Monday, June 18, 2012

Not That He Needs It, But Here is a Defense of the Tone of Paul Krugman – Why His Ridicule, Condescension and Disdain is Warranted

Because This Also Defends Why the Ridicule, Disdain and Condescension of This Forum is Warranted

Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize winning economist whose regular column in the New York Times explains economics and presents rationale policy as well as it can be done.  Because he regularly exposes the fallacy of Conservative thinking, policy and attitudes he is frequently the subject of extreme attacks, in many cases for his style and attitudes.  Most recently this is illustrated in the review of his current book, End This Depression Now in the Sunday Book Review section of the New York Times.

no opportunity to preach to the choir is missed by the populist Mr. Krugman, nor any chance to mock those he calls the “Very Serious People” who disagree with him. This is often entertaining: during a stern speech in 2010 by Germany’s finance minister, Krugman’s wife dismissed those who regard austerity as a sort of moral purification with the whispered aside, “As we leave the room, we’ll be given whips to scourge ourselves.” But the book’s preachiness gives those politicians and economists who most need to read this book an easy excuse to ignore it.

The mocking tone of Mr. Krugman (and by extension of this Forum) is justified by the quality or lack thereof of those with whom he disagrees.  They are largely polemicists who have adopted a political philosophy and try to bend economic theory to conform to their pre-determined positions.  It is impossible not to mock people who claim that increasing government spending increases the deficit, but that cutting taxes does not.  It is impossible not to be dismissive of those who argue that Ireland’s policy of austerity is successful when the data clearly indicates that it is not.

The author of the book review says this as a criticism of Mr. Krugman,

Maybe his case for stimulating the economy in the short run would be taken more seriously by those in power if it were offered along with a Bowles-­Simpson-style plan for improving America’s finances in the medium or long term. Instead, Krugman suggests cavalierly that any extra government borrowing probably “won’t have to be paid off quickly, or indeed at all.”

failing to understand that no, the national debt will not be paid off, will not be reduced and that additional borrowing today will simply be “rolled over” as has all the previous borrowing.  Mr. Krugman’s policy plans to stimulate the economy with additional government spending are a plan for improving America’s finances, as economic growth, and only economic growth will reduce deficits (see U. S, 1990’s; Greece, Spain, Italy etc 2010 forward). 

Mr. Krugman routinely attacks Rep. Paul Ryan (R, Wi) for his fiscal plan.  But that plan has numbers that do not add up, is filled with false assumptions and depends upon assertions of results rather than analysis that leads to expected results.  Why should anyone who does not understand basic economics, yet purports to offer policy be taken seriously.  To do so elevates them to a status they do not deserve.  If Mr. Ryan’s plan is a fraudulent one, it deserves to be called such.

Decades from now historians will look back at the writings of Mr. Krugman and ask a simple question, “Why didn’t you people listen to him?”.  

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