Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 28, 2009
By: dday

KRUGMAN OPENS THE OVERTON WINDOW... The upcoming cover of Newsweek, the Village weekly reader, will feature Paul Krugman, or at least 60%-65% of his face, with the headline "OBAMA IS WRONG: The Loyal Opposition of Paul Krugman."

Krugman, who won the Nobel Prize in economics last fall, has been arguing that Obama is doing too little to respond to threats to the nation's banking and economic system, and he has contended that the $787 billion stimulus bill should have been bigger [...]

Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham explains the choice in a letter to readers: "Every once a while, ... a critic emerges who is more than a chatterer - a critic with credibility whose views seem more than a little plausible and who manages to rankle those in power in more than passing ways. As the debate over the rescue of the financial system - the crucial step toward stabilizing the economy and returning the country to prosperity - unfolds, the man on our cover this week, Paul Krugman of The New York Times, has emerged as the kind of critic who, as Evan Thomas writes, appears disturbingly close to the mark when he expresses his 'despair' over the administration's bailout plan. [...]

"There is little doubt that Krugman - Nobel laureate and Princeton professor - has become the voice of the loyal opposition. What is striking about this development is that Obama's most thoughtful critic is taking on the president from the left at a time when, as Jonathan Alter notes, so many others are reflexively arguing that the administration is trying too much too soon.

"A devoted liberal, Krugman hungers for what he calls 'a new New Deal,' and he prides himself on his status as an outsider. (He is as much of an outsider as a Nobel laureate from Princeton with a column in the Times can be.) Is Krugman right? Is the Obama administration too beholden to Wall Street and to the status quo, trying to save a system that is beyond salvation? Does Obama have - despite the brayings of the right - too much faith in the markets at a time when prudence suggests that they cannot rescue themselves? We do not know yet, and will not for a while to come. But as Evan - hardly a rabble-rousing lefty - writes, a lot of people have a 'creeping feeling' that the Cassandra from Princeton may just be right. After all, the original Cassandra was."

The full Newsweek article is here. Now, some supporters of the President might see this rise of Krugman as a negative development. I see it differently. Krugman has been remarkably consistent to his principles, praising Obama where warranted, even on economic issues. He appreciated Obama's budget and his very legitimate move toward health care reform. His is not a knee-jerk reaction in opposition. Rather, Krugman has taken a critical look at each Obama proposal and made his judgments on the merits based on his own expertise. He has consistently argued that we are in a crisis where the normal rules no longer apply, and we need to look to the past to use the principles of Keynesian economics to dig us out of this rut. And with respect to the banks, he has argued the increasingly consensus view that insolvent banks must be taken over temporarily, their management and bad assets cleared out, and their institutions sold off after the debts are resolved, rather than what he sees as the half-measure of the Geithner plan. In addition, he has the opinion that banks that are "too big to fail" are too big to exist, and we need to fundamentally restructure the financial sector instead of making the sector whole and just turning back the clock to a couple years ago.

Now, you don't have to agree with everything Krugman says - I've seen some very good critiques of things he's said recently. But he is a serious thinker and this is his area of expertise, and he performs an important function. It's an odd quirk of fate that Krugman has as big a megaphone as he does, and so using it to put pressure on the Obama Administration from the left does several things: 1) provides a counter-weight to the conservative critiques of the President, which are usually so nutty that they pale in comparison to reasoned dissent, 2) forces Obama to at least debate the merits of his proposals rather than dismiss all critics, and most important, 3) gives Obama space on the left to put out an more progressive agenda than otherwise. Bill Clinton sums up the dynamic:

I recently heard an interesting anecdote about the 1993 budget fight. While it is probably the most progressive piece of sizable legislation to pass into law in two decades, it was a grueling fight--passing both branches of Congress by a single vote--and it still could have been better. At the signing ceremony, President Clinton found then Representative Bernie Sanders, and told Sanders that he, Sanders, should have made a much bigger public display of how he, Clinton, wasn't giving enough to liberals in the new budget. Such a public display would have provided Clinton more room to maneuver on the left.

The moral of the story is that if no one is criticizing a Democratic administration from the left, then there is no rationale or political space for that Democratic administration to operate on the left. Such criticism is thus even useful to, and desired by, a Democratic administration. If the left stays quiet, it will not be relevant.

Krugman is fulfilling that role, opening what many have called the Overton window, moving the conversation away from the failed conservative ideas of the past.

I also appreciate Krugman's modesty in reacting to the cover story:

I've long been a believer in the magazine cover indicator: when you see a corporate chieftain on the cover of a glossy magazine, short the stock [...] Presumably the same effect applies to, say, economists.

You have been warned.

dday 8:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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i happen to think that receivership has more problems associated with it than krugman either thinks or is willing to acknowledge, but there's no doubt that his criticism is based on principle, and no doubt that the more space in the public discourse "receivership" is allowed, the easier it will eventually be if we need to go that far....

Posted by: howard on March 28, 2009 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, go Paul Krugman! Keep up the well-meaning heat and light ...
Play it, Uncle Sam:

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on March 28, 2009 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Is the "You have been warned" actually part of Krugman's quotation?

Posted by: monocle on March 28, 2009 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

BTW *we* should not consider Krugman's ideas to be fringe. Indeed many of the best progressive thinkers like Greenwald think Krugman (And Roubini, Stieglitz etc.) represents what really should be thought and done and that Obama is too cozy with the G-S crowd etc. But if Krugman helps to Overtonize "milder" ideas into being more acceptable to the public - that could at least fend off return to complete BAU and be helpful.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on March 28, 2009 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with most of what Krugman is saying (and that's coming from someone who still hasn't forgiven him for lying about Obama during the primaries) and most certainly agree that the debate is necessary. I'm afraid, however, that Obama won't be able to see beyond the WallStreet team with whom he has surrounded himself.

In any case, please take PK's warning about celebrity seriously. If you need to read what others are saying along similar lines, try:

(btw, Hello everybody!)

Posted by: Disputo on March 28, 2009 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

missing URL from above:


Posted by: Disputo on March 28, 2009 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

What irritates me most about this subject is how many Democrats, who should know better, dismiss Krugman's criticism on the basis that he was a Clinton supporter during the primary. He was expecting, they say, that Clinton would name him to her cabinet and he is angry that it didn't happen.

It's asinine how some purity trolls are suddenly refusing to accept criticism of the president just because he's in our party now. The past 8 years should have taught everyone how dangerous that is.

Posted by: Shade Tail on March 28, 2009 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

We've had enough of yes men. Gotta tell the big guy when he's wrong. Right?

Posted by: Roger on March 28, 2009 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK


That is all.

Posted by: lol on March 28, 2009 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

I think that both Hilzoy and the Newsweek article go too far in trying to insert Krugman into the a conventional left/right perspective. As he often notes, before Bush 43's time, he was regarded with suspicion by a wide swath of Democrats because of his skeptical but strong admiration for free markets and trade. Nor is his current prominence fairly described as "an odd quirk of fate"; he was a public intellectual of growing prominence before the Times called. I heartily agree that he is an extremly valuable voice in the national conversation; and there is no one else so prominent who I trust as much to call them as the sees them without feeling the need to weigh the partisan consequences.

Posted by: Ken D. on March 28, 2009 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

The "bonddad" in the Kos article you reference, he respectfully disagrees with Krugman. I respectfully disagree with him; Krugman is right. Securitization is not a good thing, despite it's "liquidity benefits." Not everything can or should be sold, the dangers of moral hazard are too great.

Amazing to me how many experts get by being seriously expertey by making arguments using little more then hand waving and technobabble.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on March 28, 2009 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Allow me to trivialize this conversation for a moment, but I see Paul Krugman as an economics professor version of Dr. Gregory House (a fellow, albeit fictional, Princetonian): a guy who almost always comes to the right conclusion and very quotable, but also a royal pain-in-the-ass whose diagnoses and behavior fly in the face of the powers-that-be. And I say this as a fan of Krugman (and "House, M.D." as well).

On a more serious note, though: While I would love to have Krugman onboard in some capacity in the Obama administration, just what exact position COULD he hold? As far as I know, he's never ran any sort of bureaucracy (governmental, academic, or in the private sector). I can be convinced that that may not be a fatal flaw -- and AFAIC Krugman probably doesn't have to head up any governmental bureaucracy to be effective -- but it does seem to be something that should be considered.

Posted by: Eisbär on March 28, 2009 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

I read the usually left wing websites that ready during the Bush presidency; and, I am not sure if Bush has left office. There has been nothing bitch, bitch, and moan and whine, and bitch some more about how awful this President is. I think I am going to stop reading blogs until I can see some common sense coming from them.

Posted by: Bonnie on March 28, 2009 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

While Obama supporters may object to a public policy debate on this issue, I doubt Obama will. He does not seem to fear conflicting ideas.

Posted by: jayackroyd on March 28, 2009 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

I like the idea of the Overton Window. I've often wondered if Fred Phelps and his bunch aren't just a put up job designed to make the run-of-the-mill homophobes look reasonable.

Posted by: jimbo on March 28, 2009 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

jimbo: Interesting thought, but it seems like they've been having the opposite effect. A lot of people you'd expect to be homophobes are embarrassed by the idea that they'd be associated with Phelps. Just for one example, there have been articles about how the Kansas town the Westboro church is based in bends over backwards to be fairly gay-friendly, because they don't want Phelps to define their town.

Posted by: Shade Tail on March 28, 2009 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why bankruptcy or receivership or nationalization is considered "extreme". This is what was used for the depression (the last event of this magnitude). This is what happens in the USA to millions of companies and individuals. What we're doing to Wall St right now is the abnormal process (unless you can point me or ANYONE to the individual or company that was broke and went to the government and received billions of dollars with little to no strings attached.) That is why so many economist are advocating receivership as the proper solution.

Obviously it is not yet the proper solution for the "well entrenched powers that be", and it would be extremely difficult for Obama to jump right to that solution without overwhelming public support. Without pressure from Krugman and others to finally move to the proper solution, Obama would be pressured to keep trying the same failing solution over and over (which is one of the definitions of insanity).

I'm sure we don't have a knot headed idiotic President like the last one. That putz would have done the same thing over and over until we were broke and we couldn't sell T-bills to China anymore. Obama will change course if necessary, and Krugman along with other economic advisors will give him the political leeway and a game plan that has worked before and will work again. Heck, even FDR didn't originally set out to come up with something like the new deal but he was smart enough to realize he had to change course and find something that would work. We do have a good President, he may not be FDR yet, but he will change course and do the right thing when he has to, and in so doing, he may become our FDR:

FDR told activists in his own party, "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."

I don't view being an honest critic of Obama as bad, I view it as my duty. It's not a weakness (as it would be perceived by the Republican party), it's one of our strengths.

Posted by: Glen on March 28, 2009 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Outstanding! I've been hoping this would happen, and it looks like it's going down in the best possible way.

Paul has a posse, and I've been in it for years.

Posted by: melior on March 28, 2009 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Not persuasive. He is sincerely pushing his ideas.

History may make him such a character, which is best described as loser.

Posted by: Bob M on March 28, 2009 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Given Krugman's lucidity and courage as an early and pre-eminent critic of BUSH, it is ironic that a major MSM magazine, having ignored him for so long, would now put him on its cover as a critic of OBAMA. And the term loyal opposition implies that Krugman broadly opposes Obama's policies, which he does not.

Posted by: failsafe on March 28, 2009 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

It shouldn't take a Nobel economist to recognize that putting Wall Street water boys in charge of the G's economics policy, and showering Wall Street with no-strings money is a f**king stoooopid idea. The only hope is that Obama is setting them up to fail so he has an excuse to move left. The problem is, he only has a year until the mid-term election campaign starts. At that point, the electorate may be more likely to move right. If the recovery isn't well on the way by Nov 2010, it could be a violent move. This is National Socialist corporatism vs. mixed-market democratic socialism for all the marbles.

Posted by: cosanostradamus on March 29, 2009 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

political calculation is all well and good, but what is important - so critically important about Krugman, and has been since very early in the bush disaster is that Krugman speaks with knowledge, is principled and honest, free of political calculation. He is completely the opposite of the sniveling drool that is our political ruling cabal, including the vichy dems and the cretinous flotsam of republican/conservative disease that has so brutally infested and damaged America.

Posted by: pluege on March 29, 2009 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

the gentleman who respectfully disagreed with Krugman in his DailyKos article may be right about securitization and its benefits... BUT he was wrong about the geniuses working in the financial industry.

Sure the 80/20 rule probably applies there too. 20 percent of them have caused 80 percent of the problems.

BUT... Can someone explain 'WHY' any so called financial genius - whether he's successful or not - deserves to make more than a billion (that is with a 'b' not an 'm') as a hedge fund manager. Last year there were several who actually made more than 2 billion dollars betting against the market.

Sure they were right and smart about it BUT again, at a compensation of 2 billion dollars? I don't think so.

That is what needs to be addressed. In my opinion NOBODY in the financial industry is entitled to earning 100's of millions every single year. I don't take his argument that someone creating financial instruments is just as valuable as someone creating physical objects.

When was the last time someone 'creating physical' objects took home 100's of millions of dollars - let alone billions?

If a Republican can give me a coherent answer for that one, I'll be happy to consider it.

Posted by: bruno on March 29, 2009 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

there is nobody SMART on Wall Street or in the financial services business. There are lucky people, and there are crooks - NOTHING else. It is legalized betting - period. They deserve nothing of the money they get either in salary or bonuses. They should be treated as the filthy greedy pariah that they are.

Posted by: zoot on March 29, 2009 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

As an excellent article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/mar/23/timothy-geithner-toxic-asset-plan) in the Guardian noted in reference to the Geithner plan, It is hard to understand this plan as anything other than a last-ditch effort to save the Wall Street banks. Unfortunately, Obama seems prepared to risk his presidency on their behalf.

It concerns me that all the good things Obama is doing on the environment, energy, civil rights and other areas are being jeopardized by his reliance on Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner on the banking and finance challenges he faces.

This view is reinforced by a disturbing but very readable piece (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200905/imf-advice) by Simon Johnson of MIT's Sloan School of Management, who explains the pattern established by financial oligarchs, which led to economic disaster in emerging markets, from South Korea to Argentina, and how the president's financial team is leading the United States down the same path.

Posted by: DevilDog on March 29, 2009 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Krugman's "Achilles' Heel" isn't that he promotes Keynesian economics; it is, instead, that he argues in favor of employing Keynesian economics as a means to opening the U.S. wallet for resuscitating an ailing economy that is inherently global in structure, while the other international partners in the global economy (the various factions in the EU, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, et al) all play their respective parts as the "non-participants" from the child's tale The Little Red Hen. Were that brought into play, the only two options for successfully bringing "Mr. Krugman's Solution" in as a workable theory would be to either (a) apply it across the global economic spectrum---which is a thing that the U.S. economy simply cannot do on its own, and I really do not care to bankrupt my neighbor's son's future great grandchildren for the sake of easing the pain for a derivatives trader in Geneva---or (b) commit an economic amputation by severing the U.S. economy from its global interconnectedness, which would be sheer suicide, if for no other reason that the U.S. no longer has a manufacturing base that can support even the basic consumption needs of its own internal population.

Maybe it's just that Mr. Krugman hasn't visited the docks where we're unloading container ship after container ship with such elitist luxury nonessentials as fresh fruits and vegetables, clothing, and shoes. Perhaps Mr. Krugman has yet to envision what type of computer he might use to create his next foray into the arena of op-ed gladiator fighting, should the need for a functional hard-drive depend on one of domestic manufacture.

In short---Mr. Krugman's plans may be economically sound in the realm of macroeconomics, but without dedicated participation from the world's other governments and economic participants in contributing to the solution, a full and vigorous implementation of his proposals could be best described as microeconomic extremism, and as economically effective as using leeches to suck an illness from the veins of the Republic.

Ask George Washington---first President of these United States---how well that worked out for him....

Posted by: Steve W. on March 29, 2009 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

Steve W.: How does your comment relate to Krugman's critique of Geithner's stess-test plan or Krugman's proposal for nationalizing the banks that are "too big to fail"?

Posted by: DevilDog on March 29, 2009 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know very much about economics but I can judge a well-framed argument. Krugman impresses me as someone who is glib and lacking in rigor. Even his reaction to the Geithner plan looks anything but thoughtful, insightful, or even politic. We don't need him to be providing political cover from the left - that would be intellectually dishonest.

Posted by: TGV on March 29, 2009 at 4:03 AM | PERMALINK

their management and bad assets cleared out

Anybody who can consistently make this argument with no further explanation, deserves ZERO respect. The worst thing about Krugman is that he does not help his readers understand issues. He merely makes facile cases, usually starting his columns with "As I said six months ago".

And would someone please explain to me why a Jim Cramer or Larry Kudlow might have a problem with Krugman's escape-from-reality make-the-assets-disappear plan?

Posted by: Danp on March 29, 2009 at 5:21 AM | PERMALINK

Steve W.: How does your comment relate to Krugman's critique of Geithner's stess-test plan or Krugman's proposal for nationalizing the banks that are "too big to fail"?
Posted by: DevilDog

Ummm...maybe because Mr. Krugman's calculations regarding his "alternatives" to the stress-test, and his nationalization proposals, all seem to hinge on the spending an as-yet-named amount of money that makes the current bail-out package seem childishly trivial?

Consider the following scenario: If, for example, a decision was rendered as concerns CitiGroup. Financially, the U.S, could neither fund all the costs on its own, nor could it legally take any actions regarding CitiGroup's foreign operations, if for no other reason that those operations are intertwined with the domestic operations of foreign banking interests. Would he have a swarm of U.S. Treasury officials and auditors charge into the corporate offices of DeutschBank, like a gaggle of heavy-horse cavalry, sabers drawn and Remingtons waving in the air, demanding access to the hard drives? Besides such a stunt being inherently illegal, the moment any moves were made against any one foreign entity, the entire conglomerate of foreign banks could simply declare "all U.S. debt payable now/".

Mr. Krugman wants larger action; he wants if in quick order, but he doesn't seem to appreciate that the timidity of the world's collective governments and financial institutions could quite easily recognize that the vast bulwark of their current economic grief was the direct result of the U.S.---and that the cheapest way to prevent an occurrence at some point in the future could be to simply make the U.S. irrelevant. Calling in all owned debt (China), moving oil over to a different currency (Russia), unilaterally domesticating all provision-of-service operations and resetting the prices for those services (India), and floating a new international currency with a matched effort to eliminate the excesses of Wall Street (Europe) would effectively eliminate the U.S. as an economic entity---and diminish to a highly-dangerous degree the value of the USD.

Now---imagine a grocery bag of those fresh fruits or vegetable, or a pair of shoes, or an article of clothing, for that matter, costing 30 Euros---but over here, they're lucky to be had at 200 USD. That's where we are standing today, as the result of global interdependence. Mr. Krugman's model only works if the whole world gets on the bandwagon---but we are dangerously close to finding that the whole world can, in actuality, get along just fine without us.

Geithner's plan needs to be small, so that it might be targeted directly at domestic problems. Obama's call for the other members of the G20 are the other edge of the sword; to get the rest of the world to pick up what we, alone, cannot manage---hopefully, before they come to the correct realization that it would be cheaper to leave the U.S. altogether out of a revamped global enterprise, rather than help to pay reparations for damages caused by our domestic financial industry....

Posted by: Steve W. on March 29, 2009 at 7:29 AM | PERMALINK

The "bonddad" in the Kos article you reference, he respectfully disagrees with Krugman. I respectfully disagree with him; Krugman is right.

Bondadd is indeed wrong. He fails to mention that, unlike other businesses, banks are DEPOSIT-ACCEPTING and MONEY-CREATING institutions. The last folks who should be deciding whether banks can securitize are Wall Street wizards.

YOU -- as a depositor (checking and savings) -- should decide what banks can do with your money. YOU as a borrower should decide what is done with your loan.

Should the bank be able to make risky investments with your money because securitization gives them a way to mix good ones with bad ones? Should your bank be allowed to mix your sound loan with inferior and riskier ones and sell it to investors?

What does that gain you? What is the upside -- unless you yourself are the credit risk and securitization allows the bank to mix your bad loan in with your neighbor's good one?

We need deposit-accepting institutions in our economy that make sound loans -- based on sound investment principles that minimize risk -- to individuals and businesses AND holds those loans. This argument that we must allow banks to securitize to raise more funds to make more loans -- to "increase liquidity" -- is bullshit. Another bank can make the loans. There is no inherent advantage to you in your bank becoming larger, if that inevitably implies taking on more risk.

There is a very strong and economically valid populist argument to be made AGAINST securitization. It all goes back to the fact that banks are special -- they have been given the privilege of creating money. We have turned them into casinos over the last two decades. Securitization was the enabler.

Krugman is right.

Posted by: Econobuzz on March 29, 2009 at 7:56 AM | PERMALINK

Steve: The rest of the world would face terrible consequences from trying to punish the USA. The producers of all of those things would lose their market. And everyone else got into the same fiscal shell game that we did - read up on, say, Icelandic banks, or Spanish real estate, or Irish real estate, or Estonia, or...

Posted by: Marc on March 29, 2009 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Marc - you are so right. Every time the credit card company calls me to make minimum payments, I remind them of just where they would be if not for my contributions to the economy. If they cancel my credit card, I will simply stop buying. And then where will they be?

Posted by: Sally on a Spree on March 29, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Sally - there is an old saying that comes to mind. If you owe a bank a thousand dollars - you have a problem. If you owe a bank a billion dollars - they have a problem.

Posted by: Marc on March 29, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

The "attack from the left" argument is basically what FDR told progressives in 1934 when they came to him privately and argued for a real New Deal. "You're right - now go out there and convince me you are."

Posted by: TCinLA on March 29, 2009 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Two points.

First, great reference to the Overton window. The right wing has a large stable of wackos, from Coulter to Limbaugh, who by virtue of their extreme views make people like Gingrich seem "centrist". The left has these people, too, but few get media attention. So, whether Krugman is right or not, this article is a good thing.

Second, I love Krugman but he may be wrong this time. I don't say "he is wrong" because the situation is too complex for little old me to be sure either way. However, I do note that two other VERY SMART ECONOMISTS, Delong and Roubini, are supportive of the administration's moves. Both Delong and Roubini have long track record of independent thinking, and both saw the disaster coming. Roubini in particular was better than anyone else in terms of foreseeing the specifics.

Again, as much as I love Krugman I've seen that he has two negative tendencies we fans need to be aware of. First, when he does get caught in an error he gets defensive, which is surprising given his devotion to the facts. Second, he is susceptible to seeing the world through the "we're doomed we're doomed" lens. Look at his posts back in August and September when he joined the left wing bandwagon criticizing the Obama campaign for not hitting McCain hard enough. And some of his pro-Hillary posts in the late spring were quite emotional.

It may be that Krugman has his idea of the perfect solution and is in despair that Obama isn't pursuing it. Krugman's idea is probably, technically, a better solution. But politically it won't fly -- and Krugman himself admits that he's not good at understanding the political manipulations and compromises. Roudini and Delong, OTOH, seem to have factored this into the equation. But, perhaps because Krugman isn't getting his ideal solution he's seeing the Obama solution in a far more negative light than he should be.

Posted by: Cool on March 29, 2009 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Someone please send this piece to Senator Reid?

Posted by: AlphaLiberal on March 29, 2009 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Krugman praised President Obama for healthcare when? He certainly didn't praise him during the campaign for healthcare or anything else.

Krugman's histrionics simply aren't appropriate for a reputable Nobel-winning economist. I will rely on Dr. Nuriel Roubini for my economic analysis for the duration of this Great Recession, thank you very much. Roubini measures his words and offers a rational analysis without the melodrama.

Posted by: CDW on March 29, 2009 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

There is a reason kabuki is so popular in Washington. Sometimes you have to tell people a story to encourage and lead them to a good conclusion. And they lived happily ever after.

Posted by: MarkH on March 29, 2009 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

" But he is a serious thinker and this is his area of expertise, and he performs an important function."
Careful; Krugman's expertise is in INTERNATIONAL economics, not business cycles/monetary policy. This doesn't mean we shouldn't listen--but he is one voice amongst many.

Posted by: cas on March 29, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Leek's Third Law of Economics: For every economist there is an equal but opposite economist.

Posted by: Luther on March 30, 2009 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK



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