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Paul Krugman, disaffected liberal

For more than a year, the bearded man consuming a shrimp salad at an Upper West Side cafe has been a prophet of doom, warning that the economy could slide into a "third depression" unless our leaders come to their senses and follow his advice.

"I felt like a really lonely voice," says Paul Krugman, an unknotted blue tie draped around his neck. "It's been really frustrating." But he keeps hammering away, demanding action in one New York Times column after another, hoping "to establish a counter-narrative against what everyone else is saying."

krugman
Krugman's book. (Associated Press)

The 57-year-old commentator feels vindicated after predicting that the economy would skid into the gutter unless the president pushed through a far bigger stimulus package. And not just in financial forecasting terms: A hero on the left during his years of Bush-bashing, Krugman alienated some of his fans with his early criticism of Barack Obama. "It was maddening," says his wife, Robin Wells, being chastised by "your friends, people you'd been locked in arms with for years."

Now much of the left has come around to the Krugman assessment that Obama is a timid leader too willing to play nice with the Republicans. The president may have sought his advice at an off-the-record dinner, but Krugman proclaims that "when we really need him to take a strong stand, he's half-hearted."

In his writing, Krugman is by turns scolding and scathing, passionate and pedantic. He has the academic cred--his Princeton professorship--and a Nobel Prize to boot. In person, Krugman is several shades warmer, grousing about jet lag and delays in renovating the $1.7-million coop he recently bought on Riveside Drive. "He's very sweet," says fellow Times columnist Gail Collins. "I've never heard him yell or get teed off at somebody."

Krugman never betrays less than absolute certainty that he is right and many other smart folks--such as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, who hired him at Princeton--are wrong.

"If certainty were oil, he'd be Saudi Arabia," says conservative columnist George Will. "He is a Keynesian who believes government knows how to organize everything and should just get on with it. He believes government is dangerously frugal. I don't think so."

The current stagnation plays to Krugman's strength: He's a scholar of Depression economics. Hands clasped firmly in front of him, he says America could be headed for a period like the depression of the 1870s--or Japan's "lost decade" of the 1990s--where the recovery lags and unemployment remains heartbreakingly high. The White House, he insists, should just admit it botched the stimulus and find the will to push through a new one.

And what if the professor's prescription is flawed? "There are things I can get scared about and agonize, but this is not one of them."

As for the flak, "I've given up reading what other people write about me," Krugman says. "It's overwhelming, ranging from adulation to rabid hatred." But rather than retreating into an intellectual bunker; Krugman has nurtured his celebrity with television appearances and even a walk-on role this year in the film "Get Him to the Greek."

The brickbats haven't deterred him from writing over and over that Obama, Bernanke and company are fiddling while the economy burns. "That's what great columnists do--pick great themes and go at them and not feel 'oh my God I've already written about this,'." says Collins, who was Krugman's boss when she served as editorial page editor.

Subtlety is not his strong suit, and he doesn't spare the journalism business. Krugman complains that stories last year about the threat of inflation and higher interest rates--rather than what he saw as the clear and present danger of raging joblesness--were "driving me crazy."

krugman
Paul Krugman has been sounding alarms in his TV appearances, New York Times columns and a book. (Mel Evans/Associated Press)

In July, Krugman wrote that the administration was taken in by the "pundit delusion"--an obsession with who's up and who's down--"focusing on how its policies would play in the news rather than on their actual impact on the economy." In August he complained about "overwhelmingly favorable" coverage of GOP congressman Paul Ryan, including a "glowing profile" in The Washington Post, calling such reports "the audacity of dopes."

Nor does he neglect his chosen profession. In the Times Magazine last year, Krugman said economists utterly failed to anticipate the Wall Street meltdown because of a "romanticized and sanitized vision of the economy." This did not endear him to colleagues, including John Cochrane of the University of Chicago, who wrote that Krugman was sliming a growing enemies list: "Don't argue with them, swift-boat them. Find some embarrassing quote from an old interview. Well, good luck, Paul. Let's just not pretend this has anything to do with economics."

The clash provides a clue to why Krugman--who never interviews anyone before issuing his proclamations--doesn't sound like other columnists. "Even as an academic he did not pull punches, and seemed to relish the chance to rattle people's cages," says Wells, also a Princeton economist, who edits--and argues about--many of her husband's columns.

Given that Krugman blames the current crisis on Reaganism--the 40th president's insistence that "government is the problem" undermining the need for regulation--it's surprising to recall that he was a junior staffer on Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers. Krugman says he viewed himself as providing "technical advice" to the administration, and recalls his arguments with another "whiz kid" on the council, Larry Summers. He says he once was told to take over the writing of a presidential report because "Larry, as it turned out, was not very good at being tactful."

Krugman informally advised Bill Clinton during the 1992 campaign but was passed over as chairman of the economic council and became disillusioned. "I was more or less disgraced," he wrote.

Not quite. In 1999 Howell Raines, then running the Times editorial page, offered him a column. Krugman hesitated. "Everyone in his peer group thought this was a terrible idea and he was wasting his talents," Wells says.

Krugman planned to write mainly about business and economic issues, but became a political polemicist in response to what he saw as the mendacity of the Bush administration. He argued vociferously against the march to war in Iraq at a time when even many Democrats were supporting it. "That was as close as we've come to a new McCarthyism," he says. "I was getting a lot of mail calling me a traitor. You felt the whole world had gone mad, except for you and a few of your friends."

In similar fashion, Krugman infuriated many liberals as an early critic of Obama, writing during the primaries that "the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality." He favored first John Edwards and then Hillary Clinton, and repeatedly criticized Obama's health care proposal for lacking an individual mandate to buy insurance (which was eventually added). When the new president passed his $787-billion stimulus bill, Krugman wrote that "Mr. Obama's victory feels more than a bit like a defeat" and that the failure to authorize more spending gave him "a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach."

Nonetheless, the president invited Krugman, and other economists, to an off-the-record roast beef dinner in April 2009. Didn't that put Krugman in the position of advising the man he often writes about?

"I talk to people wearing my professor hat, not my reporter hat," he says. "I don't [quote] 'senior administration officials'--I'm sure if I tried, I'd be no good at it. I don't get any jollies about meeting with important people. ..... I don't care about access. I'm not going to be influenced by implicit promises of or threats of withholding access." But whatever hat he dons, it's hard to imagine that top officials aren't trying to sway him.

The columnist still talks to his old sparring partner Summers, who is wrapping up his tenure as head of the National Economic Council. Many other White House officials view Krugman as an irritant who has become predictable and whiny in his criticism. Administration spokesmen declined to comment.

Krugman insists he wants Obama to succeed and admits he doesn't have to worry about such niceties as counting votes in the Senate. He reserves his most venomous prose for the GOP, writing earlier this month that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is engaging in "outright extortion" and "threats to punish bystanders" by insisting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy be included in any extension of breaks for the middle class.

On ABC's "This Week," where he is a regular contributor, Krugman makes the same arguments, albeit in truncated form. On a recent program, when Krugman said the Republicans are "deeply unserious" about cutting spending and deficits, Will shot back that "not all of the people who disagree with you are fools or knaves."

As "one of the most ferocious of the breed" of liberal columnists, Will says, Krugman undermines the administration "because he gives voice to the disaffected left." After one such Sunday morning appearance, the Fox Nation site headlined a piece, "Even Egghead Elites Are Fed Up With Obama."

For his part, Krugman finds it difficult to discuss the economy on the tube, "particularly in a yelling match, but even in a relatively genteel roundtable discussion. The best you can hope for is to make a couple of points."

In that case, why lower himself to such a forum? "It's better that people who actually do understand the economy be on the panel than someone who just fulminates."

For all his pugilistic prowess, Krugman embraces the rhythms of academia as a safe retreat. "I find teaching a freshman seminar a very good way to think about something else," he says.

Krugman would seem to have an exceedingly comfortable life. There's the large house in Princeton, described by the New Yorker as being in "Japanese modern style," the New York apartment and the condo on the beach in St. Croix. There are trips to international conferences, most recently in Sweden and Japan. He makes a bundle on writing textbooks with his wife. People's heads turn in restaurants, like the one where he is lunching.

So why does he seem so angry?

For one thing, Krugman fervently believes the country is careening down the wrong road. And as a writer, his default setting is righteous indignation.

But with the economy topping the national agenda, Krugman concedes, "column-writing is a lot less stressful now, even if the world is going to hell."

By Howard Kurtz  | September 27, 2010; 6:49 AM ET
Categories:  Latest stories, Newspapers, Top story  | Tags:  Gail Collins, George Will, Larry Summers, New York Times, Obama, Paul Krugman, White House, economy  
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Comments

My Dear Howard,

Here is the problem. When it comes to Paul Krugman and you, he is at the top of the mountain, and you are too small to see.

Unlike you, he predicted our current crises, sounded the alarm on a twice-weekly basis. And that, Howard, concerns only the recent past.

Et vous?

Posted by: FarnazMansouri2 | September 27, 2010 2:42 AM | Report abuse

It's really unfortunate that he and President Obama have Nobels. I guess a Nobel ain't what it used to be.

Paul Krugman is wrong about everything. He is the last Keynesian standing. I wish he did not get so much coverage for his dangerous ideas.

Posted by: jazbond007 | September 27, 2010 2:48 AM | Report abuse

Great Caesar's Ghost! He's been eating that shrimp salad for more than a year? No wonder he's a disaffected liberal.

Posted by: tinfoilhattie | September 27, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

If he was a supporter of John Edwards, I don't think his gut instincts hold much water. I spotted Edwards for the smarmy character he is right off. Of the three leading Democrats, Hillary would have had my vote.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | September 27, 2010 7:04 AM | Report abuse

His support of John Edwards suggests everything you want to know. Professor Krugman is clueless about politics and politicians. However, he is an excellent professor. He should stick to teaching. Politics is not his cup of tea.

Posted by: philly3 | September 27, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

What? He supported Edwards for President? That alone should disqualify him from commenting about politics, despite the fact that he is one of greatest living economists. I knew Edwards had fathered an illegitimate child with that woman the second that I saw him!

Posted by: guez | September 27, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

The facts don't lie. Paul Krugman predicted exactly what has happened. He has been right on the money. If you republicans can't see that, well, what's new? Your heads are so stuck in the sand with your pocketbooks, that you could never see anything pass your own money.

This country is about to turn around and head south with the same failed conservative policies we had for most of the past 30 years.

Amazing stupidity and misplaced anger.

Posted by: goldpitt | September 27, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Krugman is an infected Progressive Marxist hiding under the term liberal.

The left has been outed!

Posted by: jjcrocket14 | September 27, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if Professor Krugman is a good economist or not. What I do know though is that my species is suppose to have unlimited money. Much akin to how I am not suppose to get sick or bleed or die. This unlimited money thing is a medical fact, again, for me. I'm guessing, and only guessing, that most people on this planet are of a similar species. Maybe it would be a good idea to pillar economic theories around this and run the economy under this fundamental idea.

Posted by: robert83 | September 27, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Prof. Krugman is one of the few voices of sanity in the public forum. He has been right, and continues to be right, on the topics he writes and speaks about. George Will is a puffball compared to Prof. Krugman, and is either a fool or a knave. Tell it like it is, Professor!

Posted by: mharvie | September 27, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

In spite of his apparent liberal filters, I've come to greatly, greatly appreciate Krugman on the current economy.

The undue certainty saddens me a bit, but would anyone except reasonability-geeks like myself read him at all if he spoke and wrote in a more temperate and necessarily fuzzy and complicated way?

I doubt it. So one does what one has to, I guess, if one is rational.

Posted by: YondCassius | September 27, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

The thing about Paul Krugman is that the things he writes about prove ALWAYS, 100% of the time, to be ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. If he says we are on the way to a deeper recession/depression if we do not more actively intervene, the only way to argue that he might have been wrong will be to intervene more actively and deny having done so, or to decline to do so and claim that the crash would have happened no matter what we did.

If Paul Krugman had been given Larry Summers' job from the start of the Obama administration, and Robert Reich been named Obama's Secretary of the Treasury, the entire world's economy would be much better off today and the Democrats would be looking at a 70-seat Senate majority after the upcoming elections.

Krugman knows what he's talking about. The Chicago School does not, nor does America's Most Overrated Intellect, George F. Will, despite the practiced authoritative tone they take in their bloviations. Interviewing a Chicago School economist on Paul Krugman and giving his description any credibility is akin to taking as gospel the description of Barack Obama offered by Glen Beck.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | September 27, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

George Will provides his typical damning misrepresentation (read, lie) -- Krugman has on many occasions over the years written of government's likelihood of getting things wrong, especially when it tries to guide specifics, pick winners and direct investments in the economy. Examples are spread throughout his popular writings -- anyone familiar with them would know this. One example that comes to mind for me, since I read it recently, is the mid 90s piece "A Country is not a Company" which appeared in the Harvard Business Review.

Posted by: gagkk | September 27, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"...He is the last Keynesian standing..."
Posted by: jazbond007

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
That says it all!!

Dear Silly Socialists,

I know you love to claim that you’re the one’s with the plans, the ideas. Problem is, your ideas SUCK! THEY DON”T WORK! And as a result America doesn’t work either. It’s a damn shame that your leading Keynesian buffoon still does work…why, is beyond me…he should have been out of a job ages ago!

Posted by: sosueme1 | September 27, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

The argument is not about whether Keynesian economics is relevant; it was and is about how much stimulus was needed. Not enough was done. One variable is always human behavior, hard to predict. I do not think anyone, psychiatrist, psychologist or voodoo doctor, could have predicted the absolute insanity which has gripped the right wing. Tea Partyiers are only part of it; the Congressional Republicans have come up with a plan which would produce the grandfather of all deficits and destroy the country; it is all about politics for the right wing fringe. Krugman is a voice of sanity crying in the wilderness.

Posted by: withersb | September 27, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

All Krugman has ever been is right about everything.

Posted by: brehat1 | September 27, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Hilarious. The article points to many of the things Krugman got right, such as being against the Iraq war, and the failures of Obamas stimulus, and the stupid mindless tea bagging drones can only point to an early interest in Edwards.

Tea baggers, you are out to destroy our great nation with your mindless stupidity. Please stop now before you succeed.

Posted by: Shardanacles | September 27, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

How much is Princeton University paying Paul to put down a black President? How racist.

Posted by: Rockvillers | September 27, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

"I do not think anyone, psychiatrist, psychologist or voodoo doctor, could have predicted the absolute insanity which has gripped the right wing."

Predicted before it happened--maybe not. But it's been happening for years now. I noticed it midway through W.'s first term, but in hindsight it's visible in the '90s, with the obsessive investigations of Bill Clinton.

This is not a passing phase.

Posted by: Dausuul | September 27, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Typical prof studies problem and runs mouth with solutions. Has Krugman ever held a real job? has he ever flipped burgers or sold Tvs? Did Paul ever start a business from scratch?

If he hasn't then he needs to shut his pie hole about how to get this country out of the current economic mess it is in and go back to writing dirges that no one reads on Depression era economics. I bet Krugman still believes that FDR got us out of the Great Depression and that FDR's economic policies worked.

Sorry Krugmann is wrong all the time!

Nice to see his students coming to his defense.

Posted by: sheepherder | September 27, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

“So why does he seem so angry?” --Kurtz

Could it be that he has a huge ego that is not being fussed over by his fellow liberals in the White House and Congress? After eight years of Krugman’s Bush-bashing, where’s the high-profile job in the Obama Administration? Where’s the appreciation?

----From http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1688:
In 1999 Krugman was part of an ENRON CORPORATION board that paid him $50,000. In 1999, as journalist Andrew Sullivan has reported, Krugman wrote an article praising Enron's free-wheeling entrepreneurial structure. (Enron would later collapse amid scandal and charges of financial wrongdoing. Thereafter distancing himself from the disgraced company, Krugman in a 2001 column would describe the aforementioned board as "an advisory panel that had no function that I was aware of.")
…In January 2000 Krugman became a columnist for the opinion pages of the New York Times. With the election of President George W. Bush that November, …his Times columns now became bitter screeds against the Bush administration’s “hard right turn,” “America's radical right right-wing media,” and conservatives generally.
…In 2004 Krugman claimed that job projections by the Bush administration’s Council of Economic Advisors were exemplary of what happens when “political propaganda takes the place of professional analysis.” But in fact, as economist Alex Tabarrok showed, it was Krugman who had allowed politics to distort his analysis. SO FLAGRANT WERE KRUGMAN’S DISTORTIONS THAT IN MAY 2005, FORMER TIMES OMBUDSMAN DANIEL OKRENT WAS MOVED TO VENT HIS EXASPERATION IN A FAREWELL COLUMN FOR THE PAPER. WARNING THAT “PAUL KRUGMAN HAS THE DISTURBING HABIT OF SHAPING, SLICING AND SELECTIVELY CITING NUMBERS IN A FASHION THAT PLEASES HIS ACOLYTES BUT LEAVES HIM OPEN TO SUBSTANTIVE ASSAULTS,” OKRENT URGED PUBLISHER ARTHUR SULZBERGER, JR. TO “HOLD HIS COLUMNISTS TO HIGHER STANDARDS.”
…Outsiders, too, have observed Krugman’s overt bias. A November 13, 2003 article appearing in The Economist states: "A glance through his past columns reveals a growing tendency to attribute all the world’s ills to George Bush…. Even his economics is sometimes stretched…. Overall, the effect is to give lay readers the illusion that Mr. Krugman’s perfectly respectable personal political beliefs can somehow be derived empirically from economic theory."
…In January 2008, economist Daniel Stein published a comprehensive critique of Krugman based on an analysis of his columns from 1997 to 2006. He found that Krugman, despite his professed admiration of the free-market, routinely favors government intervention and increased regulation. Aside from a single column opposing rent-control and agricultural subsidies, Krugman’s support for the free market was nowhere in evidence. Beyond that, Klein found that Krugman now approached economics through a “liberal versus conservative” mentality, and there was no doubt about where Krugman’s allegiances lay.

Posted by: ChesDead | September 27, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

The More I read Krugman, in the Liberal doctrine, called the NY Times, the more I fear, Mr. Krugman, has developed a martyr complex. Feeling sorry for yourself is not good. It has become apparent , most of these academics, are starring at their navels, their theories /models, are worn out.

Posted by: dangreen3 | September 27, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

First, how is Krugman "pedantic"? I've never seen him take issue with seemingly small details unless they were important, and he explains why some shade of nuance is important. That's not pedantic, that's being careful and thorough which sadly doesn't surprise me that Kurtz confuses the two.

Also, I think "disaffected liberal" in the title implies he is a disloyal liberal, ie some kind of ex-liberal. He's perhaps a disaffected *Democrat* but I see no sign of him questioning his liberal values. It's a poor phrase.

Finally, who in the administration said Krugman was "whiny" if they refused to comment? Or was that just Kurtz' interpretation of how they feel?

Posted by: Scientician | September 27, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

When a conservative criticizes this administration or Obama, Kurtz and other WaPo writers ridicule their opinions. When a Progressive criticizes, he's given credibility by the same writers.

Posted by: bethg1841 | September 27, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

The eunuch views the monarch.

Posted by: misterjrthed | September 27, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

How did you end up talking about George [giggle, giggle!] Will? Curious George doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same paragraph as Krugman. Or the same column. Or the same newspaper.

Oh, that's right: he works for your bosses....

Posted by: thrh | September 27, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I would love for CSPAN to run an hour of Kerry and Krugman talking to each other about how stupid everyone else on the planet is.

Krugman may be brilliant, and he may be right. I don't know. But Paul --- here's a recommendation for you: stick to print and internet. On TV you come across as the ultimate know it all elite whose last contact with an average person was the nurse who presided at your birth. You have no in-person credibility on anything.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | September 27, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

So Krugman is the great liberal sage ?

Obama has spent trillions in current and future revenues without doing more than reward special interests: Wall Street, Big Unions, Big Gov, and Big health Insurance companies.

According to the liberal sage Obama should have spent more ??? Absurd. Liberal economic policy has been an enormous failure.

What do the rebounding, strong, and lower unemployment economies of Canada, Germany, Poland and Israel tell us ?

Lower deficits, less spending, less Big Gov intervention.. is the right economic formulae.

Just ask the Greeks.

Posted by: pvilso24 | September 27, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"The White House, he insists, should just admit it botched the stimulus and find the will to push through a new one."

Hmmm...didn't work...do it again...hmmm.

Posted by: PanhandleWilly | September 27, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"It was maddening," says his wife, Robin Wells, being chastised by "your friends, people you'd been locked in arms with for years."

Man, this is classic, the hell with the reality of life and the documented failures of FDR and his gigantic screwup during the depression, this cat want to blow more and more on nothing. Then you have the wife, our wine sipping, shrimp cocktail munching friends don't march with us no more whine. God lord, please , please just sit in the corner of one of those 4 or 5 houses you own professor and then you can play checkers with the Chinese dictators that you so admire all day.

Posted by: skscottkeyes | September 27, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Thinking about it further, it doesn't surprise me that someone as sloppy as Kurtz with a long litany of missed calls on major issues would find someone careful and detail oriented "pedantic."

All of the details Krugman is careful about undercut the sort of shared myths that villagers like Kurtz cherish: Tax cuts don't create jobs or growth, there was never good evidence for WMDs in Iraq, Social Security is not in crisis and does not affect the deficit, the Fed is supposed to care about unemployment, the left and the right are not mirror images etc.

Krugman regularly tells them they've got no clothes so it doesn't surprise me he's the skunk at their pic-nic. "Pedantry" he says. Ha.

Posted by: Scientician | September 27, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The problem with Krugman is that his opinions are totally out of touch with the political reality. President Obama and the Democrats in Congress had to fight tooth and nail in the face of total Republican obstruction to get any economic stimulus bill. The idea that it should have been even larger is just not realistic.

Posted by: buffysummers | September 27, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

pvilso24:

1) What "trillions" did Obama spend? Are you including TARP? Guess who was President when TARP passed, and who spent fully half of it? Further, the 2009 fiscal deficit is also Bush's responsibility.

2) Canada, Germany, Poland and Israel. I don't know what lesson you're implying here, other than that they all have universal ("socialized") health care systems, stronger unions and more generous welfare systems, what do they tell America about the failure of liberalism? I know Canada had a stimulus spending program at about 1% of GDP too.

3) Greece is hardly a lesson for anything. Their budget problems are at least as much because Greeks didn't pay their taxes as from "overspending." And austerity isn't working, as they're spiraling into deflation. Spain ran budget surpluses prior to the crash but is still suffering and Ireland has gone to large scale austerity and it hasn't helped.

You really need to read Krugman's columns, (and his blog) - you'd learn a few things as he has addressed all these things (except Poland).

Posted by: Scientician | September 27, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

There is no question that if president Obama took Mr. Krugmans advice, we would be on the road to a faster recovery. One thing is true and which Mr. Krugman has exposed is that the president always tries to go to the middle to try to appease all. But trying times sometimes calls for bold action and Obama has not being bold on the economy.

Now that Summers is gone, I hope the president will ignore the nattering nabobs of negative republican ideology and follow Krugmans advice.

Posted by: sandnsmith | September 27, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

When the only counterpoint is "Cut taxes and maintain a perpetual war footing...", Paul Krugman offers mathematical models based on not only an understanding of the U.S. economy, but an understanding of the powerful demographics and trends of the world economy.

There is no other voice of reality-based pragmatism. In fact, the decline of the loyal opposition, especially in economics, puts voo-doo on an equal footing. There is no rational discussion based on the facts!

Where is a single Republican economist who can put down the elixer of platitudes and ideological arguments buttressed by slogans?

The reactionaries not only obstruct political action, they also obstruct reasoned analysis. There must be SOME intellectuals left to espouse a fact based counterpoint.

I am just as frustrated by the reactionary "dumbed down" approach as any patriot could be. It appears the right must lie simply to be relevant in the question of what to do about the U.S. economic decline.

Posted by: rowens1 | September 27, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

To state that Paul Krugman is an intense person is an understatement. Maybe that is how the John Edwards association came about. At least publicly John Edwards came across with intensity.

Don't forget that much of the time the truth is grossly unpopular.

Was it not Einstein that said "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"

Posted by: danglingwrangler | September 27, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

The problem with Krugman is that his opinions are totally out of touch with the political reality. President Obama and the Democrats in Congress had to fight tooth and nail in the face of total Republican obstruction to get any economic stimulus bill. The idea that it should have been even larger is just not realistic.

Posted by: buffysummers
*********************
Bravo! Ironic that Krugman yammers on about a cult of personality when his fanboy base could put mindless zombies to shame. Everyone babbbling about what a genius he is, and yet not a realistic, workable idea comes out of him. No wonder Krugman doesn't want to get his hands dirty on policy - political reality might ruin his love affair with himself.

Posted by: LABC | September 27, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

It must be difficult to always be the smartest person in the room, but that's what Mr. Krugman is.

And I like how he responds to this profile on his blog:

"I support tax increases that will reduce my own after-tax income; I worry greatly about unemployment, even though my own living is secure; I warn about growing inequality, even though I’m of the class that has gained from rising disparities; I’m upset about the direction this country is going, even though my own life is comfortable. And this is supposed to cast doubt on my motives?"

I wish the powers that be would start listening carefully to what Mr. Krugman has to say. We might not be in such a mess if they had listened to him years ago.

Posted by: susan61443 | September 27, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"Given that Krugman blames the current crisis on Reaganism--the 40th president's insistence that "government is the problem" undermining the need for regulation--it's surprising to recall that he was a junior staffer on Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers."

But it's not surprising to recall that Krugman's economic predictions in the early 80s were consistently wrong. (See Econoclasts, p.266.)

Posted by: hoyatiger | September 27, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"he predicted our current crises". Well if you predict a recession long enough, sooner or later, you'll get one. Like a stopped watch is still right twice a day.

Posted by: ronjaboy | September 27, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

All liberals are disaffected, not just Krugman. List all happy liberals. Not a big list.

Last happy liberal one was Hubert Humphrey. He was great.

Posted by: cpameetingbook | September 27, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Krugman is no disaffected liberal. He's an oracle who clearly sees the results of delusional decisions made by those men whose goals are make money and get reelected---and no one cares about anything else. Our nation sits on the tip of a crisis and will tip one way or the other. The men playing for the Republican side biw are men I wouldn't trust; many democrats seem to be bailing out; the rich are poised like vultures, waiting for the tax cut decision; the health care bill is in limbo. There's much to be disaffected about. Poor leadership for decades.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | September 27, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

What idiots most of you are, but especially kurtz.

Posted by: mtravali | September 27, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Kurtz, you suck, man.... So the man talks to you and you don't listen.... Or even read what the man has so extensibly reasoned, and you used Will's words as "counterpoint"? Or how "the people in this administration" think about him? How about specifics and actual quotes? You suck, man...........

Posted by: casin | September 27, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"Typical prof studies problem and runs mouth with solutions. Has Krugman ever held a real job? has he ever flipped burgers or sold Tvs? Did Paul ever start a business from scratch?
If he hasn't then he needs to shut his pie hole about how to get this country out of the current economic mess"

The know-nothing idiocy that defines the modern American "conservative" movement. You remind me of Homer Simpson pushing the Doctor out of the way to deliver Marge's pregnancy with a cry of "College boy, eh?!?"

Somewhere, the corpse of William F Buckley is weeping.

Posted by: ibc0 | September 27, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

This entire column sounds like righteous indignation to me.

By the way, Krugman's argument was that the stimulus was too small. He was right.

Posted by: mauricebretzfield | September 27, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"All liberals are disaffected, not just Krugman. List all happy liberals. Not a big list."

------

If liberals are unhappy, where does that leave conservatives? They have abandoned any ideas or ideals in favor of pure unadulterated disaffectedness--it's called the Tea Party. It was built out of anger and is fueled by bitterness. It eats indignation for breakfast and sleeps on a bed made of regret. It shouts, it scolds, it whines, it gnashes its teeth, but liberals are the unhappy ones. Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by: writinron | September 27, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Re: "not all of the people who disagree with you are fools or knaves."

I hope Krugman replied: "When they are so clearly wrong, and so often wrong, they must be one or the other."

(I'm not sure which Will is; I'm inclined to think a fool, but perhaps I'm being generous.)

Posted by: quickj | September 27, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Events have proven Krugman, a solitary voice in the economic and political wilderness, to be right time after time after time...

He does not succumb to the popular or conventional view -- which usually proves to be wrong.

It is a tragedy for America that he is not in the White House. Geithner could not hold his coat.

Posted by: WhateverHeSaid | September 27, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"admits he doesn't have to worry about such niceties as counting votes in the Senate."

The most important part of this post. I like hearing what Krugman has to say, but too many people forget that his (valid and thoughtful) criticisms don't always live in the real world. It's all well and good to say a trillion dollar stimulus would have been more helpful, but that doesn't deal with the fact that both Democrats and Republicans in Congress had to go home and explain why they passed even the $800 billion that ended up making its way through.

Posted by: dkp01 | September 27, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Krugman is right that the country is headed for another depression but at the same time his methods will not work.

The structure of our economy has dramatically changed since 2001.

Consumers simply can not spend since the real wealth of the middle class was the equity in their homes and that has disappeared.

Now think of the Great Depression and FDR spending on a stimulus package or work programs for Americans.

At the same time American companies are continuing in the business plan started in 2001 to offshore every American jobs to cheap foreign labor. These are not union blue collar jobs but white collar jobs with plenty of jobs that require higher eductation.

Not much chance public work programs will work when the American companies are going in the opposite direction.

Oh and by the way the President is also wrong in his ideas that the economy needs more educated Americans in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics. The reality is that there is now no jobs for Americans in these fields and that Americans will not enroll for study in these fields because there are no jobs for Americans.

The House Committee on Science and Technology
June 12, 2007
As Dr. Alan Blinder, one of today’s witnesses testified, these examples seem to be only the tip of the iceberg. Dr. Blinder has estimated that more than one in four American jobs are vulnerable to offshoring. More striking is his finding that most American technical jobs in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are amongst the most vulnerable to offshoring.

Time to recognize that our economy in many ways is now like the economy of a third class nation. No need for large numbers of the population to be highly educated since there are no available jobs for citizens that require this higher education, a large emphasis on cheap labor, and a majority of the population without wealth.

Posted by: bsallamack | September 27, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

George Will thinks Paul Krugman is opinionated? And cocksure? This is amusing. Because Mr. Will epitomizes these attributes. Even in the face of physical evidence that he is wrong, Will refuses defeat, resorting to creative factoring, or to "empiricised" metaphysical logic. He is a logician, not a scientist. And, actually, what pundit or scholar of authority is not sure of themselves? Paul Krugman, to his credit, has first-class academic credentials. And I've actually heard him admit he was wrong.

If you read each item in this column that Krugman is accused of being opinionated about, you'll understand that he's been vindicated on them. He is only given credit, at best, and reluctantly, on some. Paul Krugman didn't help create a falling out with President Obama. He anticipated it, even before Mr. Obama became President. Though he did believe Obama's financial and economic program would help, he anticipated the failure of such a weak recovery program, specifically on job creation. He anticipated the folly of the Iraq war. And he is not alone any longer, in his belief that the President is weak. This has become general opinion.

Why doesn't the media give Mr. Krugman credit? My guess is they don't trust him. He is practically alone in many of his important opinions, and analyses, when they are not conventional wisdom. His economic models and financial musings are considered liberal. Unfortunately, the only generally trusted model is the conservative one. Conservatives have historically made economy and finance their dominion; and even something of a religion--that of the "free market." And as we observe, the media seeks as safe a harbor as they can tolerate. Those who rock the boat a little too much, as Mr. Krugman often does, are not safe to be with.

Surely by now someone should begin to suspicion that this scholar understands some things the rest of us don't. And that when he opens his mouth, opinionated or not, we should listen.

Posted by: paultaylor1 | September 27, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

George Will is a pompous, dandy toff and ideologue with zero sense of humor or irony, whereas Krugman reads the issues, does the numbers, analyzes the policies and options, and reaches a well defended conclusion. When Krugman is wrong, he says so, and humbly. When Will, or that ex-cocaine addicted ideologue Larry Kudlow of the failed supply side religion, or those with no credentials or detailled analysis speak about economics, they are talking about ways to get their beliefs to become facts. But beliefs are not facts, and the Teapublicans simply are incapable of seeing that what they believe is a fantasy. The Teapublican pledge is a formula for disaster by decreasing revenues and maintaining most of the spending, so who is the con man now? Obviously the teapublicans who are the laughing stock across the world.

Posted by: enough3 | September 27, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Something is seriously wrong with this post. Kurtz makes it seem as though he has conducted a sit down interview with Krugman. I suspect Krugman wouldn't give Kurtz the time of day.

Posted by: aevans11 | September 27, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Thank goodness for Krugman's tiny voice in the wilderness, much as the "lamestream" media try to stifle it. They stopped follow up investigative work a long time ago.

Keep on guesting those shows, Paul. You're the only voice of reason out there.

I'm getting rather sick and tired of hearing Candy Crowley call Social Security an "entitlement." Hoped a non-bimbo would rise above, but she's kissing the same A@@ as the Fox dingbats.

Note for the lowest common denominators who posted below: Edwards' sloppy personal life has little to do with his economic platform.

Posted by: NeoconsSuck | September 27, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Howie, you have no citations for this article. It looks like a bunch of bull, ie., "In similar fashion, Krugman infuriated many liberals as an early critic of Obama, writing during the primaries that "the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality." Do you have a secret source for these "many liberals"?

Posted by: aevans11 | September 27, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

So has Krugman ever held a real job. Profs are worthless for real world advice.

Posted by: sheepherder | September 27, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Personally I think that Professor Krugman is right on target most of the time. He is able to take complex economic concepts and explain how our government is on or off topic, and with relatively few words. He communicates with clarity through details. I read his comments most of the time knowing that I will not be disappointed.

Posted by: tommarr | September 27, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I don't see what Krugman "defenders" here are complaining about. I find this a charming, teasing portrait of a man a great many, including myself, respect and rely upon for insight into economic matters.

As for Krugman's "certainty," that, folks, is what intellectual clarity sounds like to people used to mumbled obeisance to power, to bosses, superiors, to convention, to respect for the "opinions of others," to everything from timid caution to near awe-struck "Democratic" reverence for whichever way the wind blows.

It is a sound one rarely hears outside elite universities, where it is sheltered and nurtured with traditions and, yes, tenure, that the children of the elite might hear and learn from it, rather than be fed the pablum of dated consensus dished out as "higher education" for the rest of our society's apparatus of half-literate white-collar drones.

Such "certainty" as Professor Krugman's is utterly refreshing to hear, even if one disagrees at points with its evidence, its reasoning, and its conclusions.

An argument about which the arguer is uncertain is an argument not yet ready for the making and, most certainly, not worth the hearing.

Posted by: washpost29 | September 27, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Kurtz: "Krugman would seem to have an exceedingly comfortable life. There's the large house in Princeton, described by the New Yorker as being in "Japanese modern style," the New York apartment and the condo on the beach in St. Croix. There are trips to international conferences, most recently in Sweden and Japan. He makes a bundle on writing textbooks with his wife. People's heads turn in restaurants, like the one where he is lunching.

So why does he seem so angry?

For one thing, Krugman fervently believes the country is careening down the wrong road."

You can say the same thing about George Washington!

Posted by: Desertstraw | September 27, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

What Mr Krugman fails to understand is that once gov't starts spending and growing it is almost impossible to stop.

Posted by: sarno | September 27, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

jazbond007 wrote: "Paul Krugman is wrong about everything. He is the last Keynesian standing. I wish he did not get so much coverage for his dangerous ideas."

Actually, Krugman's far from wrong on everything and his ideas weren't the ones that put the economy in the toilet. That would be see-no-evil Republicans and their private-sector-can-do-no-wrong doctrine.

Posted by: CopyKinetics | September 27, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

At a time when the Bush administration was justifying its actions based upon lie after lie and ongoing calculated distortions, with the press largely onboard, Mr. Krugman was a SINGULAR voice of reason and sanity. I'd thought that my country had literally gone crazy, but reading Mr. Krugman made me realize that there was at least one other person out there who hadn't drunk the cool-aid. For that, I will be eternally grateful to him. He has been consistently correct -- let's acknowledge that and give him the credit that he is due.

Posted by: alnavarro8 | September 27, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Paul Krugman is a great analyst and prolific writer. He is an impartial but truthful advocate in the midst of so many sloppy journalists. I enjoy and always learn from his great column. I simply wish many more read it. He’s the best!

Dr. Alan Phillips

Posted by: ctw46 | September 27, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

It always worries me when people begin comparing our modern situation to the economy of 1870 or the election of Grover Cleveland or something equally absurd.

Our economy today doesn't even resemble the economy when Ronald Reagan was elected, let alone a time when the horse was the primary means of personal transportation.

Posted by: blasmaic | September 27, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Conclusion: Krugman is a far left idiot. Remember, we tried subsidizing people from birth til death; look what it brought us...our cities are teeming with millions of fatherless welfare thugs and welfare super-breeders.

Posted by: Smarg | September 27, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Kurtz is a hack writing, as usual, a superficial story.

I support Mr. Krugman although sometimes a bit pompous. Who isn't. Just read some the comments here.

Posted by: pbarnett52 | September 27, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

If you've read most of Krugman's articles the past couple years, you will see he has been right on the mark.

Argue with that!

Posted by: beenthere3 | September 27, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Paul Krugman is a Nobel Laurette. According to him if the stimulus package was not more it would result in a third depression. The UN expert economists say that the recession ended in July 2009. To a layman it is a mystery. Either the UN is wrong or Paul is. Also the recession would not have ended but for the stimulus package in October 2008 which was by Bush. Thus does it mean that no stimulus was needed in 2009 or 2010 or the entire money was wasted as it did not do any good. ?
Prof Ganeshan.

Posted by: ganeshan | September 27, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Every time an article about Paul Krugman appears, there is someone like cheshead to attack Krugman's integrity by quoting some right-winger in turn quoting Daniel Okrent's parting shot at Krugman for "slicing and dicing" data. Okrent only provided an example when pressed, and it turned out that Okrent was wrong, not Krugman. The whole story is here: http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/08/mix_and_match.html#comment-21732824

Other attacks, such as his always favoring more regulation are just idiotic. If the Republicans are taking axes to to every regulation they can find, what percentage of the time would he have had to agree with them in order to be considered unbiased? He advised Enron, when its image was based on bringing free-market principles to bear on previously tightly-regulated industries. That it later turned out that financial engineering and market manipulation were responsible for the largely illusory results vindicates Krugman. Anyone who has read his books knows that he is no socialist. He's just not dumb enough or unprincipled enough to believe in laissez-faire.

Posted by: Germor | September 27, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Quoting George Will as if he were an objective observer--or a respecter of other people's integrity--is laughable. Paul Krugman is a national treasure.

Posted by: rjoff | September 27, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Yes, he correctly predicted the economic collapse and the return of the recession if the stimulus was too small. How is this a bad thing? How is the confidence not justified?
Can Mr Kurtz point to his similarly prescient writings? Or to the column in which he's conveyed self-doubt?
I suppose when one cannot argue substance, one focuses on style.

Posted by: WordE | September 27, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Howie,

You just hate people who have character, convictions and are much, much smarter than you. Poor baby Howie.

Posted by: manoak | September 27, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse


Oy, this shrimp salad melts in your mouth.

- Paul Krugman

Posted by: screwjob21 | September 27, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

2 things kept running through my head as I read the comments
1. the song 'stuck in the middle with you'
2. how much i miss Howie's old column!

Posted by: wackadoodle | September 27, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I think somebody had a few sour grapes along with the pea-green envy for lunch today.

Posted by: 18hourdays | September 27, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Howard,

I'm a fellow tenured professor, and I just want to note that while I've read your column for many years now, I've yet to read a single piece that impressed me. (I read widely--a number of other columnists DO impress me, however.)

Here we have a new LOW on your part. As if you could evaluate the economist ranked #12 on the PLANET--among 20,000--and you suggest it's a sin to have a clear opinion.

You're a CHARLATAN, a "pundit," and an intellectual midget. Stop wasting space at the Washington Post. Teach full-time at a community college.

Posted by: BinIllinois | September 27, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Responding to:

If he was a supporter of John Edwards, I don't think his gut instincts hold much water. I spotted Edwards for the smarmy character he is right off. Of the three leading Democrats, Hillary would have had my vote.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | September 27, 2010 7:04 AM | Report abuse

His support of John Edwards suggests everything you want to know. Professor Krugman is clueless about politics and politicians. However, he is an excellent professor. He should stick to teaching. Politics is not his cup of tea.

Posted by: philly3 | September 27, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse
_____________

Both of your comments are a symptom of the inability to distinguish policy from personality. One could reasonably support John Edward's policies, which were more liberal than either Obama of Clinton's, without being in love with his personality. Edwards took a bold stance on health care early on, and he in fact pushed both Obama and Clinton to clarify their support for a health care bill. Edwards was also the only candidate consistently focusing on poverty in America.

We've certainly had our share of extremely flawed personalities who were very effective politicians and actually accomplished a great deal of good.

Posted by: GeorgeSanders | September 27, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Responding to:

Krugman is an infected Progressive Marxist hiding under the term liberal.

The left has been outed!

Posted by: jjcrocket14 | September 27, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse
____


If Mr. Krugman were a Marxist, he would be advocating a total takeover of the private market by the government. He has never advocated anything remotely resembling this. Therefore, you are a liar.

Posted by: GeorgeSanders | September 27, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

This article demonstrates that card-carrying members of the corporate, status quo, right-of-center, careerist mainstream media simply don't understand someone like Paul Krugman. Kurtz describes his "years of Bush-bashing" and asks, "Why does he seem so angry?" In fact, all Krugman has done is speak the unvarnished truth to power - and I mean the real power in this country - not the mythical "liberal" establishment, but the right-wing corporatists who are the true "self-appointed elites" in America and who have propagandized the people and literally bought our government with campaign money, high-paying, make-work jobs after "public service" and all the rest of the Washington clap-trap. You rarely see Krugman on the national TV shows and you almost never see true liberals, as opposed to the house-broken kind, on any of those shows. Their corporate owners won't let them on.

Posted by: ejs2 | September 27, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

says conservative columnist George Will. "He is a Keynesian who believes government knows how to organize everything and should just get on with it."

Which shows why Will is unqualified to comment on economics or Krugman. Krugman's written thousands of words on the FAILURE of governments to get even the basics of macroeconomic policy right. His own policy prescriptions are all about making markets work better by aligning incentives with economic goals, overcoming market failurers, etc.

Posted by: j3hess | September 27, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The Walter Lippmanns are long gone. I've always thought Paul was looking for work and criticizing the stimulus as too little was his way of voting for himself. As we all know the stimulus was not ill conceived but was not a stimulus at all. For once they could have hired any media maven to give it a grander more secure self circumscribing name with passion. Most of it goes for education. Some of it goes to states. Health. A a bit for infrastructure. Oh those who bought into CAT and DE. But stimulus. No. If Rahm made a mistake or Orszag it was to call it a plan at all to help the current debacle. O has a vision. Journalists have a plan for yesterday. BTW, how many economists fit on the dais? None if their prescriptions were judged on clarity, effectiveness and value.

Posted by: KraftPaper | September 27, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

George Will criticizing someone for "certainty," well, I guess Mickey Rooney could call someone short.

Will, in March 2008, was certain that there would be no economic crisis because 94% of mortgages were performing.

And for the stuck on stupid teabaggers who criticize Keyensian approaches, please recall that when Reagan took office in 1981, unemployment was 7.5%. He took the supply side approach and unemployment topped out at 10.8% one year and ten months later. Obama took over with unemployment at 7.6%, and topped it out at 10% within the year.

So stimulus worked, and Krugman was correct, it was enough to stop the slide, but not enough to turn it around.

Posted by: Paul521 | September 27, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse


Obama is a weak leader but not in the way described by Krugman.

Rather than Obama being too timid with Republicans, I think he's arrogant. Witness his dismissive attitude to McCain, Ryan and the other Republicans at the Health Care "summit."

Also, right after his election the GOP wanted to offer their views on the economy and Obama childishly stated "I won."

However, Obama IS timid with world leaders of rogue nations. He put his appeasing hand out to Ahmadinejad and had it slapped!

Krugman is right about being a weak leader but for the wrong reasons.

Posted by: janet8 | September 27, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Every "conservative" comment I have read here today is imbecilic to the point of drooling idiocy, occasionally rising to the level of third grade playground taunt. The only reason we aren't making more and better progress is because we allow (Arab billionaire funded, foreign owned) Fox News and other right wing outlets to contribute in-kind campaign donations in the form of political propaganda and free advertisements 24-7 with no right of reply and little opportunity to rebut the pernicious, ignorant and suicidal notions thereby propagated. This right wing welfare system is what is destroying this nation and creating the nightmarish banana Republican hell we are currently facing, and even the rapidly bankrupting Washington Post will do nothing to stop it, even at the cost of its own business.

Posted by: sparkplug1 | September 27, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Krugman's Nobel prize came from the same group and country that Al Gore's and Obama's came from. Al Gore scammed his way to the prize, Obama said he did nothing to deserve it. Wonder if Krugman's socialist work was a scam or undeserving?

Posted by: bbwk80a1 | September 27, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

" According to him if the stimulus package was not more it would result in a third depression. The UN expert economists say that the recession ended in July 2009. To a layman it is a mystery. Either the UN is wrong or Paul is. Also the recession would not have ended but for the stimulus package in October 2008 which was by Bush. Thus does it mean that no stimulus was needed in 2009 or 2010 or the entire money was wasted as it did not do any good. ?"
Prof Ganeshan.
Posted by: ganeshan
-----------

I hope I can help with your questions.

First, the announcement on the end of the recession didn't come from the UN but the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Second, there is an important difference between Krugman's "could" (result in a depression) and your reformulation of his statement as "would". The Krugman's "could" recognizes that there are many factors at work; "would" argues for a single-factor determination.

Does the chance of a new depression, or even just a double-dip recession, remain? Yes. There are huge amounts of bad credit still in the system, foreclosures and short sales waiting to happen; fewer jobs are being created than the number of new workers arriving on the labor market. Austerity measures in Europe will drive down global demand. And the NBER economist's assessment didn't look forward from the data to anticipate the end of many of the stimulus package programs.

The Bush intervention in 2008, the TARP program, was not a stimulus package but an ambulance and crew of paramedics for the financial sector to prevent a complete meltdown. It didn't address the damage done to mainstreet and the housing and labor markets. So the Obama bill in 2009 was a real stimulus, it was really needed, and it made a real difference. It's not so obvious because, as Krugman warned, it was only big enough to slow the downward slide, not to bring about a recovery.

And that is what he is more concerned about that the possibility of a new depression - the likelihood of a very weak economy, like Japan's, that's not creating enough new jobs and new consumer demand to grow.

So your questions get important details wrong, leading you to mis-characterize Krugman and the history of recent interventions in the crisis. Most professors learn the importance of accuracy and telling details long before they get to be professors, their abilities honed in the cut-and-thrust of seminars, presentations, and peer review. So I ask for clarification: is "Prof" your academic position, your first name, or an honor you have bestowed on yourself?

Posted by: j3hess | September 27, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Take the time to scan your local papers from the years 1929-1933. You'll be surprised at the Republican talking points from the era ("Government needs to cut spending and live within its means," "Economy only needs confidence to get back on it's feet"). The main difference between then and now is that the Republicans had 3 years following the panic of 1929 to implement their ideas. By the time they were booted out in '32, the country was suffering from 25% unemployment and the banks were on the brink of collapse. When FDR took over, the GOP came up with a new talking point: The Democrats are putting our kids and grandkids in debt!

Posted by: newsraptor | September 27, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Mr. Kurtz, you are much more polished in the skills of debate than Mr. Krugman. You have even shown a hint of backbone compared to your colleagues on the paper. He is a bit of a disaster on TV and sometimes I squirm in my seat while he tries to express himself but he is not a stenographer for those that give him "access." He is not going along with the DC/Wall Street mob like the rest of the Post and the Times (no not Washington Times, NY Times, please).
He is blowing the whistle and you are sidling up to ingraciate yourself with the DC consensus.
I guess no one is going to accuse you of being a "traitor to your class."
Everyone seems to be forgetting that Wall Street litiany; by the time the stuff hits the fan, I'll be gone and you'll be gone and very wealthy.

Posted by: fauxhills | September 27, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I love seeing the bile that the mere mention of Krugman's name let alone a full profile of him elicits from the ignorant and proud of it, 'know-nothing' wing of my former party. People like Will that trade in pandering and supposed absolutes have led this country down a long dark hole. Reality never conforms to ideology, but God's will be done the wingnuts in my former party will cut taxes because it is the be all end all solution of everything to do with anything in America. Screw analysis, screw logic, screw rationality just cut takes and scream about government inefficiency and the gay agenda. Krugman poses a problem for these whack jobs - logic, credentials, intellect and right way too often. No wonder they hate him so.

Posted by: entprof | September 27, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Many commenters seem to believe Professor KRUGMAN's views represent academia, as if the ideas he opposes are NOT from academia. They say he should stick to teaching and let people with real world business experience provide solutions to our economic problems. Guess what, those are business leaders, not economists. Would you want an auto mechanic to try to solve the problems in quantum mechanics?

Do you actually believe "small government" libertarian ideas of the Tea Party are not from academia? These ideas are from the THEORIES of the Chicago School, Austrian School, and classical economics that arose as antitheses of either communism or feudalism. The ideas of Ayn Rand became popular during the time of McCarthyism. Her family's business was taken over by the communists--of course, it is natural that her ideas would be at the extreme opposite end of communism.

Both communism and conservative libertarianism only work on paper. They both fail because their theoretical assumptions do not hold in the real world. The "small government" libertarian ideas of the Tea Party assume the following:

(1) people are incorruptible (at least under its own system)
(2) markets are efficient (all information is reflected in the prices)
(3) competition is perfect (no party has significant power over another party)
(4) market participants are rational (Greenspan's "irrational exuberance" line is another example of him saying his own ideas do not work. Also, see his Oct 23, 2008 statements about "free" markets.)

It would be nice to live in a Libertarian utopia, but that is a pipe dream. We have marched down that delusional path for 30 years until it blew up in our face. Some people still must be shell shocked and do not understand who lit the fuse.

Supply side trickle-down economics was likely the best solution in the early 1980s when the economy faced the supply side shocks from INFLATION. That is not the case now. Our problems are on the DEMAND side. Those were also Keynesian economic ideas used by Reagan (at least in practice). The monetary policy of raising interest rates by Volcker and fiscal tax cuts w/o counter spending cuts are KEYNESIAN solutions. It was NOT the invisible hand of the market the brought STAGFLATION of the early 1980s to an end.

Posted by: JimCramer | September 27, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Krugman was hired by disgraced NY Times editor Howell Raines? I would be ashamed to admit that.

McConnell is engaged in "outright extortion"? Than how would Krugman characterize Pelosi and House Rules Committee Chairman Slaughter after they threatened "Deem and Pass" to ramrod the final, unpopular Obamacare through the House? No extortion there, was there Krugman?

And how would full-of-himself Krugman identify Harry Reid, using Reconciliation to get final passage of Obamacare in the Senate? And don't forget the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase? Extortion or payoff?

And finally how would Mr. Nobel Prize treat Obama's image, given the President's failure to fulfill his campaign promise of transparency by allowing back room negotiations rather than C-Span to shape the details of Obamacare? The Kucinich plane ride? The Stupak executive order that was circumvented immediately? No arm twisting extortion there, huh Krugman?

Get over your fat self Krugman. We don't want anymore fiscal debt in this country. When interest rates on Treasury Bills, which account for 80% of the country's national debt, climb back to a normal 4-5% yield, our kids will be paying over a trillion dollars of their wages for interest on that debt.

Krugman, you slithering moron, drink some more wine and leave us alone. Even Keynes warned of the dangers of run away fiscal debt.

Posted by: bbwk80a1 | September 27, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

The trillion dollar stimulus did nothing except put us deeper in debt.

Krugman's solution: More stimulus.

Obviously, Krugman does not have sufficient character to just admit that he was wrong.

Isn't it interesting how all these Marxist oligarchs want a free market into which to sell their books and personal appearances but want everyone else's economic freedom curtailed by regulation and government intervention?

Posted by: LePauvrePapillon | September 27, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Paul Krugman predicted the '08 meltdown? Really? Where is it that he warned about the housing bubble, about the Federal Reserve's recklessness in forcing down interest rates, about Fannie and Freddie's stupidity in pushing subprime and the collapse of lending standards? And now he says we can cure a debt-caused meltdown by encouraging MORE debt?

See www.krugman-in-wonderland.blogspot.com.

Posted by: dmpk218 | September 27, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Isn't "more more more spending" the answer to all liberal ideals?

Maybe the ideals are the problem.

True pragmatism could be the answer.

Posted by: docwhocuts | September 27, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't think I accept the premise of this article. I've seen Krugman on several Sunday talk shows as well as some longer "special" news stories about the state of the economy. He makes his points and when he disagrees with someone, he generally tells them why.

If I can think of one reason why he might be angry, it is because people who he (and others0 has pointed out to be wrong in the past (Summers, Paulson, Greenspan, et. al.) were in no way reprimanded, punished, demoted, fired for being massively wrong.

Look, if you are dead wrong about facts of fundamentals of the economy then there should be consequences. The fact is, the Republicans have been dead wrong about most of their economic arguments yet they still have the power to thwart any and all legislation via filibuster. This is beyond frustrating obstructionism. When you have to watch this sort of thing play out over and over, it can make for some anger. Can Kurtz understand that?

Other readers have pointed out that Krugman isn't cut out for politics. I would agree. Politics requires that to be good at it, you make lots of compromises and lose your integrity.

Posted by: graham006 | September 27, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Cramer: Volcker did not "raise(ing) interest rates" in 1980, but rather tightened the money supply in an effort to suppress inflation while allowing interest rates to seek their own level. The resulting high interest rates killed the economy, thus inflation. The hidden hand of the market very definitely determined the level of interest rates back then, given their almost parabolic rise prior to 1980. Prime rate reached 21%, while money market funds paid 18%, and a AAA rated bond floated by Indiana Bell with a coupon of 15% went off at a discount to yield 17%. These were market not government forces. Main street was stagnant, while Wall Street became inflated. Futures markets went through the roof even as farms got repossessed.

In the late nineties after Clinton declared that the "era of big government is over", Greenspan, Rubin, Summers and Clinton thought they discovered the magic bullet to prevent future recessions, ie: tweak the interest rates by targeting the Fed Funds rate, a strategy whose focus was quite different from that of controlling the money supply as was reflected by M1 & M2. If the Fed were to raise it's Fed Funds target at its next meeting, it wouldn't have to do anything to achieve higher rates in the economy. The bond market would crash instantly to over compensate for the higher target.

The difference in 1980 was that the market not the Fed determined the actual level of interest rates. The Fed, which tried unsuccessfully throughout the late '70's to influence rates by tweaking the money supply, not the market determined the level of the money supply by supplying or draining funds. Their target was inflation rather than interest rate levels.

Posted by: bbwk80a1 | September 27, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I consistently find Dr. Krugman's columns in the NYT to make more sense than similar columns by any other economist. I consider myself a pragmatic political centrist, and favor whatever remedies work. I do not care who advocated for them, only that they make sense and are likely to succeed. My only quarrel with Dr. Krugman is that I strongly advocate for a balanced budget in the manner of the Concord Coalition. Bravo for a brave and sensible man!

Posted by: bloommarko4 | September 27, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Places where the stimulus was allowed to proceed have done rather better ie, all the jobs lost in Canada because of the recession have been regained. In the US I understand that Washington alone tried the stimulus but it was blunted by the States cutting back.

Posted by: sjag1 | September 27, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Why is Krugman "lonely?" Why is Krugman, the Nobel Prize winner, treated like a fringe thinker while those who advocate Bush economics II (or heck, Bush economics squared!) get all the attention and set the agenda?

Krugman has been as prescient as anybody and his arguments make sense. He happens not to enjoy seeing millions of human beings suffer -- I would think that quality would make him MORE worth listening to than the Tea Party and the Tenthers and the self-serving Club for Growth.

The far right has this 3,000 mile megaphone called Fox News, plus the preponderance of radio and newspapers, and supposedly independent news organizations like the Post seem to be cowed these days.

Our democracy is failing. Bad ideas are triumphing over good ideas. Policies that have repeatedly failed (cutting taxes for the wealthy) are going to be re-instituted as soon as Republicans get power simply because those policies benefit certain people. And Krugman is marginalized.

Posted by: tboyer33 | September 27, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The current stimulus is less than half spent because the government is being ultra-cautious in spending it, and the Republicans are doing everything they can to keep it from being spent.

Why doesn't he write "column after column" about that?

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | September 27, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

He should just change his name to Paul "I am a Socialist" Krugman.

Posted by: onehanded | September 27, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse


Will shot back that "not all of the people who disagree with you are fools or knaves."

Some people like George Will are both a fool and a knave.

Posted by: googleguy | September 27, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

What Krugman fails to acknowledge is that Obama had the opportunity to throw money at the problem already, but chose to pursue a liberal agenda instead.

Likewise with health care. Instead of addressing the biggest problem, the cost of health care, Obama chose to go for universal coverage.

Obama was wrong on both counts. He missed his opportunity. We are all currently paying the price, and will for some time.

Posted by: Benson | September 27, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

It is inaccurate and unfair to tag Paul Krugman with a "disaffected liberal" tag line. Dr. Krugman pens analytically rigorous columns and blogs about the state of the economy and is a Nobel Prize economist. His predictions, while made in a leading news forum, are far more analytically sound than those of many pundits.

I have been reading Dr. Krugman's work for at least 5 years, and can attest to the fact that his economic forecasts have been extremely accurate. He warned about the potential dangers of the housing bubble several years before the economic collapse, and he was correct. (As a matter of fact, Krugman did a better job than most in predicting the meltdown.) In early 2009, Krugman warned that the Obama stimulus was too small and he appears to have been correct on this point, too. Krugman also warned that the Obama administration would likely get only one chance to get a stimulus bill passed, and he appears to have been right.

Yes, Dr. Krugman has widened his media presence, is doing very well financially, and appears at numerous high-profile forums. None of this, however, is sufficient to discredit his work and to write him off as one of many "disaffected liberal" pundits. It is a shame that Krugman's analytic rigor and track record were obscured in Mr. Kurtz's column by pegging Krugman as a mere "disaffected liberal". He may be disaffected, and he may be a liberal, but he is also one of the sharpest economic commentators on the planet.

Posted by: ANetliner | September 27, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Economics is pretty boring and pedantic, why not become a "polemicists" Mr Krugman is someone who has discovered the glittering lights of being a pundit of which a lot is only peripherally to do with his expertise.

Here's the other thing, In Keynes day, people really did put their money under their mattress, and yes it really did cause the economy to fall if everyone panicked and did this. The money wasn't circulating and therefore the economy stopped. That just isn't true anymore, if folks aren't spending their money they're saving it...perhaps in a bank where it is still getting used. This idea of pump priming with easy money is somewhat ludicrous when, in fact, our problem has been too much easy money, we pump-primed our way into this mess, it's not the solution.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | September 27, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

To those who say Krugman predicted this crisis, I say that the vast majority of economists and businessmen ringing the alarm bells were of the AUSTRIAN school of economics. Not only did they predict the crisis, they correctly predicted how the world's governments would react to this crisis, and they continue to argue that the real crisis has merely been delayed by the lack of willingness to face up to the world's problems.

Krugman is brilliant, but you can argue until your face turns blue whether he is correct or not. I think he is WRONG.

I leave you with this quote about economists:

'the tragedy is that, on the contrary, we are already suffering the long-run consequences of the policies of the remote or recent past. Today is already the tomorrow which the bad economist yesterday urged us to ignore. The long-run consequences of some economic policies may become evident in a few months. Others may not become evident for several years. Still others may not become evident for decades. But in every case those long-run consequences are contained in the policy as surely as the hen was in the egg, the flower in the seed.

From this aspect, therefore, the whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups." - Henry Hazlitt

Posted by: badkid | September 27, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Krugman is a CRANK, pure and simple.

The President staved off a repeat of the Great Depression; now Krugman is mad because every homeless person doesn't have a 52 inch flat screen.

Get over it, Paul. The days of endless credit for any corpse that signed a credit application are OVER! We're not going back to 2006. EVER!

Look, we KNEW this recession would be MUCH deeper than any in recent memory because the US consumer had overleveraged and undersaved for the better part of two decades. As a result, consumer spending remained tepid after 2008 despite everything the Fed tried to do.

Krugman should have spent more time writing about the folly of a US personal savings rate of ZERO during the middle of the last decade! Maybe then we wouldn't be trapped in such a deep recession, while households go through the painful and lengthy process of deleveraging.

You and the rest of you economist buddies screwed up royally, Paul. And all those middle class families who mortgaged their future because you failed to warn them (Bob Shiller got it right, though!) have you to blame.

The chickens have come home to roost.

Posted by: trenda | September 27, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Didn’t Krugman also predict that the banks would fail unless they were nationalized? I wonder why he is not talking up that prediction as well. The problem with Krugman predictions is that is there no way to say his remedy would have worked as well, but since what was chosen was not his he is free to speculate on his brilliant analysis not unlike his other predictions.

Posted by: sliowa1 | September 27, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Posted by: websterr1 | September 27, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Obama and his advisors, current and past, have believed in policies that are plain nonsense. Health care reform and other initiatives are going to help the economy only if it were to generate growth. Krugman lacks theoretical support for his claims. I have posted my research on savings, an exact math result that contradicts most of the teaching in the academia. This result is the only one that helps explain change in savings and growth. Since I posted my work in 1996, I got 14 years of rack record! Read and think about it at http://knol.google.com/k/savings-and-growth#

Posted by: ckewu | September 27, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Dear jazzbond007,

I'm sorry you are such a retard. It's probably not your fault, but the way you were raised. Going through life stingy = going through life lonely.

Posted by: dmntnx | September 27, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Krugman
While true that Keynesian economics preaches running deficits in bad times, it also preaches paying those down in good times. Sorry sir, but your ilk is nowhere to be found when it is time to pay back the money. As to the Republicans, they want to pay no taxes but want to fight wars and have good police protection for themselves and their families. God forbid they are denied any services that make their life comfy, but let the poor be damned. It all adds up to the same thing sir, red ink as far as the eye can see.

Posted by: gvelanis | September 27, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Great piece Howard. It's good to see someone with great intellectual prowess, who is not all about making money spewing out nonsense, getting some well deserved attention. It's usually discredited, know-nothing, blowhard right wingers who get everything wrong getting all the press attention (think Newt, Sarah, Dick Army, Glenn Beck, Bill Kristal(sp?)). I can never understand how people like Newt or John McCain keep getting invited onto meet the press.

I support Obama but I think Krugman has been very insightful in his criticisms.

Posted by: rramos01 | September 27, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Fox News has far fewer viewers than ABC, or NBC, or CBS News. How is it then that Fox is perceived to be so influential as to manipulate the American electorate in the conservative direction, given its smaller audience?

Would it be that Fox makes more sense than the MSM, that they are perceived by those influenced Americans to be honest, or would it be that this media midget (compared to the 3 MSM's) has less to do with the current electorate's opinion than Obama and his Democrats, such as Pelosi and Reid?

Posted by: bbwk80a1 | September 27, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS:

Dr. Paul Krugman - 1

George Will - 0

PRESIDENTIAL NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS:

PRESIDENT Barack Obama - 1

President Ronald Reagan - 1

PRESIDENTS RESIDING IN HELL:

President Ronald Reagan/the Great Satan - 1

Posted by: bigisle | September 27, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

SORRY ABOUT THAT LAST "SCORE."

IT SHOULD READ:

PRESIDENTIAL NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS:

Ronald Reagan: - 0

Posted by: bigisle | September 27, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

What a crock.

Same arguments Liberals always use to rationalize their failures.

We didn't spend enough.

If the economy had rebounded after the $860 billion stimulus Krugman would be crowing about what a genius he is.

Since it's failing he says it wasn't enough money.

He sets it up it's impossible for him to lose the arguement.

How about the obvious.

The stimulus that he pushed is a failure.

You don't need a Nobel prize to see that.

Posted by: drjcarlucci | September 27, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Howard--c'mon, think for yourself. If the Administration actually did what Krugman suggests, we'd be in even deeper doo-doo. Obama drips contempt for the American free enterprise system from every pore of his body. That is the problem. I don't know--ask the GM bondholders. Ask the auto dealerships that had their dealerships taken away from them like some Russian pogrom. Cash for klunkers. What was the net effect of that program on the business? And that's just the auto industry. Should we go on to the oil & gas industry? Etc., etc. Krugman advocates a government solution to the economic problem. B-z-z-z-z-t-t-t. Wrong answer. Next.

Posted by: Husker78 | September 27, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I resent Krugman getting all the credit. I was a disaffected liberal that was criticizing Obama's timidity long before he was....

Sincerely,

Michael D'Onofrio
Memphis, TN

Posted by: mcls1442 | September 27, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

This is a joke -- isn't it? Everyone but Obama, Gibbs, Geithner and Sommers knew it would not work. It wasn't the size of the stimulus -- it what it was spent on. Things like Green Energy jobs - 85% of the money was used to purchase Chinese equiptment. Cash for Clunkers -- which included foreign cars. A train line from LA to Los Vegas and children's health initiative -- not really a stimulus items, but what the heck. And, there was my favorite -- UCLA's African adventure to teach men to clean their foreskins.

Sorry, Krugman has nothing to crow about. A lot of people knew the stimulus was unstimulating.

Posted by: joe59 | September 27, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Krugman is a smart guy, who often makes good points.

What he always fails to do, however, is to explain why the US will be better off piling on more debt year after year.

Mr. Krugman warns of a lost decade like Japan's, if we don't borrow and spend at unprecedented levels. The Japanese borrowed like crazy to stimulate their econony after their real estate bubble burst.

The Japanese ended up with both:
slow growth
and
a national debt greater than 200% of GDP

It would be a disaster for the US to grow slowly and tripple the debt to GDP ratio. That would produce a 98 pound weaking with an anchor around its neck.

Mr. Krugman never satisfactorily explains why doing what the Japeanese did will lead to a different result.

The article credits Mr. Krugman for saying the original stimulus was too small. Conservatives argue the stimulus failed, because it spent money on the wrong things at the wrong times. Both Krugman and Conservatives warned about these issues back in early 2009. Nowhere in the article is any evidence presented that shows size matters more than how money is spent.

So, we have:

Universal agreement across the poliutical spectrum that the stimulus failed
and
Universal disagreement about why the stimulus failed.

We would appreciate the media digging to find and analyze any data that addresses these disagreements.

Posted by: jfv123 | September 27, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Krugman is right. I find it amusing how self-assured the people on this board are that think he's wrong. That is really all there is to say.

Posted by: Jihm | September 27, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Give up on Obama, he doesn't want to upset the dominant class at all. He pictures himself, in the future, as Bill Clinton making millions for just lecturing the same elites he is protecting and making richer right now. Reality is Democrats and Republicans are corrupted by big business and that won't change anytime soon.It could more useful if Kruman tells like it is.Stop talking to the walls.

Posted by: rappahanock | September 27, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Krugman is a spendaholic who wants to maintain the status quo. In fact, his recommendations, if implemented, would make things worse.

Let bad organizations fail, pick up the pieces, and start fresh with new leadership.

Krugman has been 100% wrong.

Posted by: grunk | September 27, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I am no longer a voting member of this society. America deserves the republicans and the loss of medicare, social security and health care reform. The democrats have no hair on their pencils and couldn't find a solution to the countries problems if we drew a map for them. The president is a major disappointment and we deserve Dr. Rand Paul (I am starting my own medical certification society), Sarah (The Weasel from Wasilla), and Christine (Mice have human brains, don't bop your bologna) O'Donnell. lets not forget Dick (the Vampire with no pulse) Cheney.

Posted by: seasail | September 27, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Paul Krugman will always find a way to feel vindicated. The big question is who decided to give him the Nobel Prize and why. Of course, the reality is that economics is not a science. If it was, even a Nobel prize committee with a political agenda would not be able to stoop to the level of giving the prize to someone who advocated such stupid policies.

Posted by: dnjake | September 27, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

You know what they say about Krugman...he's successfully predicted 12 of the last 3 recessions. How does one prove that more of a large helping of his favored political philosophy is what prevented the smaller dose from working? Answer....he can't.

Posted by: twann9852 | September 27, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Krugman is the second-best third-rate mind in the Princeton Economics Department.

Posted by: HT12 | September 27, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

He's accurately predicted for years, and you still hear nobs referring to him as having no credibility - and speaking of "no credibility" here is a video of Roger Ailes having his feet put to the fire by Professor Krugman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3x0UUnlQKM0

Roger Ailes is such a hack.

And really he has got to be kidding. When asked a specific question he answered with "The American people are not stupid." ??????! What an insipid cow. It's like some guy standing there drinking a hot cup of coffee and after being asked why he just threw some garbage on the floor he replies with, "This coffee isn't hot!"

Ug. Paul Krugman shows great constraint -I'd have strangled him.

Posted by: redjanuko | September 27, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with Krugman on a lot of things, his writing about the U.S.-China currency issue and the constant refrain about how the dollar needs to fall in order to promote U.S. exports and that inflation is no problem annoy me to no end. I wonder if he read the Post's recent article about how German companies are doing brisk business in China, even though the euro is significantly stronger than the dollar. I also wonder if he's read the various reports showing that a weakened dollar would do little or nothing to bring any of those jobs lost to China back to the United States.

Well, of course Krugman can talk about what a wonderful thing it is that the dollar is so weak and claim it needs to weaken even further, without regard for the fact that it would eviscerate the middle class and do nothing but make millions of Americans instantly poorer: He's wealthy enough to own three luxury homes, so he belongs to the class of people who wouldn't feel it.

Posted by: james44 | September 27, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Man, there's some angry Republican lobbyists posting on here today. Did you guys forget that Bush's Reaganomics produced the lowest job growth since the government has been keeping records? Maybe, you forget that we were in recession for 22 months under Bush or that Obama inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression. How about real median wages falling by $2,000 under George W. Bush? Or the massive deficit that Bush ran up with massive tax cuts for the rich and an invasion of Iraq over WMD that never existed? Believe it or not, Bush's tax cuts will be the biggest cause of budget deficits over the next 10 years. Maybe, we should go back to the policies of Ronald Reagan, who inherited much less of a recession than Obama, but had an average unemployment rate of 9.7% in his second year (1982) and 9.6% in third year (1983). Don't let the facts get in the way of your nonsense theories. Clinton created 23 million jobs. Bush sent us into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Posted by: mcls1442 | September 27, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The world is awash in an ocean of bad debt. Derivatives amount to $650 trillion, most of it off the exchange radar.

Big Fail is the only way to clean it all out. But Krugman's way is to attempt to cover it all up with the fiscal mascara called fiat printing....even though Big Fail will come anyway.

Ignore him.

Posted by: bandcyuk | September 27, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I am no longer a voting member of this society.
Posted by: seasail
_____________________________________

Thank you for that. We don't need people with your level of discourse as part of the electorate.

But hey. Those were really clever insults you came up with for Christine O'Donnell and Sarah Palin.

Posted by: etpietro | September 27, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Kurtz, for writing this piece. I find it very laughable the George Will can't see the humor in his being taken as an ordinary daylight fool in his rigid support for economic theories that have been proven wrong for for 30 years!

If anyone wants to understand the ideas behind George Will and his beloved Milton Friedman of the U of Chicago, please read Tony Judt's very short book "Ill Fares the Land" squeezed out before his untimely death. Judt explains where Friedman and the Chicago school got there ideas and how we should all celebrate Maynard Keynes' genius at helping the Western world out of the depression and war. The people from Vienna that Friedman relied on as models would have been a disaster, just as Reaganomics and Bush's tax cuts have been.

Posted by: walden1 | September 27, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Krugman is a politician pretending to be a scientist.

His ideas can be ignored without consequence.

Posted by: pgr88 | September 27, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Paul Krugman is one of the most dangerous men in America, if someone tries to implement his ideas in policy and legislation.

Posted by: DoTheRightThing | September 27, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

My only quarrel with Dr. Krugman is that I strongly advocate for a balanced budget in the manner of the Concord Coalition. Bravo for a brave and sensible man!
Posted by: bloommarko4

Dear Mr. Krugman
While true that Keynesian economics preaches running deficits in bad times, it also preaches paying those down in good times. Sorry sir, but your ilk is nowhere to be found when it is time to pay back the money.
Posted by: gvelanis
--------

Let's ignore the comments composed of pure vitriol and large splashes of economic naivete', in favor of those who are able to state a belief or principle clearly but without over-the-top rancor.

Krugman is well aware of Keynes's arguments that the stimulus has to be paid back. He's made the same point several times in his column.

And while you are correct that some are never willing to make the sacrifices to pay down the deficit, it isn't Krugman and his "ilk'. (Can I be of his ilk? I've always wanted to run with the Noble Prize winners.)

Krugman would certainly be caught if taxes rose on those making over $250,000, and I've never read a word of complaint or objection. He favors personally paying higher taxes.

The last crew to block an opportunity to pay down the deficit in good times were - YOU'RE RIGHT! THE REPUBLICAN PARTY under George W Bush and the rest who passed this tax cut.

bloommarko4 believes in a balanced budget. So do I - with certain caveats.

First, it is appropriate to run up a deficit in the face of an emergency - a threat to our survival and strength. WWII qualified, Iraq did not. The threat of a depression is also a sufficient emergency.

The second is that it is ok to borrow to invest in future productivity, which will raise income enough to pay off the debt and still leave us ahead. Student loans are a personal example. Investments in infrastructure, education, R&D, and the health of the working-age population are worth running a modest current account deficit.

Posted by: j3hess | September 27, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

WHY DOES THE PRESIDENT NOT FOLLOW DR. KRUGMAN'S COUNSEL?

The EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE is in and demonstrates that the Obama economic policy has FAILED. The question has to be raised as to WHY this president has NOT then revised his policy to reflect that of Dr. Krugman who correctly predicted that the Obama Policy would fail, just as it has!

So, just what IS it in the Obama White House that is not helping but HARMING this nation's economy? Why would any president lead a nation into oblivion economically?

ANSWER: Ego. Just ask Carter, Reagan and GW as recent examples, and now BHO. The "echo chamber" by the "palace guard" at the White House STIFLES the correct paths to follow. The FORM of governance brings to the U.S. government such failures, when those with no "ax to grind" like Dr. Krugman see clearly WHAT this nation needs to do and has SAID SO thanks to the NY TIMES!!

Dr. Krugman has offered his skills, brain power, and experience to rectify a massive economic failure that IF CONSIDERED by a sitting president WOULD in fact bring stability and growth to the U.S.

IF only this president would recognize his own lack of economic skills and follow the counsel from Dr. Krugman.

Posted by: gglenc | September 27, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Krugman is correct. Can you even imagine how much better off Democrat interest groups would be if instead of just one trillion dollars being wasted on them Obama and the Dems and had wasted two trillion dollars on them?

Posted by: jdonner2 | September 27, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

What's the difference between an Economist and an Idiot?
"The 57-year-old commentator feels vindicated after predicting that the economy would skid into the gutter unless the president pushed through a far bigger stimulus package."

Kind of like a safe-bet. He doesn't know what will get the Economy to resume a healthy expansion so he predicts doom unless more stimulus is thrown at it.

So when it doesn't resume expansion, he pats himself on the back and claims he is right when he's only left an idiot.

The problem is that Krugman idea of stimulus is Deficit Spending which expands the money supply but in a manner in which the expanded money supply represents the same value as the unexpanded money supply. All this results in is a dollar with is worth less not in more economic activity.

And what we need is more economic activity.

Pointing out that Krugman won a Nobel Prize doesn't say much. The prize is not an indication that he deserves recognition based on merit.

Now he is correct that more money is needed to expand economic activity. What he has missed is that this has to be done without causing Inflation. And he doesn't know how to do this.

So what is the difference between an Economist and an Idiot? You decide.

Posted by: BlackGumTree | September 27, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The New Yorker magazine caught the essence of Professor Krugman in a cartoon a year or so back. If you haven't seen it, Google "Wasn't that Paul Krugman" with New Yorker

Posted by: publicola | September 27, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse


Another liberal elite who thinks he's the smartest person in the room. The Washington Post also errs in believing this too, and in believing he's the only economist in America. Other economists wipe the floor with him.

Posted by: RossOdom | September 27, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Actually, they economy is doing as bad as it is with respect to any recovery BECAUSE of the stimulus. Any additional stimulus would simply make things worse.

It never ceases to amaze me that the bearded one is still so respected in economic circles when he is so consistently wrong.

Posted by: crisp11 | September 27, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"His support of John Edwards suggests everything you want to know."

Typical hypocritical puritan US point of view. Here in Europe, people don't care that much about the personal lifes of politicians. It's the ideas and the program that counts. And on these, Edwards beat the two other frontrunners hands down. They even copied his campaign points for a lack of good ideas of their own! Having an illegitimate child, which, I think is his private matter and nobody's business, wouldn't have prevented Edwards from being a god president.

But, no, a majority fell in love with a grandstanding loudmouth instead, and for the illusion of hope he promised. Well, about two years later, with the 20/20 vision of hindsight, who's been right? Those who were for the guy with the real ideas, or those who were for the phony pretender? Really, how do you like that "change"?

Posted by: Gray62 | September 27, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

"he is so consistently wrong"

Quite to the contrary, he has been conistantly right! And that's why all the losers who always bet on the false trend hate him so much.

Posted by: Gray62 | September 27, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

"the documented failures of FDR and his gigantic screwup during the depression"
Denial of reality, much? :D

Posted by: Gray62 | September 27, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

gvelanis writes: While true that Keynesian economics preaches running deficits in bad times, it also preaches paying those down in good times. Sorry sir, but your ilk is nowhere to be found when it is time to pay back the money. As to the Republicans, they want to pay no taxes but want to fight wars and have good police protection for themselves and their families. God forbid they are denied any services that make their life comfy, but let the poor be damned. It all adds up to the same thing sir, red ink as far as the eye can see.
-----------------
Here's a good analysis that ends up with the wrong answer. While I can sympathize, why not give credit where credit is due? Bill Clinton took the republican created deficit and turned it into a surplus. After Chaney's famous "Deficits don't matter" line he and Bush proceeded to bring us back to huge deficits. Obama passed a huge health care bill which cuts the deficit and covers 95% of the people (see http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/03/cbo_health-care_reform_bill_cu.html). Obama also spent $700 Billion on the stimulus bill. But most reasonable economists think that's a good thing.

It's the GOP who want to bankrupt the gov. in order to kill medicare and social security (google "starve the beast"). Just look at their recent "Pledge" and you'll see that they promise to do the same thing if the regain power.
If you leave it to them our grandkids will surely be swimming in red.

Posted by: rramos01 | September 27, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

The brie and chablis crowd wanted a bigger stimulus with even more borrowed money? What would that have done? Brought the unemployment rate down to say, 8 1/2%. We are borrowing over a trillion dollars a year for our Government to operate. The spending spree is over. Let Mr. Krugman and his glass of wine retire to his home and write books.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 27, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

"Kind of like a safe-bet. He doesn't know what will get the Economy to resume a healthy expansion so he predicts doom unless more stimulus is thrown at it.

So when it doesn't resume expansion, he pats himself on the back and claims he is right when he's only left an idiot.

The problem is that Krugman idea of stimulus is Deficit Spending which expands the money supply but in a manner in which the expanded money supply represents the same value as the unexpanded money supply. All this results in is a dollar with is worth less not in more economic activity.

And what we need is more economic activity.

Pointing out that Krugman won a Nobel Prize doesn't say much. The prize is not an indication that he deserves recognition based on merit.

Now he is correct that more money is needed to expand economic activity. What he has missed is that this has to be done without causing Inflation. And he doesn't know how to do this.

So what is the difference between an Economist and an Idiot? You decide.

Posted by: BlackGumTree
*****

Krugman is an Economist, you are an idiot?

Krugman didn't just say "throw more money out there", he calculated the size of a stimulus that would be necessary to replace the losses in the economy. When the stimulus package fell short, he predicted a weak recovery.

You're not the first one to raise the inflation specter, and Krugman has responded. There is no empirical evidence of inflation, and with so many unemployed, it is very unlikely.

You are correct in saying that when the amount of money increases but economic activity remains the same, inflation results. However, putting people back to work increases economic activity, so your analysis doesn't hold water.

Finally, while the Noble was not awarded for Krugman's advice on macroeconomic policy, it was precisely "an indication that he deserves recognition based on merit", here with regard to his advances in the theory of international trade and his revival of an interest in geography within the profession.

Posted by: j3hess | September 27, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Not being an economist I have no expertise in judging him as an economist so I will have to accept the judgment of the Nobel Prize jurists over the the invectives of the conservatives who post here who could not tell Karl Marx from Groucho Marx. To them anyone who does not agree with them is a Marxist including the guy who cuts them off in traffic and the dog who goes to the bathroom on their lawn. I have been reading Krugman long enough to trust his judgment. From what I have read of him he has been mostly on target. Whenever he has made assertions he has back them up with verifiable facts. He swam against the tide on the Iraq War and time has proven him right. He was the first columnist I know who saw the housing bubble and what it could lead to. Too many pundits have opinions but do not back up their opinions with facts. Krugman uses facts.

Posted by: exbrown | September 27, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Paul Krugman wrote the economics textbooks that I used in my intl trade course in graduate school.

In Feb 2009, he predicted that Obama's stimulus package wasted money on useless tax cuts and didn't spend enough money on infrastructure. He predicted that the stimulus would be insufficient to bring down unemployment.

19 months later, it seems like Obama would have been a lot better off listening to Krugman. He is getting no credit for the economy and being blamed (wrongly, IMO) for the deficit. Had he spent a bit more wisely, no one would care about the deficit because unemployment would be closer to 7%.

Now he warns, correctly, that Republican plans to bloat the deficit with more wealthy-targeted tax cuts while reducing effective stimulus through spending will give us bigger deficits and more unemployment.

Krugman is proving to be America's Cassandra.

Posted by: AxelDC | September 27, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I've been a huge Krugman fan for the last 8 years. He's usually right. Like when he made a persuasive case that real estate was a bubble and I saved a bunch of money in my 401k because of that.

And his criticism of the Obama administration has been spot on.

Posted by: Booyah5000 | September 27, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I understand that the man is no politician, and that this discussion is about the state of the economy. That said, he is absolutely right about Obama toadying up to the Repubs & getting nothing but their contempt in return for the past 2 yrs. Sadly, Obama HAS been timid & half-hearted, and has been a huge disappointment. However, I see no viable alternative to voting Democratic in Nov & beyond. Hopefully, he will be tougher during the next 2 yrs, but so far it's looking like he's better at campaigning than leading, which requires making troops toe the line.

P.S. George Will is being disingenuous in trying to defend Repubs--even he was horrified when Palin became the VP candidate! I wonder how he feels about her popularity with the teabaggers, & the teabaggers in general (for example, Rand Paul)?

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | September 27, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, y'all think this man is a topnotch
economist. No he isn't. He's an idiot. What type of business has he created? What are the products he has developed? He's a lip flapper par excellant.

Posted by: shangps | September 27, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

The man may not be a politician, but he is right on the money in complaining that Obama has been milquetoast & far too willing to toady up to Repubs during his first 2 years. All that has gotten him has been their undying contempt. Hopefully, the next 2 yrs will be different--he needs to be much tougher on Repubs & DINOs (Dem In Name Only).
As far as Paul Ryan, why anybody takes him seriously is still a mystery. If he's the best mind that Repubs have to offer, we're in big trouble.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | September 27, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Darn, Kurtz, you gave Krugman much more ink than he deserved and you wasted every big word in your vocabulary doing so. I knew Krugman lost any credibility he might have had when he said he supported Edwards.

Posted by: countryfirst1 | September 27, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Here's the most salient section of this article:

"Krugman would seem to have an exceedingly comfortable life. There's the large house in Princeton, described by the New Yorker as being in "Japanese modern style," the New York apartment and the condo on the beach in St. Croix. There are trips to international conferences, most recently in Sweden and Japan. He makes a bundle on writing textbooks with his wife. People's heads turn in restaurants, like the one where he is lunching.

So why does he seem so angry?

For one thing, Krugman fervently believes the country is careening down the wrong road. "

Please let me summarize. Krugman has got his, so screw everyone else who wants to work hard and keep some of what they make.

Socialists. If Dante were alive today, there would be a new innermost circle.

Posted by: conservative5 | September 27, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, y'all think this man is a topnotch
economist. No he isn't. He's an idiot. What type of business has he created? What are the products he has developed?
Posted by: shangps
----------

The best-selling International Trade textbook would qualify.

What have you contributed?

-----
"Please let me summarize. Krugman has got his, so screw everyone else who wants to work hard and keep some of what they make.

Socialists. If Dante were alive today, there would be a new innermost circle.
Posted by: conservative5
------

Nope, Keynsianism is all about saving capitalism from it's own excesses.

And Krugman's position is the polar opposite of "screw everyone else" - he wants to put everyone who's lost a job back to work. And he's willing to pay more in taxes to cover it. Sounds rather Christian to me.

Posted by: j3hess | September 27, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Yes he supported Edwards for president- because he is a progressive, a liberal, a lefty- and of the possible candidates- Edwards was furthest to the left in policy proposals. If you went beyond personalities, and were really reading policy (I admit to doing this because I am a policy geek-I actually find and read those briefs)- Obama was #8 of 8 in terms of ambitious policy proposals- his goofy vice president was ahead of him and Hillary certainly was (look over her healthcare proposals, trade policy and mortgage crisis solution proposals if you don't believe it).

I admire Paul for being a man of his convictions publically, not a follower. In his job he does what he thinks is right. As for having lots of stuff- his personal life is not my concern-he is not out there telling people that they need to be frugal- so it is not hypocritical, although it might not be my choice- let he who has no sins cast the first stone.

Posted by: NYClefty | September 27, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

It will take some pretty strong soap to disinfect a democrat piece of America hating filth like Krugman... His discomfort is a sign that our country might have a chance.

Posted by: carlbatey | September 27, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Someone contact me when Howard Kurtz is done defecating into the pool of public intelligence.

Posted by: bstucki1 | September 27, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Paul Krugman is a $#!thead.

Posted by: Robster1 | September 27, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

"Predicted The Crisis" .. wow what a genius.. My Cat predicted the crisis in '07.. BTW, the "Nobel Prize" hasn't had any value or merit for decades now.. much like the WAPO or the NYT's ..

Posted by: genbarlow | September 27, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

As far as supporting John Edwards -- Edwards hired the smartest people for his team and had much better position papers in 2004 and 2008 than the other candidates. Wouldn't you, as the voter, prefer to have some idea of the candidate's viewpoint on issues and what the candidate would do if elected? RR and GHWB had mistresses and no one in the media seemed to care. Whether you agree with those position papers or disagree with them, it is better than the vast majority of candidates who mouth vague platitudes.

As far as anyone who still opposes Keynesianism after all these decades of proof, put your money where your mouth is and support tax increases.

Posted by: CesarSozei | September 28, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Krugee's alright. It can be depressing to maybe begin to suspect what some in this country and the world do. That maybe the GOP does after all... have their man in the W.H.. .... Stranger things have happened. Like the pulling off of the "Greatest Hoax on Earth". The Great Recession. It's OK Mr. Krugman. ... We know. We know...It can be a pre-emptive form of damage control... when one can see the "writing on the wall". Maybe for a break, citizen Krugman would check out the "Palace on the Prairie", not too far from Tulsa, OK. E. W. Marland's old place.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | September 28, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Amusing that Mr. Will, of all people, would accuse Prof. Krugman of "certainty" -- seeing as how Mr. Will is no slouch in that department himself. Unlike Prof. Krugman, however, he's quite the slouch in the "being right" department.

A decent piece by Mr. Kurtz, but more space should have been dedicated to evaluating who's been correct on the issues -- Prof. Krugman, or his right-wing critics.

Posted by: sembtex | September 28, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are elected, they put us into enormous debt, then Democrats are elected and have to try to clean up the mess. It's not an easy task, especially with Republicans fighting it all the way.... Republicans lie and just keep repeating 'tax cuts, tax cuts' and people buy it. But of course the rich are the ones who get the tax cuts, the middle class gets a carrot and trickle down economics is BS. And then we are still stuck with a huge deficit. 98% of republicans would be better served if they voted for democrats. The only people who benefit from voting republican are the millionaires. Repubs vote against every renewable energy incentive and yet they vote for big oil subsidies. How is that helping Americans and the future of America? And democrats are spineless. Obama needs to fight back. Where is his passion? Paul Krugman is right.

Posted by: Ellerville | September 28, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Krugman predicting this? Get real. He predicted that the stimulus wouldn't work, and we would be in a longer recessions while we were already in it.
Find someone who predicted the housing bubble bursting because they were loaning too much money at too low rates and that it would all come crashing down, at least a year in advance of that actually happening. Then you will have something. Krugman would have been philosophically incapable of predicting that, as no Keynesian could see that coming - they would see that housing bubble was not a bubble but the engine driving the economic boom, with no possible end in sight unless the government tightened up credit.
He's wrong now. He's been wrong for a while. His ideas will cause us to do what he is warning against - a lost decade, economic stagnation, and increased debt that our kids and grandkids won't be able to repay without abandoning social security and medicare.
His Nobel prize ruined him, making him believe his poop doesn't smell.

Posted by: natecar | September 28, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

say what you want about Krugman, he's been right about what the future holds far more often than any other other economist I've been following over these past few years.

Posted by: SnowleopardNZ | October 1, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

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