Paul Krugman Hits It Home [Updated]

And let me say that the great thing about a progressive agenda is that it doesn’t require big growth promises to make it work, because the elements of that agenda are good things in their own right. Conservatives need to promise miracles to justify policies whose direct effect is to comfort the comfortable (cutting taxes on the rich) and afflict the afflicted (slashing social insurance); progressives only need to defend themselves against the charge that doing good will somehow kill economic growth. It won’t, and that should be enough.

Realistic Growth Prospects, Paul Krugman, today

You. Go. Guy!

All is forgiven.  Eh.  Almost all.

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UPDATE:  Aaaargh.  Here’s what I had to post just now in the Comments thread in response to, well, the comments:

Me

February 24, 2016 11:00 am

Oh, dear. Almost everyone in this Comments thread missed my point. Kris is new here, so he’s excused for not knowing that for months now I’ve been bashing Krugman for his Hillary shillary that has included, among some other outrageous statements, misrepresentations of fact about Sanders’ single-payer healthcare plan, which Krugman repeatedly implies would bar employers from providing private supplemental insurance as a benefit to their employees.

The rest of you are not excused!

Some of you do know about this post of mine, from Feb. 19, on the subject of Krugman’s comments about the Friedman study and the Sanders campaign’s references to it, which I updated twice to include discussion of the Galbraith letter: [Link.]

I even updated the title of the post to note the two updates.

But I said in the original post and then in one of the updates essentially the same thing that Krugman ays in that paragraph I quoted as the basis for this post: that a progressive agenda—in Sanders’ case, a very progressive agenda–doesn’t require big growth promises to make it work, because the elements of that agenda are good things in their own right. Conservatives need to promise miracles to justify policies whose direct effect is to comfort the comfortable (cutting taxes on the rich) and afflict the afflicted (slashing social insurance); progressives only need to defend themselves against the charge that doing good will somehow kill economic growth. It won’t, and that should be enough.

I wrote in my Feb. 19 post that the controversy about the Friedman study and the Sanders campaign’s references to it has been a huge distraction from the actual purposes of Sanders’ policy proposals and from the fact that they will not kill economic growth or entrepreneurship, as Clinton herself claimed in the first debate, back in Oct., and are likely to spur economic growth and entrepreneurship somewhat. (Denmark is not a capitalist country, and has low levels of entrepreneurship and a low standard of living. Remember? I sure do.) Sanders badly needs to continue to focus on these things, as he has throughout his campaign. The very-high-GDP-growth issue is a distracting sideshow, whether Friedman’s methodology is good or not.

My saying it here on AB is meaningless. Krugman’s saying it on his NYT blog is not.

But I want to say here also that his blog post a few days ago speculating about Friedman’s motive for doing the study and issuing the report was stunningly defamatory and really appalling—and directly contrary to Krugman’s repeated complaints about Sanders supporters who accuse Krugman and other progressive anti-Sanders economists of corrupt motive for their anti-Sanders writings.

I agree with Ben Johannson: It wasn’t just Krugman. It was just Krugman among economists engaging in vicious ad hominem attacks. But Krugman is the one I follow religiously and have absolutely adored for well more than a decade now. So ….

But again, the comment of his that I quoted in this post really matters, too.

Johannson is himself an economist.  Here’s his full comment:

Ben Johannson

Wasn’t just Krugman.

It was just Krugman among economists engaging in vicious ad hominem.

And Friedman’s paper is junk.

Argument by assertion.

When you find “credible economic research” that “supports economic impacts of these magnitudes “, let me know.

When you can detail the problems with Friedman’s methodology, let me know. Should you succeed it will be rather problematic for Krugman because Friedman used the same assumptions in many New Keynesiam models.

This is it for me on this topic.  I’m done with it.

Added 2/24 at 11:13 a.m.

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Ooops.  I do want to add one thing, while I have your attention (and—who knows?—maybe even Krugman’s): Krugman’s sometimes virulent anti-Sanders writings clearly are triggered by his palpable fear of electoral disaster in November if Sanders is the Dem nominee.  But as I pointed out here and here—and as William D. Cohan made clear in an article on Politico Magazine late last week and as Luke Brinker of Mic illustrated on Monday (my two posts link respectively to these articles)—it is Sanders, not Clinton, who may very well be the weaker candidate against the likely Republican nominee: Donald Trump.

I absolutely think that Democrats really need to start accepting that the Republican nominee likely will be Trump, not Rubio (who is an awful hybrid of Grover Norquist and Rick Santorum: “All the answers are in the Bible”, presumably including the answer to the question of whether we should end the capital gains tax and the estate tax).

Rubio, or for that matter Cruz, could be beaten by a monkey. Trump, not so much.

Added 2/24 at 11:40 p.m.

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