In Defense Of Scott Walker's Crisis Exploitation
February 25, 2011
Paul Krugman cites Wisconsin as confirmation of Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine": The story of the privatization-obsessed Coalition Provisional Authority was the centerpiece of Naomi Klein’s best-selling book “The Shock Doctrine,” which argued that it was part of a broader pattern.
Fight With Unions? Sure. But Do Away With Them?
February 21, 2011
It's one thing to argue that unions are wrong about charter schools or that they need to pay more for their health insurance. It's quite another to suggest they shouldn't exist. That was Paul Krugman's point this morning and it's Kevin Drum's point here: Every single human institution or organization of any size has its bad points. Corporations certainly do. The military does. Organized religion does. Academia does. The media does. The financial industry sure as hell does.
Obama's Budget, for Better and for Worse
February 14, 2011
President Obama on Monday will release his budget request for the 2012 fiscal year. As you read commentary on it--or, if you’re as nerdy as I am, as you read the document itself--keep in mind that this is the first budget request he’ll be producing since the Republicans took over one house of Congress.
The Escape Artist
February 10, 2011
How Timothy Geithner survived.
Why Are Professors Democrats?
February 08, 2011
The New York Times has one of those stories that seem to appear every six months or so about the dearth of conservatives in academia. Conservatives seem to view this entirely as a problem of academic ideological bias. I certainly think that exists, but it can't explain all or even most of the problem, given that even the hard sciences are overwhelmingly Democratic. One factor is that conservatives are probably less likely than liberals to choose academia, as Paul Krugman notes: Ideologies have a real effect on overall life outlook, which has a direct impact on job choices.
In Defense Of Walter Lippmann (And Against Fred Astaire)
February 03, 2011
Paul Krugman writes, "even high-minded intellectuals are a lot more likely to watch old Fred Astaire movies than to read old Walter Lippmann commentaries." Am I the only person who has read old Walter Lippmann commentaries but has never seen a Fred Astaire movie? Don't get me wrong, I've consumed plenty of pop culture candy. An old movie based on dancing just has no appeal to me, whereas an old Lippmann commentary does. By the way, Ron Steel's biography of Lippmann is very good.
Why the Fight Over the Doc Fix and the CBO Really Matters
January 18, 2011
The fight over the budget effects of ACA (or, hypothetically, ACA repeal) went a bit higher profile yesterday with a fine Paul Krugman column defending the CBO estimates and calling the GOP position a “War on Logic.” Conservative push-back from Yuval Levin here; Jonathan Cohn is reprising some of the arguments, and CBPP weighs in on “false claims“ from Republicans. On the merits, as regular readers will know, I find the CBPP arguments far stronger than the conservative case. Levin’s piece is about the best I’ve seen.
Health Care And The Wonk Gap
January 18, 2011
One of the unusual and frustrating aspects of the health care debate is the sheer imbalance of people who understand the issue at all from a technical standpoint. Even the elite policy wonks of the right make wildly incorrect claims about the issue.
Milton Friedman And Economic Moralism
January 17, 2011
Paul Krugman notices that the new right-wing hard money view is ideological and anti-empirical, as opposed to Milton Friedman's monetarist views: What did I mean here when I said that Milton Friedman was on the same side of the divide as Keynes, and the other side from people like Ron Paul?
Everything You Need To Know About American Politics
January 14, 2011
Paul Krugman makes a fundamental point about the nature of the left-right divide: One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state — a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society’s winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net — morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal. It’s only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate. The other side believes that people have a right to keep what they earn, and that taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft.