Economic Realism, Paul Krugman, and ‘Stupidity’
“An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.”
I had to do a double take reading a recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek article by Noah Smith (http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-08-12/i-m-with-stupid-and-paul-krugman), when he took to task the Nobel Prize economics winner Paul Krugman for calling Paul Ryan “stupid”…and yet in my own, very first, virgin Medium post, I posted about network news ‘stupidity’. Noah’s article shamed me, humbled me, and ironically made me more determined than ever to out people like Krugman, who do such a disservice to humanity for their blatant attempt to invert reality, or in this case, economic reality.
I’m not taking back the comment about American network news…I can’t. It’s just too sad a state of affairs how irrelevant and government-subservient they’ve become. The three networks directly feed the ignorance of their viewership…if you’d watched TV the last two weeks, you’d think the events in the town of Ferguson Missouri were going to be the seminal event of the century, when what it is was was simply a venting of pent-up steam, some deserved some inflated; the event will quickly dissipate into reality’s vacuum. Reality has a way of catching up with whatever any snake-oil salesman sells, whether the salesman is a network news anchor or a door-to-door salesman. We have lives and bills to pay, and ultimately that’s what drowns out the distractions. Since my first post, I noticed that NBC canned David Gregory; for my money, the seminal moment in that guy’s TV history had to be when he publicly indicted a fellow journalist (Glenn Greenwald) rather than actually investigate what the subject matter that the fellow journalist had brought to everyone’s attention (Snowden). You can not expect to be taken seriously if you’re simply a mouthpiece for a government…no more than Chemical Ali.
So on to Paul Krugman. I have no idea what the body of evidence is for any of Krugman’s writings; for example, does he ever travel? Did he ever go to pre-Perestroika USSR or Eastern Europe? Does he base his entire sweep of his brand of Keynesian theory on made-up statistics? I’ll get to his pedantic and insolent personal characteristics, which I would guess have much to do with more deep-rooted problems sure to evidence themselves in private and possibly in public if we are lucky.
But what is more disturbing to anyone who hasn’t given up on humanity is this: Krugman has gotten a Nobel for being wrong, yet he is still accorded vast amounts of respect by those who can not fathom what he spouts, and further he is paid big dollars by organizations to essentially continue lying about cause and effect in economic theory. I have no doubt that he knows he is a fraud.
Fortunately (or not), I chanced upon the USSR and Eastern Europe in the early 1990's, to see firsthand what the extreme Keynesian model wrought. An extreme version of Keynsianism is in fact what people like Krugman wish upon you and yours. He is no middle of the road economist; he wants his cake, wants to eat it, throw it up, add more flour, and gorge upon it yet again. And again and again and again, until the last penny of purchasing power is left for the US dollar. He wants to regulate everything that moves, he wants to tax progressively until the highest marginal tax rate hits close to 100%, and he wants to inoculate government pensions from taxes…meaning, you’d best sign up to government, because that’ll be the only viable means of retirement…
What he fails to mention (ever) is the vast landscape of perfectly failed economies and cultures that did exactly in the past what he now wishes done to you.
The Nobel Committee, for all their desire to be seen as smart and forward-looking, are not (in case you might be wondering) a great arbiter of excellence…see their own track record for that. In Eastern Europe and Russia, having been told to be “Alwasy ready” by the government, personal desire was leeched out of nearly every person…in a million years you will not see a more devastated will to create and thrive, than what you had there. The people were hollowed out; only by the incredible human spirit did certain areas of excellence remain, mostly in the arts. Only by dint of survival instincts did phenomenal creatures such as Baryshnikov and Kasparov find their way to freer countries, where they could think for themselves without the overarching control of the state.
Do not kid yourselves that people like Krugman do not see the historical evidence of failure of Russia and Eastern Europe as anything but an accidental by-product of what only ‘could have been’…had only ‘they’ (Krugman and like-minded Keynesians) been in charge! It is an apex of hubris, but one that manifests itself with the lowly way Krugman treats others.
The best thing to do with a guy like Krugman is ignore him, his worst possible punishment. In our culture of celebrity worship, I realize this is difficult, because even train wrecks become fascinating and newsworthy. I just wish Krugman’s impact was as deservedly vapid and light as Kim Kardashian’s, but it is alas not. Reality will catch up with his theories; we just don’t have the time to watch the troubles they directly cause.
One last comment about Krugman’s odious personality: Economists are people who work with numbers but don’t have the personality to be accountants.