Monday, March 22, 2010

Krugman Strikes Out

I have come to expect wooly-headed partisanship from Paul Krugman instead of economic analysis, and that is one reason I started this blog. The other reason was that I want to have another source that attacks and exposes the Keynesian fallacies for what they are: dangerous nonsense.

Nonetheless, even Krugman has managed to go where few economists have gone before: into total partisan fantasyland. I figured he would be crowing in his Monday column, and I am correct. Krugman's utterings in the aftermath of the passage of the healthcare nationalization legislation are not worthy of anyone who has a doctorate from one of the most prestigious economics programs in the world. He has given talking points that I would expect to read on the Daily Kos or in one of the ubiquitous emails I receive from the Democratic Party.

Krugman has entitled his column, "Fear Strikes Out," but in reality, Krugman has struck out, demonstrating not only his outright partisanship, but also his dishonesty. Let me begin.

He begins the column with a long quote from President Obama. Now, I generally don't like to begin any of my articles with quotes from politicians unless I am taking the scalpel to their words, as we can figure that however lofty the rhetoric might be, there is an iron fist inside a velvet glove, and this is no exception.

However, after quoting Obama, he then turns to Newt Gingrich:
And on the other side, here’s what Newt Gingrich, the Republican former speaker of the House — a man celebrated by many in his party as an intellectual leader — had to say: If Democrats pass health reform, “They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” by passing civil rights legislation.
Notice that "passing civil rights legislation" was not what Gingrich said. No, Krugman inserted those words to imply that anyone who opposed the legislation was a racist.

Now, I don't like to defend the loathsome Gingrich, and I don't forget that for all of his lofty "limited government" rhetoric, he was just another politician grabbing what he could from the till. However, one has to understand the tactics that Krugman is using, and they are absolutely despicable.

He points out that someone from the Tea Party protests called John Lewis the "N-word," which is "proof" that opposition to the medical care legislation was undergirded with racism. While I also condemn the use of such language, nonetheless, Krugman uses the incident in a way that promotes a non sequitur. Do you have difficulties with the legislation? Do you think that it is going to pile on trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities on our present and future generations at a time when the government of this country is essentially bankrupt?

Well, if you believe that, or even think it, then you also are a racist. Lest you think I am exaggerating, read on:
Instead, I want you to consider the contrast: on one side, the closing argument was an appeal to our better angels, urging politicians to do what is right, even if it hurts their careers; on the other side, callous cynicism. Think about what it means to condemn health reform by comparing it to the Civil Rights Act. Who in modern America would say that L.B.J. did the wrong thing by pushing for racial equality? (Actually, we know who: the people at the Tea Party protest who hurled racial epithets at Democratic members of Congress on the eve of the vote.
However, what if you are someone who says that the Law of Scarcity was not repealed, no matter what Krugman says? Well, you, too, are a cynical racist. Why? The Congressional Budget Office has declared this legislation to be fiscally sound, and we know that the CBO always gets it right, and that it is "nonpartisan" and never affected by politics:
Yes, a few conservative policy intellectuals, after making a show of thinking hard about the issues, claimed to be disturbed by reform’s fiscal implications (but were strangely unmoved by the clean bill of fiscal health from the Congressional Budget Office) or to want stronger action on costs (even though this reform does more to tackle health care costs than any previous legislation). For the most part, however, opponents of reform didn’t even pretend to engage with the reality either of the existing health care system or of the moderate, centrist plan — very close in outline to the reform Mitt Romney introduced in Massachusetts — that Democrats were proposing.
Ah! We have proof! Mitt Romney pushed what Krugman claims is a similar plan in Massachusetts, and Romney is a Republican, so any opposition to the government's newest edict can only be made on the basis of racism! Don't you see the logic? It is all there!

Krugman, however, is not done. He finishes with this benediction:
This is, of course, a political victory for President Obama, and a triumph for Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker. But it is also a victory for America’s soul. In the end, a vicious, unprincipled fear offensive failed to block reform. This time, fear struck out.
Yes, if you think that legislation that essentially nationalizes medical care, promises price controls, has new provisions that will criminalize actions that once fell into the category of voluntary, peaceful trade, and imposes coercive measures along with empowering the Internal Revenue Service, then you are on the side of the demons. You are a vicious, lying racist who wants everyone to get sick and not have healthcare.

Am I exaggerating? Read the column and see for yourself. You cannot both take a hard look at the fiscal provisions of this legislation and ask questions about it, for if you do, then you are a vicious racist.

There is more in this column and I will take a future look at some other points he makes, but for now, I leave readers with this sobering thought: The 2008 Nobel laureate in economics has declared that questioning this legislation through the lens of the simple laws of economics is an act of racism.

9 comments:

sean said...

It is often noted that Krugman is more of a politician than an Economist. I found this interesting, from the Wikipedia page of the ultimate economist-disguised politician, John Kenneth Galbraith; from the criticism section (note the last sentence):
“Paul Krugman, the influential, Nobel Prize–winning Princeton University professor and New York Times op-ed columnist, has denigrated Galbraith’s stature as an economist. In Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations, he calls Galbraith a “policy entrepreneur” – an economist who writes solely for the public, as opposed to one who writes for other professors, and who therefore makes unwarranted diagnoses and offers over-simplistic answers to complex economic problems. He asserts that Galbraith was never taken seriously by fellow academics, who viewed him as more of a “media personality”. For example, Krugman believes that Galbraith’s work The New Industrial State is not considered to be “real economic theory”, and that Economics in Perspective is “remarkably ill-informed”.[36] However, acknowledging the alleged damage caused by the George W. Bush administration, Krugman now says of his polemics in the 1990s, “I was wrong obviously. If I’d understood where politics would be now, it would have been quite different.”

William L. Anderson said...

Yes, now that Krugman has turned into a vicious partisan, suddenly the application of real economic theory is an act of vicious racism. Yes, whatever the CBO declares trumps the Law of Scarcity. How convenient.

josef said...

"However, after quoting Obama, he then turns to Newt Gingrich:

And on the other side, here’s what Newt Gingrich, the Republican former speaker of the House — a man celebrated by many in his party as an intellectual leader — had to say: If Democrats pass health reform, “They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” by passing civil rights legislation.

Notice that "passing civil rights legislation" was not what Gingrich said. No, Krugman inserted those words to imply that anyone who opposed the legislation was a racist.
______________________________________
What did Johnson do to shatter the Democratic Party that Gingrich was referring to?

William L. Anderson said...

I'm not sure myself, although the Vietnam War really did split the Democrats. I saw the Democratic National Convention in 1968, and it was outright war! Had George Wallace not run as a third-party candidate, Nixon would have won in 1968 in a landslide.

That being said, I don't have any time for Gingrich and consider him to be a loathsome character.

mickeyB said...

Your entire response to krugman is completely divorced from reality.

Mark said...

Wow mickeyB, you sure tore Bill a new one with all those examples.

Anyway, do you think The Krugman believes that arguments against Marxist and Keynesian policies are based on racism? Or just when Obama's policies are based on those originated by Marx and Keynes? Since Obama's policies are not original ideas and people have pointed out the folly of Marxist/Keynesian ideas since before he was born, how can this opposition now all of sudden become racist?

The desperate socialists have lost the intellectual battle over the past 100+ years and now must resort to white guys pulling the race card. How much lower can The Krugman sink?

Chris Spade said...

Wow. This blog is creepy. You need to see somebody and get some real help. It looks like you and 100 other whackjobs.

You made one good point: Gingrich is loathsome.

Congratulations on being a creep.

Sorry that you and your buddies lost on Sunday. Obama really has your # !!!!

Marco2006 said...

Let's Get this right. Taxes begin immediately but Healthcare Coverage for most doesn't start for four years. Then Health Care coverage is not define. It is like paying for a car insurance policy now, but coverage doesn't begin until four years and you don't know what repairs are covered or if the repairman has a waiting list?

It doesn't matter anyway. Like the California Legislature that declares the budget solved, it will be back again trying to plug the holes. Our debt will destroy this plan. We don't have the money.

Inquisitor said...

Chris, offer some insight of worth or shut up.