It's obvious who Paul Krugman is talking about when he notes the "depression we?re in is essentially gratuitous."
Gratuitous as in the Republicans' pushing the world into a pit and self-consciously stopping the people and communities from clawing their way out, as the GOP hauls in $millions in campaign contributions, while laughing at the 99 percent.
The depression we?re in is essentially gratuitous: we don?t need to be suffering so much pain and destroying so many lives. We could end it both more easily and more quickly than anyone imagines?anyone, that is, except those who have actually studied the economics of depressed economies and the historical evidence on how policies work in such economies.
The truth is that recovery would be almost ridiculously easy to achieve: all we need is to reverse the austerity policies of the past couple of years and temporarily boost spending. Never mind all the talk of how we have a long-run problem that can?t have a short-run solution?this may sound sophisticated, but it isn?t. With a boost in spending, we could be back to more or less full employment faster than anyone imagines.