The Wisdom of Paul Krugman

Paul KrugmanThere was a time when I posted 6 (maybe even 7) articles every day on Frankly Curious. And one of those posts was always a quote that I found interesting. Sometimes they were old, but more often, they were recent quotes about the modern world. Usually, they dealt with politics. It generally meant that I had found something that expressed something that I thought, but that didn’t need anything extra for me to add.

My Changing Relationship With Paul Krugman

This article contains such quotes from Paul Krugman, the columnists at The New York Times. At one time, I quoted him a great deal. But at that time, I said I was looking forward to the time when I disagreed with him. Because the truth is that he is a good deal more conservative than I am. That time finally came during the 2016 Democratic Presidential Primaries when he showed a ridiculous bias against Bernie Sanders. In those days, I didn’t quote him; I wrote articles arguing with him.

Now that Donald Trump is President, I’m back to agreeing with him. But his anti-Sanders opinions still slip in, even though he surely knows that (1) Sanders would be a far better president than Trump, and (2) Sanders probably would have beat Trump. I don’t say this second part because I think Sanders is so great. I’ve just come to the conclusion that Trump won because 25 years of conservative lies made a great many people hate Hillary Clinton for no reasons at all.

Anyway, these quotes will be posted in reverse-chronological order, but it will probably take me days, weeks, or even months to complete it.

–FM (05 September 2016)

2017

Trump Terror

(15 October 2017)

Right now, I’m feeling more terrified than at any point since the 2016 election. Why? It’s time for some game theory! Start with a clear-eyed assessment of Trump’s character: he basically has negative empathy — that is, enjoys seeing others hurt. Normally, however, one would expect him to pretend to care and maybe even do some good things out of ambition and self-aggrandizement.

At this point, however, it’s clear to everyone — probably even him — that he just can’t do this president thing, and won’t get better. The prospect that he will be removed, say by the 25th Amendment, are getting realer by the day. And again, he probably knows this at some level. So we’re getting into the end game. He can’t save his presidency. He can, however, still hurt a lot of people — and he surely wants to.

So from now on, until he’s gone, I’m going to fire up my computer every morning in a state of existential dread.

–Paul Krugman
13 October 2017 Tweet Storm

Why GOP Thinks It Can Get Away With Trumpcare

(9 May 2017)

Why are they doing this, and why do they think they can get away with it?

Part of the answer to the first question is, presumably, simple greed. Tens of millions would lose access to health coverage, but — according to independent estimates of an earlier version of Trumpcare — people with incomes over $1 million would save an average of more than $50,000 a year.

And there is a powerful faction within the GOP for whom cutting taxes on the rich is more or less the only thing that matters.

And on a more subjective note, don’t you get the impression that Donald Trump gets some positive pleasure out of taking people who make the mistake of trusting him for a ride?

As for why they think they can get away with it: well, isn’t recent history on their side? The general shape of what the GOP would do to health care, for the white working class in particular, has long been obvious, yet many people who were sure to lose, bigly, voted Trump anyway.

Why shouldn’t Republicans believe they can convince those same voters that the terrible things that will happen if Trumpcare becomes law are somehow liberals’ fault?

And for that matter, how confident are you that mainstream media will resist the temptation of both-sides-ism, the urge to produce “balanced” reporting that blurs the awful reality of what Trumpcare will do if enacted?

In any case, let’s be clear: what just happened on health care shouldn’t be treated as just another case of cynical political deal making. This was a Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength moment. And it may be the shape of things to come.

–Paul Krugman
Republicans Party Like It’s 1984

What “Coal Jobs” Really Mean

(04 March 2017)

Why are people so fixated on coal jobs anyway?

Even in the heart of coal country, the industry hasn’t really been a major source of employment for a very long time…

Even in West Virginia, the typical worker is basically a nurse, not a miner — and that has been true for decades.

So why did that state overwhelmingly support a candidate who won’t bring back any significant number of mining jobs, but quite possibly will destroy healthcare for many — which means jobs lost as well as lives destroyed?

The answer, I’d guess, is that coal isn’t really about coal — it’s a symbol of a social order that is no more; both good things (community) and bad (overt racism). Trump is selling the fantasy that this old order can be restored, with seemingly substantive promises about specific jobs mostly just packaging.

One thought that follows is that Trump may not be as badly hurt by the failure of his promises as one might expect: he can’t deliver coal jobs, but he can deliver punishment to various kinds of others.

–Paul Krugman
Coal Is a State of Mind

Trumpcare Is Anti-Populist

(15 March 2017)

Obamacare helped a large number of people at the expense of a small, affluent minority: basically, taxes on 2 percent of the population to cover a lot of people and assure coverage to many more. Trumpcare would reverse that, hurting a lot of people (many of whom voted for Trump) so as to cut taxes for a handful of wealthy people. That’s a difference that goes beyond political strategy.

But one way to say this is that Obamacare was and is a truly populist law, while Trumpcare is anti-populist. That’s reflected in the legislative struggles.

And yet, and yet: Trump did in fact win over white working-class voters, who thought they were voting for a populist; Democrats, who did a lot for those voters, got no credit — rural whites, in particular, who were huge beneficiaries of the ACA, overwhelmingly supported the man who may destroy their healthcare.

–Paul Krugman
Populism and the Politics of Health

Why Trump Won’t Invigorate the Economy

(18 February 2017)

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration’s budget planning assumes very high economic growth over the next decade — between 3 and 3.5 percent annually. How was this number arrived at? Basically, they worked backwards, assuming the growth they needed to make their budget numbers add up. Credibility! …

The claimed returns to Trumpnomics are close to the highest growth rates we’ve seen under any modern administration. Real GDP grew 3.4 percent annually under Reagan; it grew 3.7 percent annually under Clinton (shhh — don’t tell conservatives). But there are fundamental reasons to believe that such growth is unlikely to happen now.

First, demography: Reagan took office with baby boomers — and women — still entering the work force; these days baby boomers are leaving. …

Just on demography alone, then, you’d expect growth to be around a percentage point lower than it was under Reagan.

Furthermore, while Trump did not, in fact, inherit a mess, both Reagan and Clinton did — in the narrow sense that both came into office amid depressed economies, with unemployment above 7 percent…

This meant a substantial amount of slack to be taken up when the economy returned to full employment. Rough calculation: 2 points of excess unemployment means 4 percent output gap under Okun’s Law, which means 0.5 percentage points of extra growth over an 8-year period.

So even if you (wrongly) give Reagan policies credit for the business cycle recovery after 1982, and believe (wrongly) that Trumponomics is going to do wonderful things for incentives a la Reagan, you should still be expecting growth of 2 percent or under.

Donald Trump Plays a Populist on Reality TV

(30 January 2017)

Cardiff Garcia has a nice piece trying to figure out what might happen to the economy under Trump, taking off from the classic… analysis of macroeconomic populism in Latin America… Nice idea — but I suspect highly misleading, because Trump isn’t a real populist, he just plays one on reality TV.

The [original] essay focused on the examples of Allende’s Chile and Garcia’s Peru; an update would presumably look at Argentina, Venezuela, and others. But how relevant are these examples to Trump’s America?

Allende, for example, was a real populist, who seriously tried to push up wages and drastically increased spending…

Is Trump on course to do anything similar? He’s selected a cabinet of plutocrats, with a labor secretary bitterly opposed to minimum wage hikes. He talks about infrastructure, but the only thing that passes for a plan is a document proposing some tax credits for private investors, which wouldn’t involve much public outlay even if they did lead to new investment (as opposed to giveaways for investment that would have taken place anyway). He does seem set to blow up the deficit, but via tax cuts for the wealthy; benefits for the poor and middle class seem set for savage cuts.

Why, then, does anyone consider him a “populist”? It’s basically all about affect, about coming across as someone who’ll stand up to snooty liberal elitists (and of course validate salt-of-the-earth, working-class racism). Maybe some protectionism; but there’s no hint that his economic program will look anything like populism abroad.

—Paul Krugman
The Macroeconomics of Reality-TV Populism

There Will Be No Significant Infrastructure Spending

(23 January 2017)

Let me be less gentle: there will be no significant public investment program, for two reasons.

First, Congressional Republicans have no interest in such a program. They’re hell-bent on depriving millions of health care and cutting taxes at the top; they aren’t even talking about public investment, and would probably drag their feet even if Trump came forward with a detailed plan and made it a priority.

But this then raises the obvious question: who really believes that this crew is going to come up with a serious plan? Trump has no policy shop, nor does he show any intention of creating one; he’s too busy tweeting about perceived insults from celebrities, and he’s creating a cabinet of people who know nothing about their responsibilities. Any substantive policy actions will be devised and turned into legislation by Congressional Republicans who, again, have zero interest in a public investment program.

So investors betting on a big infrastructure push are almost surely deluding themselves. We may see some conspicuous privatizations, especially if they come with naming opportunities: maybe putting in new light fixtures will let him rename Hoover Dam as Trump Dam? But little or no real investment is coming.

–Paul Krugman
Infrastructure Delusions

2016

On Trump “Saving” Carrier Jobs

(03 December 2016)

Will there be a political backlash, a surge of buyer’s remorse? Maybe. Certainly Democrats will be well advised to hammer Mr Trump’s betrayal of the working class nonstop. But we do need to consider the tactics that he will use to obscure the scope of his betrayal.

One tactic, which we’ve already seen with this week’s ostentatious announcement of a deal to keep some Carrier jobs in America, will be to distract the nation with bright, shiny, trivial objects. True, this tactic will work only if news coverage is both gullible and innumerate.

No, Mr Trump didn’t “stand up” to Carrier — he seems to have offered it a bribe. And we’re talking about a thousand jobs in a huge economy; at the rate of one Carrier-size deal a week, it would take Mr Trump 30 years to save as many jobs as President Obama did with the auto bailout; it would take him a century to make up for the overall loss of manufacturing jobs just since 2000.

But judging from the coverage of the deal so far, assuming that the news media will be gullible and innumerate seems like a good bet.

–Paul Krugman
Seduced and Betrayed by Donald Trump

Irving Kristol and the Myth of the Serious Conservative Intellectual

(01 November 2016)

Irving KristolBoth Ross Douthat and David Brooks have now weighed in on the state of conservative intellectuals…

I’d argue that they and others on the right still have huge blind spots. In fact, these blind spots are so huge as to make the critiques all but useless as a basis for reform. For if you ignore the true, deep roots of the conservative intellectual implosion, you’re never going to make a real start on reconstruction.

What are these blind spots? First, belief in a golden age that never existed…

We’re supposed to think back nostalgically to the era when serious conservative intellectuals like Irving Kristol tried to understand the world, rather than treating everything as a political exercise in which ideas were just there to help their team win.

But it was never like that. Don’t take my word for it; take the word of Irving Kristol himself, in his book Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea. Kristol explained his embrace of supply-side economics in the 1970s: “I was not certain of its economic merits but quickly saw its political possibilities.” This justified a “cavalier attitude toward the budget deficit and other monetary or financial problems,” because “political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government.”

In short, never mind whether it’s right, as long as it’s politically useful.

—Paul Krugman
Conservative Intellectuals: Follow the Money

Media Coverage of Clinton Foundation

(5 September 2016)

I and many others have the sick, sinking feeling that it’s happening again.

True, there aren’t many efforts to pretend that Donald Trump is a paragon of honesty. But it’s hard to escape the impression that he’s being graded on a curve. If he manages to read from a TelePrompter without going off script, he’s being presidential. If he seems to suggest that he wouldn’t round up all 11 million undocumented immigrants right away, he’s moving into the mainstream. And many of his multiple scandals, like what appear to be clear payoffs to state attorneys general to back off investigating Trump University, get remarkably little attention.

Meanwhile, we have the presumption that anything Hillary Clinton does must be corrupt, most spectacularly illustrated by the increasingly bizarre coverage of the Clinton Foundation.

Step back for a moment, and think about what that foundation is about. When Bill Clinton left office, he was a popular, globally respected figure. What should he have done with that reputation? Raising large sums for a charity that saves the lives of poor children sounds like a pretty reasonable, virtuous course of action. And the Clinton Foundation is, by all accounts, a big force for good in the world. For example, Charity Watch, an independent watchdog, gives it an “A” rating — better than the American Red Cross.

Now, any operation that raises and spends billions of dollars creates the potential for conflicts of interest. You could imagine the Clintons using the foundation as a slush fund to reward their friends, or, alternatively, Mrs Clinton using her positions in public office to reward donors. So it was right and appropriate to investigate the foundation’s operations to see if there were any improper quid pro quos. As reporters like to say, the sheer size of the foundation “raises questions.”

But nobody seems willing to accept the answers to those questions, which are, very clearly, “no.”

—Paul Krugman
Hillary Clinton Gets Gored

Liberal Commentators Like Himself

(16 August 2016)

So, there’s a new conservative take on who’s to blame for Donald Trump — and the answer, it turns out, is liberal commentators, and me in particular. Yep, by denouncing the dishonesty of people like Mitt Romney, I was crying wolf, so that voters paid no attention to warnings about Trump.

Actually, even if you leave aside the substance, this is bizarre. Do you really think that the fraction of the Republican primary electorate that selected Trump cares what New York Times columnists, me in particular, have to say — that they would have been warned off if only I had been nicer to establishment Republicans? That doesn’t even rise to the level of a joke.

—Paul Krugman
Lies, Lying Liars, and Donald Trump

The EU’s Ridiculous Morality Play Has Hurt Its People

(19 June 2016)

The so-called European project began more than 60 years ago, and for many years it was a tremendous force for good. It didn’t only promote trade and help economic growth; it was also a bulwark of peace and democracy in a continent with a terrible history.

But today’s EU is the land of the euro, a major mistake compounded by Germany’s insistence on turning the crisis the single currency wrought into a morality play of sins (by other people, of course) that must be paid for with crippling budget cuts. Britain had the good sense to keep its pound, but it’s not insulated from other problems of European overreach, notably the establishment of free migration without a shared government.

—Paul Krugman
Fear, Loathing and Brexit

2015

Deficit Spending Crowds Investment In

(06 October 2015)

If weak demand leads to lower investment, which it does, and if fiscal austerity is contractionary, which it is, then in a depressed economy deficit spending doesn’t crowd investment out — it crowds investment in. Or to be more explicit, austerity policies don’t release resources for private investment — they lead to lower private investment, and reduce future capacity in addition to causing present pain. Conversely, stimulus in times of depression supports, not hinders, long-run growth.

—Paul Krugman
The Investment Accelerator and the Woes of the World

GOP Can’t Attack What’s Truly Vile About Trump

(09 September 2015)

So Jeb Bush is finally going after Donald Trump. Over the past couple of weeks the man who was supposed to be the front-runner has made a series of attacks on the man who is. Strange to say, however, Mr Bush hasn’t focused on what’s truly vicious and absurd — Viciously absurd? — about Mr Trump’s platform, his implicit racism and his insistence that he would somehow round up 11 million undocumented immigrants and remove them from our soil.

Instead, Mr Bush has chosen to attack Mr Trump as a false conservative, a proposition that is supposedly demonstrated by his deviations from current Republican economic orthodoxy: his willingness to raise taxes on the rich, his positive words about universal health care. And that tells you a lot about the dire state of the GOP. For the issues the Bush campaign is using to attack its unexpected nemesis are precisely the issues on which Mr Trump happens to be right, and the Republican establishment has been proved utterly wrong.

—Paul Krugman
Trump Is Right on Economics

Why So Little About Economy at GOP Debates?

(14 August 2015)

What’s the common theme linking all the disasters that Republicans predicted, but which failed to materialize? If I had to summarize the GOP’s attitude on domestic policy, it would be that no good deed goes unpunished. Try to help the unfortunate, support the economy in hard times, or limit pollution, and you will face the wrath of the invisible hand. The only way to thrive, the right insists, is to be nice to the rich and cruel to the poor, while letting corporations do as they please.

According to this worldview, a leader like President Obama who raises taxes on the 1 percent while subsidizing health care for lower-income families, who provides stimulus in a recession, who regulates banks and expands environmental protection, will surely preside over disaster in every direction.

But he hasn’t. I’m not saying that America is in great shape, because it isn’t. Economic recovery has come too slowly, and is still incomplete; Obamacare isn’t the system anyone would have designed from scratch; and we’re nowhere close to doing enough on climate change. But we’re doing far better than any of those guys in Cleveland will ever admit.

—Paul Krugman
GOP Candidates and Obama’s Failure to Fail

Mainstream Media Value Style Over Substance

(05 August 2015)

Just about the entire political commentariat has been caught completely flatfooted by Donald Trump’s durable front-runner status; he was supposed to collapse after being nasty to St John McCain, but nothing of the sort happened.

So now the conventional wisdom is that we’re witnessing a temporary triumph of style over substance; Republican voters like Trump’s bluster, and haven’t (yet) realized that he isn’t making sense.

But if you ask me, the people who are really mistaking style for substance are the pundits. It’s true that Trump isn’t making sense — but neither are the mainstream contenders for the GOP nomination…

So why is Trump regarded as ludicrous, while Bush and Walker are serious? Again, on the substance they’re all ludicrous; but pundits are taken in by the sober-sounding personal style of the runners-up, while voters apparently are not.

—Paul Krugman
Style, Substance, and The Donald


See also: No More Mister Nice Blog.

The Mythical Serious, Honest Conservatives

(28 July 2015)

What I would argue is key to this situation — and, in particular, key to understanding how the conventional wisdom on Trump/McCain went so wrong — is the reality that a lot of people are, in effect, members of a delusional cult that is impervious to logic and evidence, and has lost touch with reality.

I am, of course, talking about pundits who prize themselves for their centrism.

Pundit centrism in modern America is a strange thing. It’s not about policy, as you can see from the many occasions when members of the cult have demanded that Barack Obama change his ways and advocate things that… he was already advocating. What defines the cult is, instead, the insistence that the parties are symmetric, that they are equally extreme, and that the responsible, virtuous position is always somewhere in between…

On one side, they can’t admit the moderation of the Democrats, which is why you had the spectacle of demands that Obama change course and support his own policies.

On the other side, they have had to invent an imaginary GOP that bears little resemblance to the real thing. This means being continually surprised by the radicalism of the base. It also means a determination to see various Republicans as Serious, Honest Conservatives — SHCs? — whom the centrists know, just know, have to exist.

We saw this a lot in the cult of Paul Ryan, who was and is very obviously a con man, whose numbers have never added up, but who was nonetheless treated with vast respect — and still sometimes is.

But the ur-SHC is John McCain, the Straight-Talking Maverick. Never mind that he is clearly eager to wage as many wars as possible, that he has long since abandoned his once-realistic positions on climate change and immigration, that he tried to put Sarah Palin a heartbeat from the presidency. McCain the myth is who they see, and keep putting on TV. And they imagined that everyone else must see him the same way, that Trump’s sneering at his war record would cause everyone to turn away in disgust.

But the Republican base isn’t eager to hear from SHCs; it has never put McCain on a pedestal; and people who like Donald Trump are not exactly likely to be scared off by his lack of decorum.

—Paul Krugman
The Donald and the Delusional

The UK Austerity Myth

(09 May 2015)

What nonsense am I talking about? Simon Wren-Lewis of the University of Oxford, who has been a tireless but lonely crusader for economic sense, calls it “mediamacro.” It’s a story about Britain that runs like this: First, the Labour government that ruled Britain until 2010 was wildly irresponsible, spending far beyond its means. Second, this fiscal profligacy caused the economic crisis of 2008-2009. Third, this in turn left the coalition that took power in 2010 with no choice except to impose austerity policies despite the depressed state of the economy. Finally, Britain’s return to economic growth in 2013 vindicated austerity and proved its critics wrong.

Now, every piece of this story is demonstrably, ludicrously wrong. Pre-crisis Britain wasn’t fiscally profligate. Debt and deficits were low, and at the time everyone expected them to stay that way; big deficits only arose as a result of the crisis. The crisis, which was a global phenomenon, was driven by runaway banks and private debt, not government deficits. There was no urgency about austerity: financial markets never showed any concern about British solvency. And Britain, which returned to growth only after a pause in the austerity drive, has made up none of the ground it lost during the coalition’s first two years.

—Paul Krugman
Triumph of the Unthinking

The Folly of Cherry Picking New Economic Ideas

(18 April 2015)

But while European policy makers may have imagined that they were showing a praiseworthy openness to new economic ideas, the economists they chose to listen to were those telling them what they wanted to hear. They sought justifications for the harsh policies they were determined, for political and ideological reasons, to impose on debtor nations; they lionized economists, like Harvard’s Alberto Alesina, Carmen Reinhart, and Kenneth Rogoff, who seemed to offer that justification. As it turned out, however, all that exciting new research was deeply flawed, one way or another.

And while new ideas were crashing and burning, that old-time economics was going from strength to strength. Some readers may recall that there was much scoffing at predictions from Keynesian economists, myself included, that interest rates would stay low despite huge budget deficits; that inflation would remain subdued despite huge bond purchases by the Fed; that sharp cuts in government spending, far from unleashing a confidence-driven boom in private spending, would cause private spending to fall further. But all these predictions came true.

The point is that it’s wrong to claim, as many do, that policy failed because economic theory didn’t provide the guidance policy makers needed. In reality, theory provided excellent guidance, if only policy makers had been willing to listen. Unfortunately, they weren’t…

But back to the question of new ideas and their role in policy. It’s hard to argue against new ideas in general. In recent years, however, innovative economic ideas, far from helping to provide a solution, have been part of the problem. We would have been far better off if we had stuck to that old-time macroeconomics, which is looking better than ever.

—Paul Krugman
That Old-Time Economics

When “Responsibility” Is Irresponsible

(24 January 2015)

The terrible thing is that Europe’s economy was wrecked in the name of responsibility. True, there have been times when being tough meant reducing deficits and resisting the temptation to print money. In a depressed economy, however, a balanced-budget fetish and a hard-money obsession are deeply irresponsible. Not only do they hurt the economy in the short run, they can — and in Europe, have — inflict long-run harm, damaging the economy’s potential and driving it into a deflationary trap that’s very hard to escape.

Nor was this an innocent mistake. The thing that strikes me about Europe’s archons of austerity, its doyens of deflation, is their self-indulgence. They felt comfortable, emotionally and politically, demanding sacrifice (from other people) at a time when the world needed more spending. They were all too eager to ignore the evidence that they were wrong.

And Europe will be paying the price for their self-indulgence for years, perhaps decades, to come.

—Paul Krugman
Much Too Responsible

2014

Clinton Couldn’t Be Worse Than Obama

(29 December 2014)

Among liberals in America, there’s actually fairly widespread dismay over actually what I think of as Clinton-Blairism; the kind of ’90s liberalism that is not really taking on economic inequality, not really taking on Wall Street. And there’s a sense that Hillary Clinton might be a return to that.

But I don’t think Hillary Clinton is going to try and make it 1999 again. I remember in 2008… I was skeptical of Obama at a time when a lot of people on the Left were very, very high on him. I heard a number of people saying, oh, God, if Hillary is elected, she’s going to bring in the old Rubin crowd, people like Larry Summers, to run the economy. And then Obama got elected and did exactly that. I think, if anything, he was more conventional on economics than she was.

I think at this point, Elizabeth Warren is now the visible embodiment of the wing of the Democratic Party that’s determined not to return to Clinton-Blairism. That makes her useful even if she doesn’t run, as — I don’t know — a ghost or something looming over Hillary.

—Paul Krugman
What Is Paul Krugman Afraid of?

Solyndra and Successful Government

(17 November 2014)

Remember Solyndra? It was a renewable-energy firm that borrowed money using Department of Energy guarantees, then went bust, costing the Treasury $528 million. And conservatives have pounded on that loss relentlessly, turning it into a symbol of what they claim is rampant crony capitalism and a huge waste of taxpayer money.

Defenders of the energy program tried in vain to point out that anyone who makes a lot of investments, whether it’s the government or a private venture capitalist, is going to see some of those investments go bad. For example, Warren Buffett is an investing legend, with good reason — but even he has had his share of lemons, like the $873 million loss he announced earlier this year on his investment in a Texas energy company. Yes, that’s half again as big as the federal loss on Solyndra.

The question is not whether the Department of Energy has made some bad loans — if it hasn’t, it’s not taking enough risks. It’s whether it has a pattern of bad loans. And the answer, it turns out, is no. Last week the department revealed that the program that included Solyndra is, in fact, on track to return profits of $5 billion or more…

American political discourse is dominated by cheap cynicism about public policy, a free-floating contempt for any and all efforts to improve our lives. And this cheap cynicism is completely unjustified. It’s true that government-hating politicians can sometimes turn their predictions of failure into self-fulfilling prophecies, but when leaders want to make government work, they can…

Conservatives want you to believe that while the goals of public programs on health, energy and more may be laudable, experience shows that such programs are doomed to failure. Don’t believe them. Yes, sometimes government officials, being human, get things wrong. But we’re actually surrounded by examples of government success, which they don’t want you to notice.

—Paul Krugman
When Government Succeeds

The UK Austerity Myth

(29 December 2014)

2013

One Point Economic Plan

(26 October 2013)

Actually, if describing what you want to see happen without providing any specific policies to get us there constitutes a “plan,” I can easily come up with a one-point plan that trumps Mr. Romney any day. Here it is: Every American will have a good job with good wages. Also, a blissfully happy marriage. And a pony.

—Paul Krugman
Pointing Toward Prosperity?

Obamacare’s Small Portions

(30 October 2013)

Paul KrugmanHas anyone else noticed how much the GOP position on Obamacare resembles the classic borscht belt joke about the two ladies at a Catskills resort? Lady #1: “The food here is so terrible, it’s inedible!” Lady #2: “And the portions are so small!” Republican #1: “Obamacare is slavery!” Republican #2: “And it’s so hard to sign up!”

—Paul Krugman
Borscht Belt Republicans

2012

This Is What I’ve Been Saying About the DMV

(21 November 2012)

I’ve recently had fairly extensive dealings with both our health care system and with the New Jersey DMV. In one case, I encountered vast amounts of paperwork, mind-numbing bureaucracy, and extremely frustrating delays. In the other, my needs were met quickly and politely.

So far, then, it’s DMV 1, private health system (and I have very good insurance) 0.

—Paul Krugman
Stifling, Destructive Bureaucracy

Krugman’s One Point Economic Plan

(26 October 2012)

Actually, if describing what you want to see happen without providing any specific policies to get us there constitutes a “plan,” I can easily come up with a one-point plan that trumps Mr. Romney any day. Here it is: Every American will have a good job with good wages. Also, a blissfully happy marriage. And a pony.

—Paul Krugman, Pointing Toward Prosperity?

3 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Paul Krugman

  1. I’m further left than Krugman. No big deal. I’m further left than Robert Reich, and I very much admire Reich. We need all the allies we can get these days. Krugman doesn’t lie, and that’s the most important thing to me. I can agree to disagree with someone who doesn’t distort truth to suit their polemical goals.

    I have friends who were very upset with how completely the NYT became Clinton’s house organ during the primaries. It actually made a great deal of sense to me. If the GOP had nominated a normal candidate, someone who played Presidential, like Reagan/Bush^2, I imagine many undecided voters would have been frightened by Sanders’ “socialist” label and unkempt, unpolished mannerisms. I do think Secretary Clinton had a better chance against a Jeb/Rubio/Cruz/etc., as she could play Presidential like them while making more sense.

    The NYT didn’t see Trump coming. Or, if they did, didn’t realize that he wouldn’t bother to play Presidential. Why would he? He’s been exactly the same character his entire life, and it’s never hurt him before. Against such an “outsider,” the fact that Clinton played Presidential with poise almost counted against her.

    I always thought Trump was the only Republican Sanders had an advantage against, and the only Republican Clinton had a disadvantage against. In the battle of weird old men, I think the one who didn’t live in a golden palace would have won.

    • Most Clinton supporters would disagree. It was The Washington Post that was fair to Clinton. The New York Times was unfair. I don’t agree, but that’s what they think.

      I used to believe what you do now. But I’ve come to the conclusion that had the Republicans run a little yellow dog she might have lost. We have to remember that it was a fluke that she lost — roughly 80,000 voters in three states. But there are a lot of people who just hate Hillary Clinton. And I understand why. She was the woman who wasn’t going to stay home baking cookies. And it was a direct line from that to her having Vince Foster murdered. These people think she is capable of anything. Meanwhile, they voted for a man who really is. So I tend to think that she stood as good a chance against Rubio as Trump. It really all came down to the vagaries of the Electoral College. In other words: it was pure chance.

      I do tend to think that Sanders would have done better than she did against any of them. That’s because “socialist” is only a scary word for the people who would vote for the Republican candidate no matter what.

      These days, all I think about is how much better off we would be if Clinton were our president. We are on the verge of war — because of Trump. My taxes are about to go up, while the rich’s taxes will go down — because of Trump. There’s a conservative majority on the Supreme Court — because of Trump. I could go on and on and on. It’s so terrible. And the people who voted for Trump are getting screwed.

      Frankly, I want out of this nation.It’s terrible. We have far too much power for a country that still hasn’t gotten over slavery. The Republicans get to cut taxes on the super-rich because a large section of this country thinks that dark-skinned people should be slaves. I’m so ashamed to be an American.

      • What did Michael Moore say in “Capitalism: A Love Story”? “I refuse to live in a country like this. And I’m not leaving.”

        Good for him — he does great work. But for most of us, we do get worn down. A few weeks ago, I interviewed with someone who is almost certainly a loyal Republican voter, and this was for a disability-services job. It makes you want to scream. “You moron! Don’t you realize this is the first area that will get funding cuts?”

        I suppose you could try Canada. They actually rank immigration applicants by age, job skills, additional languages, etc. I looked at the application questions back in 2000, after the Bush “win,” and realized, nope, I will never be qualified enough. You might be, though. And Toronto’s actually far less cold than Minnesota! One thing, though, I think it’s mandatory to like hockey. Which isn’t too bad. The skating part is neat.

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