Thursday, November 1, 2012

What this presidental election is about: Paul Krugman speaketh

Among liberal intellectuals, Paul Krugman is a man in his own category. On one side, he is a Nobel Prize laureate for his work on international trade, professor of economics at Princeton, and a NYT columnist. He is also famous for being a paid consultant for Enron, a energy giant that declared bankruptcy in 2001. For the last few decades, Paul Krugman became known for his unabashed advocacy of the left-wing causes (welfare socialism, anti-Israel jihad and affirmative action). His articles in the NYT became a source of pride for partisan liberals - and embarrassment for the left-wingers who haven't yet subscribed to the maxim "ends justify the means". The NYT own public editor publicly acknowledged that:
Op-Ed columnist 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.

 Serious non-partisan economists like Robert Barro and Edward Prescott express quite evident contempt for Paul Krugman and don't even consider him to be a professional macro-economist. There are, of course, plenty of right-wing bloggers who entertain themselves by attacking Krugman's multiple straw men and distortions. Here is one nice article mocking the Enron consultant, entitled "Why Paul Krugman Doesn’t Like Us. And Vice Versa".

But while the economics professor with perpetually frightened eyes (look at any of his photos) is wrong about practically everything, still, from time to time he writes things that are undeniably correct - and I suspect that he later regrets telling the truth. I was particularly impressed with one of his latest articles about the meaning of the 2012 presidential election. According to Krugman:

Voters are, in effect, being asked to deliver a verdict on the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society, on Social Security, Medicare and, yes, Obamacare, which represents an extension of that legacy.

He goes even further with a rather interesting assertion:

Will they [American people] vote for politicians who want to replace Medicare with Vouchercare, who denounce Social Security as “collectivist” (as Paul Ryan once did), who dismiss those who turn to social insurance programs as people unwilling to take responsibility for their lives?

Of course, since the article was published on September 30, 2012, Paul Krugman was under the arrogant impression that Barack Obama would be re-elected,  and he was worried if people's would be followed.

If the polls are any indication, the result of that referendum will be a clear reassertion of support for the safety net, and a clear rejection of politicians who want to return us to the Gilded Age. But here’s the question: Will that election result be honored?

Paul Krugman then proceeds to advice Obama not only to continue, but accelerate the failed policies: spend more, borrow more and ignore the coming bankruptcy of the entitlement programs. The professor rejects the need for any type of compromise with Republican party and violently objects to an idea of reforming Social Security. He ends the article with a stern warning to Barack Obama:

This election is, as I said, shaping up as a referendum on our social insurance system, and it looks as if Mr. Obama will emerge with a clear mandate for preserving and extending that system. It would be a terrible mistake, both politically and for the nation’s future, for him to let himself be talked into snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Of course, Paul Krugman does not spend any time on discussing the other possibility - that Obama would lose. It's a common joke that economists prefer to weight different options and possibilities. It's quite obvious that Paul Krugman is blind to any alternatives to his worldview. But I hope that the readers of my blog have a somewhat more complex view of the universe, so we need to look at the possibility that Mitt Romney will be elected president. And in this case, Krugman's claims will definitely hold water - it will be a referendum on the "New Deal and the Great Society, on Social Security, Medicare and, yes, Obamacare", and if he wins, Romney will be given the authority to dismantle the entire liberal structure which is choking American economy. So, Dear Reader, please, save this article for November 6th, and don't forget to send it to your liberal friends. Directly from the horse's mouth - American people voted against liberalism. The question is - will liberals honor the will of the people if they lose? And a more important question is - if Romney wins, when will Krugman write an article proclaiming that Romney has no mandate?

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