The most powerful prison guard union is in California, and the union has been successful both in adding new laws that increase the prison population AND successfully fighting any initiatives to reduce the number of prisoners and to make drug laws less draconian.
While I agree that there is a moral hazard with private prisons, nonetheless I also believe that government employees are in the category of "interest groups," and that we should not be surprised when a powerful union of prison guards seeks what it best for its members -- at the expense of greater society and also the law itself. Krugman ignores that in large part, I believe, because he is so ideologically tied to labor unions that any criticism of any union to him is anathema. [End update]
Our democracy is under siege, according to Paul Krugman. Why? Because corporations have lobbied for bills in which people are permitted to shoot whomever they want because they allegedly feared for their lives. Yes, the same people who push for more prisons somehow also don't want people who shoot other people to be arrested.
Given that cops shoot unarmed people to death all the time and rarely face any sanctions for it, somehow I doubt that "stand your ground" legislation represents any kind of a threat at all, and in the Martin case, the law did not even apply. (Not that accuracy matters. After all, we ARE dealing with the New York Times, which managed to produce some of the most inaccurate and dishonest copy I ever have seen in its "coverage" of the Duke Lacrosse Case.) No, I never have seen Krugman complain about police killing other people, nor have I ever read anything by him in which he complained of prosecutorial misconduct. Hardcore statists are not going to be upset when the state brutalizes innocent people because, after all, what we need is stronger government.
(In this column, Krugman effectively says that people who are being attacked should not be able to defend themselves, and if they do defend themselves, they should be prosecuted. Canada and Great Britain both have laws which prohibit self-defense, which means that anyone who is attacked and tries do defend himself or herself with what the government deems an "offensive weapon" will be arrested.)
Now, unlike Paul Krugman and others on the NYT editorial page, I really don't know what happened in the Martin case. From what I have read, the picture of George Zimmerman being something akin to a Klansman has not matched reality, but, again, the last thing the NYT wants is a dose of reality. It is clear that Zimmerman, who actually would be listed as Hispanic in American racial data, is not the person the NYT wants him to be, so Krugman and the others will have to use their imaginations, just as the NYT did during the Duke case.
The Krugman column, however, is not just about the Martin killing. No, Krugman wants us to believe that Crony Capitalism is just about people whose politics differs from his. He writes:
What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s(American Legislative Exchange Council) claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.Now, this is the same Krugman who says that government should be spending hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up failing solar energy firms, not to mention the United Auto Workers and GM. Yes, that was Crony Capitalism in action, but since the cronyism involved people in Krugman's political corner, that was OK.
As this article demonstrates, environmentalism also is a lobby, a huge lobby with hundreds of millions of dollars to spend. For that matter, Krugman constantly complains about the Kochs "subverting democracy," but he is silent on George Soros, who spends more money in a year on hard-left causes than the Koch Brothers have spend in their lifetimes on their pet causes. But, then, Krugman approves of Soros, so even though Soros is doing exactly what others are doing, that is OK, something the ancients once called hypocrisy.
What I also find interesting is that Krugman and his friends at the NYT are quite selective in their complaints about "subversion of democracy." When the Komen Foundation recently said it no longer was going to give money to Planned Parenthood, the PP lobby went into action.
Now, here is an organization which receives both tax money and charitable dollars, but somehow it is OK for it to launch a huge and destructive lobbying campaign to smash another charitable organization, one that has done much more good than Planned Parenthood -- the nation's leading abortion provider -- has ever done. Think about it; the Komen foundation is pretty much ruined because of the hate campaign that Planned Parenthood and its allies at the NYT launched against it.
If that does not subvert everything decent in our society, then I don't know what does. Yet, that kind of destruction is OK because, after all, nothing but nothing can ever get in the way of abortion on demand. To do so, I guess, would "subvert our democracy."
But Krugman is not done. Here he writes:
Yet that’s not all; you have to think about the interests of the penal-industrial complex — prison operators, bail-bond companies and more. (The American Bail Coalition has publicly described ALEC as its “life preserver.”) This complex has a financial stake in anything that sends more people into the courts and the prisons, whether it’s exaggerated fear of racial minorities or Arizona’s draconian immigration law, a law that followed an ALEC template almost verbatim.Now, anyone who reads my other blog knows what I think of the Prison-Industrial Complex. Furthermore, I think that at one level here Krugman is right. However, it is not corporations that are filling our prisons; no, it is the Drug War, and never, not once, have I seen Paul Krugman write one word against the madness that is the War on Drugs.
Think about that: we seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population.
Furthermore, as John Stossel recently noted in one of his specials, criminal law is metastasizing, and especially federal criminal law. Much of my other blog deals with the outcomes of certain federal laws that have resulted in massive numbers of false accusations and imprisonment of the innocent.
Yet, Krugman is silent on this scourge, and it does not surprise me. Paul Krugman is a huge supporter of the vast expansion of federal power, and when the feds pass legislation like the Mondale Act and the Violence Against Women Act, both of which have fueled the false accusation industry, I am sure that Krugman heartily approves. After all, one needs to "break eggs" in order to make an omelet, and if the innocent are mowed down in order to create a better world, then so be it.
In the Martin case, the NYT, not to mention President Barack Obama, have helped to create a lynch mob atmosphere against George Zimmerman. Given the president's rhetoric, the Department of Justice MUST return indictments and it MUST gain a conviction, no matter if Zimmerman actually is guilty of murder or not. A political constituency that has been riled needs to be mollified, and Zimmerman's head on a platter is what the president is going to deliver.
No, people like Krugman won't speak out about such things because I am sure that Krugman doesn't care. Hey, he has his narrative, the NYT has its narrative, and if the world doesn't fit the narrative, who cares? The narrative must win because the state must grow in power, and if people are abused along the way, that is just the eggs being broken so that government can create a delicious omelet.