Krugman schools Bill Kristol for basing shutdown threat on 'policy ignorance'

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman on Sunday told Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol that his argument over why President Barack Obama's health care reform law should be delayed was based on "policy ignorance."

During a panel discussion on ABC News, Kristol predicted that if the president refused to delay the health care law and Republicans forced a government shutdown, the GOP would not face a backlash.

"There have been shutdowns througout the last over last 25 years and, as you know, they don't always backfire," Kristol insisted. "It's a little delicate. But look, why not delay at least parts of Obamacare for a year?"

"It happens, in fact, to be a very good law," Krugman insisted. "You see, one of the things, I think, that's going on here is just a failure on the part of the Republican caucus to actually understand anything about this thing... In fact, almost all of the substantive news about Obamacare over the last couple months has been good. The premiums are coming in well below expectations, health care costs are moderating. Probably there will be some technical glitches with computer systems, but those are not fundamental."

"Should the president have delayed the employer mandate?" Kristol asked. "Should he, yes or no?"

"Yeah," Krugman replied.

"But not the individual mandate?" Kristol pressed. "Big businesses get the delay but the individuals don't."

"That's what I'm talking about," Krugman declared. "This policy ignorance, not understanding that the employer mandate is basically a trivial add-on to the law, while the individual mandate is central to it. You don't understand that."

"You can't really blame people who ran, saying they would do their best to delay this bad law from happening from trying to do that," Kristol later added. "Democrats ran in '06 saying they were going get us out of Iraq, and they spent all of 2007, 2008 undercutting our efforts in Iraq."

"But, Bill, this law passed and was signed by the president," President George W. Bush’s former chief strategist Matthew Dowd observed. "Then the president ran a re-election campaign, the American public voted for him overwhelmingly. The Republicans need for fold their tent and say it's the law."

Watch the video below from ABC's This Week, broadcast Sept. 29, 2013.