Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 28, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

IT'S TIME FOR LUSKIN TO GO....Donald Luskin, like a too-clever adolescent who can't let go of an idea that he's convinced no one has ever thought of before, decides today to compound his inexcusable charge that Paul Krugman condones anti-semitism:

I'm pinpointing the fact that Krugman wrote an article for the New York Times Magazine in 1998, publicly supporting Mahathir's claims that "Jewish speculators" were responsible for the currency crisis a statement so vile that Krugman has remained entirely silent about it in his recent web posting and in today's Times column.

Here is what Krugman wrote in 1998:

When the occasional accusation of financial conspiracy is heard - when, for example, Malaysia's Prime Minster blames his country's problems on the machinations of Jewish speculators - the reaction of most observers is skepticism, even ridicule.

But even the paranoid have people out to get them. Little by little, over the past few years, the figure of the evil speculator has reemerged. George Soros played a definite role - though probably not a decisive one - in the forced devaluation of Britain's pound sterling in 1992. In 1996, it was revealed that a Sumitomo executive had been rigging the whole world copper market, with considerable initial success....

Krugman then goes on to talk about possible stock market manipulation in Hong Kong.

Luskin hangs his odious allegation on the fact that Krugman thought at the time that currency manipulation was a genuine problem and that one of his examples George Soros is Jewish. That happens to be true, and it also happens to be true that Soros is rather famously linked with the run on the pound in 1992. However, using this celebrated example in no way supports Mahathir's comments about the alleged Jewishness of the speculators in his currency, and there is no way for a reasonable observer to conclude from Krugman's article or any of his others that he supported Mahathir's claims that Jews were responsible for Malaysia's woes.

It's no secret that NRO and I are on different sides of the ideological fence, but even so I have to ask: why do they continue to publish this guy? Hasn't he finally descended to the point where common decency requires them to ship him back to the hole he came from, free to bay at the moon where no one will pay attention to him?

Enough's enough, guys.

UPDATE: Jon Gradowski has more on Luskin's adolescent ravings. And uggabugga has a chart!

Kevin Drum 10:46 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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