What Planet Is Paul Krugman On?

Has anyone told Paul Krugman that the 2008 primary is over? Maybe he is trying out for a job a Fox, showing he can distort Obama’s policies just as much as the Republicans do. Investing in our infrastructure to create jobs and become more competitive with other countries is hardly the evil plan that Krugman makes it out to be. This includes absurd attacks on  his blog as well as on This Week this morning. Krugman’s characterization of Obama’s position is no more about what Obama is really saying than Republican attacks on health care reform reflected Obama’s policy. It’s not like Obama is advocating anything the Republicans are actually supporting as they are vowing to oppose his economic proposals.

I am also getting rather sick of the way that Krugman (and many of his supporters) characterize any disagreement with him as moving to the right, as if this by itself is sufficient to disqualify any idea from consideration. Sure, more often than not a conservative idea these days is a bad idea, but one really must demonstrate this about a specific idea before attacking someone.

Of course Krugman is rather inconsistent in this. On the one hand he has never stopped attacking Obama for bringing up Ronald Reagan, even if it was simply in the sense of acknowledging his place in history while expressing disagreement with his policies. On the other hand, Krugman had no problem during the primary campaign when he advocated the Republican policy of an individual mandate to purchase health insurance while Obama opposed this. (At least Krugman is in no position to attack Obama for making the mistake of later accepting the old GOP position on this issue).

We can at least be confident that Barack Obama is not losing any sleep over Krugman’s ridiculous attacks as he watches his position improve in the polls.

Update: Krugman practices the same type of distortion in his New York Times column.


  1. 1
    James Blight says:

    You have a far more binary interpretation of Krugman than his arguments solicit.  He’s not saying that “Business is Bad for America” should be adopted as a culteral meme.  Rather, he is arguing that it is important to recognize that equating, carte-blache, that corporate development is beneficial for America without commentary of how corporations have abdicated their quid-pro-quo symbiosis with the American economy as a whole is what led to the current economic mess.  Even without the September 2008 crash and bailout, income disparity was at a all-time high and shows no sign of abating, which ultimately is not sustainable.  If the free market has no interest in providing the social framework wherein an honest day’s work will actually net an honest day’s pay, then our government, ostensibly the citizenry’s advocate, is obliged to pursue remedies.  Not to vilify business (that’s just cutting off your nose to spite your face), but to acknowledge that if Business writ-large, left to its own devises, isn’t looking out for America, then America has a right to look after itself.

    In addition to this argument, Krugman is also supplying a warning, and this is where politics legitimately comes to play:  he’s trying to see whether Obama’s overtures to business are constructions of a narrative to relieve PR pressure (in other words, simply a tactical move to buy some breathing space) or if they are actually expressions of a new overlying philosophy we’ll see in practice in the administration’s policies.

    And unfortunately, Ron, we are now living in a world where the primaries are NEVER over.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    My interpretation of Krugman is not “binary.” I am responding to one aspect here–the manner in which he distorts Obama’s statements while repeating the same attacks. Primaries may never be over but the 2008 primary is over. Krugman continues to raise the same attacks he used while supporting Clinton regardless of their validity.

  3. 3
    Jim Z. says:

    Even before I read Krugman’s commentaries on Obama’s announcement on competitiveness, regulation,etc., I asked myself, “what planet is Obama on?”

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Obama is obviously on a planet where investing in infrastructure & education, and distinguishing between necessary and unnecessary regulations, is a good thing–in other words on our planet.

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