Looks like 'austerians' everywhere are using the same, not always convincing, arguments. At my paper in Milan, one of the commentators talked about how his grandfather was a very frugal man and how that led him to great economic success. I tried to explain the difference between a grandfather and an economy. (Not necessarily something you would expect finding yourself doing in an economics department.) Today, I see that Paul Krugman, too, is making that point once again on his blog. In some respects that's a consolation. In others not so much. After all, Mandeville first pointed to the difference between private households and economies in the early 18th century.