that would be a huge burden to our children and grandchildren,” claimed an obviously surprised Sen Reid.
In other news, today is April 1st.
Ouch. You got me. Big.
so is this an Arpil Fool’s joke – or an Easter blessing?
You are a mean, very mean person. I have managed to spill my coffee on my keyboard reading the beginning of this. Had my hopes higher and higher in the middle. Now, I cannot stop laughing (mostly at myself) after finishing. Bringing Mr. Krugman in the story just made it so much more tastier.
So, I was thinking . . . no way!! Then I got to the end . . .
Last time I saw a mouth like that, it had a hook in it. Gotcha!
Hahaha…delightful. Took me 4 paragraphs you son of a B.
I knew it was a joke when I read the bit about Krugman. After all, his latest column in the Times is about how he just discovered a book called The Road to Serfdom, and now he’s starting to think that the greatest threat to liberty is the government spending beyond its means.
The coffee was still brewing when I started reading this but, even without it, when you started to imply that Ryan, Cantor, Boehner, and McConnell could actually understand Keynes, even if they were to actually read his works, I knew something was seriously amiss.
Thanks for a great laugh to start the day!
You TOTALLY got me! I read with more and more amazement. Was beginning to believe in Santa again! Kept glancing to end PARAGRAPH instead of the one liner following it. Laughed so loudly at how gullible (and optimistic hopeful) I am people came to check on me. Thanks!
With your name, I shouldn’t have been able to fool you of all people!
My first thought: thyis is impossible!
The moment you described Prof Krugman joining… I knew it was a BIG JOKE.
Onion-esque. All that was missing was a photoshopped Krugman wearing protective gear, preparing to enter the meeting.
You are wascally! 🙂
Holy moly, I suddenly had hope and you crushed it mercilessly… I actually tried to think if it was possible Krugman was at that retreat this weekend! You got me good!
It’s obviously an April Fool’s joke when you start going on about Keynes being spellbinding. Most economists find Beowulf more readable.
Really?? I think Keynes’ writing is quite mellifluous–quite literate relative to the rest most of the genre which reads like your microwave manual.
The abstract of one edition of the General Theory states: “Although considered by a few critics that the sentence structures of the book are quite incomprehensible and almost unbearable to read, ”
If you find your microwave manual harder to read, it is probably because you have the multilingual, international edition and you are trying to read it in Finnish. (“Suomi” is not the name of a Korean microwave manufacturer; it’s how you say “Finnish” in Finnish. And the version that you were reading probably had the original Korean syntax.) No wonder you found it so difficult!