[Guest post by Gabriel Debenedetti] Last night on “The O’Reilly Factor,” pseudo-presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called President Obama’s tenure a “Paul Krugman presidency.” Gingrich confidently explained that Obama “believes that stuff. He believes in left-wing economic ideas.” It is possible that the nature of Krugman’s worldview is one of the few subjects beyond the reach of Gingrich’s encyclopedic knowledge.
Suspicious Coincidence Of The Day
July 29, 2011
[Guest post by Nathan Pippenger] A note at the end of Paul Krugman’s column today says a little more than it intends: But making nebulous calls for centrism, like writing news reports that always place equal blame on both parties, is a big cop-out — a cop-out that only encourages more bad behavior. The problem with American politics right now is Republican extremism, and if you’re not willing to say that, you’re helping make that problem worse. David Brooks is off today.
Myth of the Tax-and-Spend Job Killers
July 26, 2011
Source And now, back to the crisis that should be commanding our attention: Employment. American politics has virtually no tolerance for suggestions that we need more government and higher taxes. If you merely propose letting tax rates return to what they were during the Clinton era, Republicans and their allies will denounce you as a socialist job-killer. And they will inevitably do so by pointing to Europe, where much higher taxes and a far more generous welfare state have supposedly stifled economic growth and produced chronically high unemployment. But have they really had that effect?
Why Conservatives Abandoned Monetarism
July 23, 2011
Will Wilkinson asks why conservatives have almost uniformly abandoned Milton Friedman's monetarist views in favor of various hard-money approaches: Mr Friedman died a beloved figure of the free-market right. Yet it does seem that his influence on the subject of his greatest technical competence, monetary theory, immediately and significantly waned after his death.
The news that Republicans are demanding that the expiration of the individual mandate be used as a trigger to require tax reform does not necessarily tell us what will be in the final agreement. But it does convey one vital piece of information -- namely, the negotiating price of getting Republicans to accept tax hikes is simply too high. Anti-tax theology is the core of the modern Republican Party. If the GOP leadership cuts a deal that includes higher taxes, that deal will either exert an unbearable price in return or provoke a conservative revolt that kills it, or possibly both.
Poor Richard Cordray. Ever since he was nominated earlier this week to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), liberals have given him a rather cold reception. The reason is simple: He is not Elizabeth Warren. Paul Krugman called Obama’s abandonment of Warren—whom Republicans had vowed to block—“really sad,” while National Journal reported that the selection “did nothing to gin up Obama’s base.” It’s no surprise that liberals reacted this way, given the enthusiasm they have for Warren.
In Defense Of The Anti-Deficit Lobby
July 12, 2011
My post about the anti-deficit lobby prompts Paul Krugman to conclude their whole posture is a ruse: As he says, it makes no sense — unless you consider the possibility that the anti-deficit lobby doesn’t really care about deficits. If you believe that its real agenda (not always consciously) is to dismantle the welfare state, with deficit fears as the excuse, then the seemingly bizarre positioning makes perfect sense.
Political Insanity, In One Graph
July 08, 2011
Paul Krugman just posted this graph. The blue line is the interest rate on ten-year bonds. The red line is the unemployment rate. The higher the blue line, the more we should worry about the federal deficit. The higher the red line, the more we should worry about jobs. And yet the debate in Washington right now is almost exclusively about how to reduce deficits, primarily by reducing government spending. Addressing the government's long-term budget problem is important. But putting people back to work is also important. It's possible to do the two things simultaneously.
A Medicare By Any Other Name
June 06, 2011
Paul Krugman wades into the debate over whether Republicans did indeed vote to end Medicare: I’ll just quote the blogger Duncan Black, who summarizes this as saying that “when we replace the Marines with a pizza, we’ll call the pizza the Marines.” The point is that you can name the new program Medicare, but it’s an entirely different program — call it Vouchercare — that would offer nothing like the coverage that the elderly now receive.
Cornel West Uncovers The Disturbing Truth
May 17, 2011
You are familiar with the hypothesis that Barack Obama genetically inherited a disposition toward radical Kenyan anti-colonial thinking through his absent father. Now comes Cornel West, inevitably expressing his bitter disappointment with Obama's corporate sellout ways, explicating the opposite hypothesis: “I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West says. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white.