Krugman–ah yes, how to handle this Mr. Pessimist Anticant? With every passing column, I get the feeling the conscientious liberal is really a frothing paranoiac. Raise any objection against the Krugster–just look at this exchange with Clive Crook–and you’re a hack, full of intensity, brutish, grotesque, insolent. Maybe we should try stroking his ego? I’m willing to bet he’d purr if you commented on all the awards he has hanging in his office. (He might jizz in his pants, if you notice the Nobel.) Now I’ve begun to picture the tweedy prof as a cornered mad man, with a flurry of blue book exams falling out from the notebooks in his hands, he’s making demands, snapping back….not $800 billion, $800 trillion!!!!…..maybe he even has a pen to some poor student’s head…and he’s making threats….demanding to be treated with respect….and we’re all saying, it’s okay Paul, put the pen down… but he’s answering back “You’re the vulgarians, you f#$ks!”
Unfortunately, that’s not a nightmare. That’s Krugman’s latest column:
And I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach — a feeling that America just isn’t rising to the greatest economic challenge in 70 years. The best may not lack all conviction, but they seem alarmingly willing to settle for half-measures. And the worst are, as ever, full of passionate intensity, oblivious to the grotesque failure of their doctrine in practice.
Other than rounding it off with a Yeats rip off, he also manages to lump Arnold Kling in with John “My Friends” McCain and the rest of the beta Republicans in congress. Now I can’t speak for Kling, but as a reader of EconLog, I daresay he’d never identify himself with either.
Worse yet, the column is meant to act as a get out of jail free card for Krugman. Now, when the stimulus doesn’t enhance our economic performance, the Krugster can say, but of course! You fools! Remember my column! You didn’t spend enough.
The incorrigible Nobel Prize winner, with no sense of logic, in his latest column:
Next, write off anyone who asserts that it’s always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their money.
Here’s how to think about this argument: it implies that we should shut down the air traffic control system. After all, that system is paid for with fees on air tickets — and surely it would be better to let the flying public keep its money rather than hand it over to government bureaucrats. If that would mean lots of midair collisions, hey, stuff happens.
By what logic, if it can be called logic, does this follow? It might imply that we ought to privatize air traffic control. But then Krugman would have to show, yes, using the methods of logic and induction, that air traffic control is a public good whose provision is only possible through a tax on air tickets. Of course, he’d also have to demonstrate how a user tax bears any resemblance to a you-rot in jail-unless-you-pay tax.
Krugman makes an argument against a minority opinion–one that says it’s always better to cut taxes–but really he comes off sounding as though he always wants to increase government spending. A more honest thinker would provide some kind of criteria for how he decides if and when and to what extent government spending is good. Tossing out non-sequitors of numbing grossness works on the Times’ op-ed page, but in more sober symposium, it smacks of stupidity.
Whose writing has been more widely read? Whose writings have had a greater beneficial effect on people around the world? Whose writing is “too isolated, too insular,” in the phrase of Horace Engdahl, slanderer of American writers and the permanent secretary of the Nobel prize jury for literature?
A) Paul Krugman, this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Or:
B) Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.