Monday, July 9, 2012

Krugman Now Is a Full-Time Political Operative

It seems to me that Paul Krugman's latest surge of columns is based upon Democratic Party talking points, and the most recent one stays with the same theme: Mitt Romney made money by making everyone poorer. While I have no personal defense of Romney, don't plan to vote for him, and do not think his policies would differ much in substance from what Barack Obama has been doing, nonetheless I would hope that a decorated academic economist would not just be another version of James Carville or Paul Begala.

Of course, one can argue that Krugman gave up economics a long time ago. He claims that Bain destroyed wealth, while at the same time telling us that the billions in taxpayer subsidies spent to prop up "green energy" create wealth and make us better off.

Frederick Bastiat noted that one of the most fundamental errors made in economic analysis is that people (including people like Krugman who should know better) make judgments only on what is seen without understanding what is not seen. Bastiat writes:
In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause - it is seen. The others unfold in succession - they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference - the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favourable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse. Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, - at the risk of a small present evil.
Krugman looks at the people employed via subsidies to "green energy" producers and real subsidies given to "Government Motors" and concludes that wealth MUST be created, otherwise these people would not be employed. He literally cannot tell the difference between politically-based subsidies and the actual process of how a market economy produces wealth. Thus, he becomes the perfect prophet for an utterly-politicized age.


Pulverized Concepts said...

From those returns we learn that in his best year, 1960, he made more than $660,000 — the equivalent, adjusted for inflation, of around $5 million today.

Gee, Herr Krugman, how about a short explanation of how, in a little over 50 years, the value of the US dollar can drop, by your figures, 87%? That shouldn't be a problem, he considers that a feature, not a bug.

unless he does reveal the truth about his investments, we can only assume that he’s hiding something seriously damaging.

We can assume all kinds of things, that doesn't make any of them true. The current addressee at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. hasn't been entirely forthcoming about some things, are we to assume the worst about him as well?

Mercy Vetsel said...

"I have no personal defense of Romney, don't plan to vote for him, and do not think his policies would differ much in substance from what Barack Obama"

Really? Would you consider the following to be substantial policies?

+ Nominating reflexively leftist, consistently authoritarian Supreme court justices like Kagan & Sotomayor

+ passing Dodd-Frank

+ Locking in place a trillion dollars per year of new spending and ratcheting up spending/GDP to unprecedented (apart from the height of WWII) levels?

+ Taking over GM allowing dealerships to be selectively shut down for apparently partisan reasons.

+ Thuggish behavior that effectively overrode long established bankruptcy law and the rights of GM and Chrysler bondholders.

+ Consistently pushing high-marginal tax rates with a heavy dead weight loss to cynically agitate the lowest income groups against middle and upper-middle income groups?

I know that there is a lot of social pressure that prevents classically liberal academics from admitting that their public policies views line up most closely with those of conservatives, but I find this level of intellectual cowardice a bit baffling.

Oh, well. I suppose you receive enough flack for opposing the fashion statement left and they generally respond well to appeals based on identity politics.

I'll assume that "I'm not voting against Obama" is just some clever rhetorical positioning and that you don't REALLY believe that their are no substantial policy differences between Democrats and Republicans.


Tel said...

My advice to Mitt Romney would be to offer up 12 years of tax returns, sealed and held in trust, to be released as soon as the Attorney General releases all the documents that the US House of Representatives has formally asked for.

William L. Anderson said...


The problem as I see it is that both parties are so entwined with keeping some form of the status quo that it is extremely hard to deal with any fundamental changes in what is happening. Look at the kind of hardball the Romney people are playing with Ron Paul's supporters, for example. To them, Paul is a much bigger threat than Obama, as he really does attack the fundamental relationships in what we might call the Welfare-Warfare State.

I agree with you that Barack Obama not only is an awful president, but he also is an outright thug. I have written about Eric Holder for years, and this is a person whose main job in the Clinton years was to cover up outright murders committed by DOJ and DOJ-associated people. (Just Google Kenneth Trentadue, along with is brother, Jesse Trentadue, with whom I have a lot of correspondence, and you will see what I mean. And that is only one thing.)

Obama has governed with a "might makes right" philosophy. On the economic front, he, like Krugman, seems to believe that the government can subsidize this economy into prosperity.

Would Romney be better? I don't know. He seems to me to be a guy who just wants to be elected president, and I am not sure that he has any substantive personal beliefs or any sense of what needs to be done to turn around this economy.

No one wants to deal with the necessary changes because in the short run, people who are being propped up by these artificial spending measures will be put out of business, which means layoffs. The media will concentrate on what is "seen," and fail even to understand that these faux "investments" are dragging down the entire economy.

Would Romney be able to withstand the immense criticism as did Ronald Reagan in 1982? I suspect that Romney would appeal to Ben Bernanke to give the economy another monetary jolt, he would jack up government borrowing and the like just to keep some aspects of the economy temporarily propped up.

Again, I agree Obama is bad, and he is much worse in many areas than people can imagine. But what we need is fundamental change, which is not going to come through Mitt Romney or even the Republicans. Thus, I see this country in the long term becoming more violent and more thuggish. Yes, I am extremely pessimistic about the future of the USA, because I can see the thuggery and very few people seem to care. Instead, they want to be sure they are on the "winning" side.

burkll13 said...

@ Mercy-
if you are traveling in the wrong direction, does it really make a difference that you took 4 steps rather than 6?

The Patriot said...

Professor Anderson:

though I agree with you on 90-95% of your views, I am stunned that a smart man with foresight would state that they do not plan to vote for Romney because he is not an ideal candidate.

Have you been asleep for the past 3.5 years (more if you count the tail end of GWB years) that you would let this disaster of a president keep on destroying our constitution and economy for four more years? You surely must be able to see that the nation is likely on the brink of major civil unrest if he gets re-elected and continue to dismantle what remains of our constitutionally guaranteed rights as individuals.

This is not the time to register a protest vote, professor, because should your and similar individuals' votes cause Obama to be re-lected (just think back to the Perot candidacy that handed the election to Democrats), the figurative blood of the nation will be on your hands.

I hope god grants you the wisdom to do the right thing.

burkll13 said...

" the figurative blood of the nation will be on your hands."

no, the blood is on YOUR hands for failing to recognize that your participation in this partisan system CAUSES the supposed "small government" faction to become more and more liberal. Romney is just about as bad a candidate as any libertarian could get. thanks for that.

American Patriot said...


so what is your reasoning here?
Just because Romney is not President Coolidge, we should let this destruction continue for 4 more years? Obviously the congress or the courts dont matter to this bunch. Separation of Powers is out the window along with federalism.

Your stance is untenable and indefensible using any test of reasonableness you want to apply. Personally I do not really like Romney, but should he fail to get elected, my only remaining hope is for serious secessionist movements to start in states like Texas and Arizona.

Dune said...

"My advice to Mitt Romney would be to offer up 12 years of tax returns, sealed and held in trust, to be released as soon as the Attorney General releases all the documents that the US House of Representatives has formally asked for."

The Fast and Furious hearings are such a joke. Do you have any idea how many thousands of legally purchased automatic weapons flow into Mexico from AZ gun shows/ shops every year? Tempest in a teapot folks...

To America Patriot: Let's hope AZ does secede. Then all of Aryan Nation hate groups (along with their local gov't sympathizers) that have migrated here lately will be free to drive hispanics from the state and finally claim a homeland of their own. Now that's freedom!

Tel said...

You know what they say Dune, "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about."

Since this is all no big deal, then delivering up those documents should be just fine and dandy. I'll expect them sometime early next week I guess.

I mean, when Mitt Romney earns money, that's public enemy number one, that's some seriously heavy gear happening; but handing guns to drug dealers in comparison is kids stuff. Why distract the police with crime fighting, when they could be out there busting wage earners?

William L. Anderson said...

The point with "Fast and Furious" was that the government wanted to be able to blame private gun owners in this country for the carnage in Mexico. Furthermore, the hearings involve when Eric Holder knew about the program and his involvement in it.

It is absolutely clear that Holder lied to Congress about his knowledge and role in the program. That is vintage Holder. He was the guy who was assigned to clean up the government's mess after Waco, and he also was the person who blocked investigations into the murder of Kenneth Trentadue by the FBI at the Oklahoma City federal lockup.

However, Holder did not count on Kenneth's brother, Jesse, an attorney from Utah. I have had a lot of contact with Jesse and while I am sure Dune will claim Jesse is a right-wing-nut-conspiracy-theorist, he is anything but. He simply investigated the death of his brother and what he found was much different than the story that Holder was peddling.

Holder is dirty, period. You may support him if you like, but don't tell us that the man is the soul of honesty. He is a legal "fixer," and always has been so.

burkll13 said...

"Your stance is untenable and indefensible using any test of reasonableness you want to apply."

so let me get this straight: fear-voting for someone is reasonable, but sticking true to your principles isnt? that is asinine. that might even be asiten.

"Just because Romney is not President Coolidge, we should let this destruction continue for 4 more years?"

this destruction began more than 4 years ago and it will continue as long as you so-called conservatives keep putting up liberal candidates out of fear.

American Patriot said...


stop fighting the battles that have been already decided. I didn't want Romney to be the candidate, but he is!
So what do we do now? Pack it all in and withdraw from society? Are you serious? Do you honestly think that your and your children's life will be unaltered when this country descends in to chaos? What do you suggest we do?

You cannot possibly be serious. If you are, you are delirious and live detached from realities that face you squarely in the face. Stop being selfish and think of the next generations.