Sunday, July 31, 2011

Paul Krugman: Pretty Much a Tea Partier

... in the sense that it doesn't seem compromise is on his agenda, much like the Tea Partiers to the south:
Many pundits view taking a position in the middle of the political spectrum as a virtue in itself. I don’t. Wisdom doesn’t necessarily reside in the middle of the road, and I want leaders who do the right thing, not the centrist thing.
Assuming "centrist" means "moderate," and assuming "moderate" means "willing to compromise to get things done," and how well the lack of compromise has worked down south right now.... yeah, when doing "the right thing" means screwing over millions of people, you've frankly lost any credibility in my eyes.

Ah well, at least he knows his economics.


  1. Actually, Paul Krugman is correct here. He is not alone, many other economists share his view and history has proven his argument.

    In this case, if one looks at the final 'agreement', there was no real meeting in the middle--the tea-party actually got its' way.

    Conservative economics of austerity doesn't work; never has; never will. One only has to look back in history to the 1931 Snowden budget in Britain as well as the Herbert Hoover style of economics back in the 30s. Hello Great Depression following the Stock Market crash of 1929.

    We can also look more recently to Ireland 2008, when the former government of Fail Fianna implemented austerity and, well, we all know that didn't work out so well, now did it? Not if their banks needed another bail out last fall.

    Take Scandinavian countries who are about as close to socialism as one can get and not part of the Eurozone. I don't recall hearing or reading about any economic disasters happening their way since the world recession began.

    Compromise is sometimes a good idea, however, not when it's a worse idea than one side's.

  2. Krugman is well aware that politics is the "art of the possible". That is why he threw his support behind Obama's Rommeycare. It was by no means his first choice, but something is better than nothing and maybe it could be used as a jumping off point.

    What Krugman was on about here was that the US media has mischaracterized the origins of the debt ceiling crisis. They failed to call a spade. To wit

    "Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage, threatening to undermine the economy and disrupt the essential business of government unless they get policy concessions they would never have been able to enact through legislation. And Democrats — who would have been justified in rejecting this extortion altogether — have, in fact, gone a long way toward meeting those Republican demands. As I said, it’s not complicated. Yet many people in the news media apparently can’t bring themselves to acknowledge this simple reality. News reports portray the parties as equally intransigent; pundits fantasize about some kind of “centrist” uprising, as if the problem was too much partisanship on both sides."

    This is the first time this has happened. Indeed, "The cult of balance has played an important role in bringing us to the edge of disaster. For when reporting on political disputes always implies that both sides are to blame, there is no penalty for extremism. Voters won’t punish you for outrageous behavior if all they ever hear is that both sides are at fault."

    The situation is so bad that "As The Times’s Nate Silver pointed out, Mr. Obama effectively staked out a position that was not only far to the right of the average voter’s preferences, it was if anything a bit to the right of the average Republican voter’s preferences.

    But Republicans rejected the deal. So what was the headline on an Associated Press analysis of that breakdown in negotiations? “Obama, Republicans Trapped by Inflexible Rhetoric.” A Democratic president who bends over backward to accommodate the other side — or, if you prefer, who leans so far to the right that he’s in danger of falling over — is treated as being just the same as his utterly intransigent opponents. Balance!"

    Krugman is right and it appears that the news media are not the only ones to believe that the best way of dealing with stupidity and blackmail is to meet it half way.