Despite what Krugman and others have been claiming, Government spending went up this year

The CBO report is available here (see also here). Remember Krugman's piece on "The Austerity Economy," NY Times, September 3, 2011, where he claimed:

When the recession officially ended, spending was rising at an annual rate of around $60 billion; now it’s declining at an annual rate of $60 billion. That difference is around 1 percent of GDP, and maybe 1.5 percent once you take the multiplier into account. That makes the turn toward austerity a major factor in our growth slowdown. . . .

Krugman got this claim by ignoring government transfer payments. But for some reason Krugman previously thought that such transfers were extremely important ("Punishing the Jobless," NYTimes, July 4, 2010):

One main reason there aren’t enough jobs right now is weak consumer demand. Helping the unemployed, by putting money in the pockets of people who badly need it, helps support consumer spending. That’s why the Congressional Budget Office rates aid to the unemployed as a highly cost-effective form of economic stimulus. And unlike, say, large infrastructure projects, aid to the unemployed creates jobs quickly — while allowing that aid to lapse, which is what is happening right now, is a recipe for even weaker job growth, not in the distant future but over the next few months. . . .

In "The Austerity Economy" piece Krugman wrote:

Look, in particular, at actual government purchases of goods and services — governments at all levels buying stuff — which is what standard macroeconomics says should have the highest multiplier, since unlike transfers and tax cuts it is by definition spent rather than saved. . . .

Could someone please help explain these different statements to me? But it sure seems as if transfer payments are important except when they don't give him the right results.

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