According to the New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize laureate, you know what would end the economic slump in 18 months? Aliens.
Paul Krugman probably feels like an alien himself these days, considering Washington is completely ignoring his unwavering arguments for more fiscal stimulus as President Obama and Congressional Republicans try to out-deficit-reduce each other. So maybe that’s why Krugman has aliens on the brain.
While talking off the cuff on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS program (Zakaria is also a TIME Magazine contributor), Krugman conjectured about what would happen if aliens landed on earth and attacked us.
(MORE: Why It Pays to Ignore the Financial News)
“If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack, and we needed a massive build-up to counter the space alien threat, and inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months,” Krugman says, referencing an episode of The Twilight Show in which an alien threat was manufactured to bring about world peace.
While Krugman is obviously using the idea as a provocative thought experiment, there’s a serious argument behind it, which boils down to the government gaining the incentive to raise taxes so it could build war-fighting materials, much like the U.S. did during World War II when tax rates were astronomical. The war was the single biggest factor in finally helping the U.S. dig out of the Great Depression, largely because it generated jobs and exports.
But the way most people seem to feel these days, aliens have been in Washington for some time. They just don’t appear to be helping matters much.