One of the more popular post-earthquake Twitter jokes buzzing around the Internet yesterday was this quip by the Washington Examiner's Timothy Carney: "Krugman says it wasn't big enough." Because Paul Krugman says that about the stimulus all the time! Everyone had a good laugh about this.
But then it seemed that Carney's tweet may have actually been ... accurate? Last night at 7:15 p.m., Krugman wrote on his Google+ account, "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."
This morning, Carlos R. Graterol, a recently laid-off graduate of Florida State University, admitted to impersonating Krugman on Google+, both out of sheer boredom and also to satirize what he sees as the absurdity of the Krugman's economic philosophy:
I do not regret writing it and I hope it will enlighten many on the perverse economic views held by a Nobel winning economist writing for the New York Times who also lectures at Princeton University. While Paul Krugman did not write the above statement, he has made similar statements within the year and I would not be surprised if Paul Krugman did not in fact hold this view.
"And yes, this does mean that the nuclear catastrophe could end up being expansionary, if not for Japan then at least for the world as a whole. If this sounds crazy, well, liquidity-trap economics is like that — remember, World War II ended the Great Depression."
Three days after the 9/11 tragedy Paul Krugman had this to say.
"Nonetheless, we must ask about the economic aftershocks from Tuesday’s horror. These aftershocks need not be major. Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack — like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression — could even do some economic good."
If you showed any disgust at my fake comment written on Google+, I expect you would show equal antipathy for the two quotes above.
As of the moment, Krugman appears to be more disgusted than anyone. After all, as he pointed out on his New York Times blog this morning, this isn't the first time someone has impersonated him online:
This is the third incident I’m aware of — there may well be more — in which people are claiming to be me. There was also my nonexistent connection with academia.edu, and at least one web opinion piece by someone claiming to be me (and sounding not at all like me).
This is really cute, not. Apparently some people can’t find enough things to attack in what I actually say, so they’re busy creating fake quotes. And I have enough on my plate without trying to chase all this stuff down.
So if you see me quoted as saying something really stupid or outrageous, and it didn’t come from the Times or some other verifiable site, you should probably assume it was a fake.
Even after the hoax was revealed, we were a little unsure as to whether the Real Paul Krugman actually agreed with the Fake Paul Krugman. It appears that he doesn't, but considering his previous statements, we're not exactly sure why.
Identity Theft [Conscience of a Liberal/NYT]
Paul Krugman’s Google+ Account is Fake, I Know because I Created It [Campaign Fix]