Deal With the Environment Now, And Social Security Later?

Paul Krugman says Robert Samuelson is a hypocrite because Samuelson is tediously, incessantly worried today about the long-run solvency of the social security trust fund, but isn't so worried about the long-run destruction of the planet via climate change. I have the feeling Samuelson wouldn't agree that the two situations are analagous, but let's assume Krugman is right on the merits: You can't play Cassandra with social security and Zeno with climate change. So, if we have an obligation to be consistent about social security and climate change -- if they are analagous long-run problems -- why can't someone just toss the hypocrisy charge right back at Krugman?



Krugman, after all, thinks climate change is a problem we should deal with today. (And I agree with him.) But he doesn't think social security is urgent. Why the difference?

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Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. More

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism, an economics blog that was recently published in book form by Simon and Schuster. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. He is also on Twitter.

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