Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Today’s Enjoyment – Paul Krugman’s Conservative Critics Frustrated by Being Confronted with the Truth

George Will and Mary Matalin Just Can’t Stand It When Confronted

The thing about Conservatives and public policy is that the Conservatives want to be taken on faith.  They don’t want to be challenged, they want everyone to believe that what they say is true regardless of any contradictory evidence.  It why they rarely venture outside of Fox News. (Yes, "New" should be in quote marks)

But some do, and recently George Will and Mary Matalin had to put up with Nobel Prize winning economist and NYT columnist Paul Krugman exposing the fact that Republicans refuse to offer any specifics in their fiscal plans.

After Krugman called House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's budget a "fake document" and the columnist said he was "amazed that people haven't gotten that," Will unsheathed his verbal sword and went at Krugman.
"I have yet to encounter someone who disagrees with you who you don't think is a knave, or corrupt, or a corrupt knave," Will said, borrowing a phrase founding father Alexander Hamilton used to rail against those unwilling to respect the good faith of their political opponents.
"No, I've got some people," Krugman said, suggesting that some conservatives are indeed intellectually honest.
"Specifics have indeed been offered," Will insisted, referring to Republican budget plans.

Notice Mr. Will did not continue with what those specifics were, but then other than killing Big Bird he couldn’t because they don’t exist.  But even funnier was the efforts of Ms. Matalin to quote Keynes at a Keynesian.

As if Matalin were not peeved enough, Krugman chimed in later to correct her when she said John Maynard Keynes had said: "Ideas drive history. Ideas drive progress."
"The actual Keynes quote is....'ideas which are dangerous for good or evil,'" Krugman said. 
Perhaps Matalin shouldn't have tried to quote Keynes (whom she sarcastically called "our hero") to a Keynesian. Unsurprisingly, Krugman has written on the specific quote.

Yep, we’re still laughing about that one.

Oh, and here's Mr. Krugman, who obviously can take of himself.

A Brief Note on Mary Matalin

The briefer the better, I’d say. But anyway, yesterday on “This Week” she attacked me for being a “polemicist”; what’s interesting is the context. I was trying to correct a claim she was making that was factually wrong. She threw out a number — $1.7 trillion from capping deductions — as evidence that the G.O.P. claim that it can raise lots of revenue from high-income Americans without raising tax rates is true.
But I know that number, which is discussed here. It’s what you get from capping itemized deductions at $17,000 — which has two problems. First, a significant part of the burden would fall on families well below the 98th percentile, so it would not be equivalent to raising the top rate. Second, it would devastate charitable giving. If you try to fix these things, you get a much smaller number; the White House says around $450 billion.
So Matalin yelled “polemicist” precisely when I was trying to ensure that we had the facts straight. Are you surprised?

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