Monday, November 19, 2012

Insane or delusional?

Gosh, it's difficult to know where to start on Paul Krugman's latest inane screed. One really has to wonder what goes through his head. He's certainly intelligent enough to know that the numbers and "facts" that he throws out are nonsense. So it's either that he is doing it on purpose to fool others who will give deference because he has a Nobel Prize in something completely divorced from what he's talking about, or he has lost his mind.  I suspect that latter, but, not being a psychiatrist, I won't hazard a specific diagnosis.

At any rate, let's start with the sheer stupidity of doing policy analysis by cherry-picking from a single period of history.  Krugman's basic claim is that situation of the 1950s (high taxes on corporations and the very rich, union power) worked just fine, so we can certainly go back to that now.  After all, according to Krugman,
the high-tax, strong-union decades after World War II were in fact marked by spectacular, widely shared economic growth: nothing before or since has matched the doubling of median family income between 1947 and 1973.
Let me think for a second.  Was there anything else that might have has something to do with what happened to the economy starting in 1947?  Well, it's been a while since I was in school, but I do seem to recall something about a massive worldwide depression followed by a war of some sort in which 50-70 million people were killed and all of Europe and much of Asia were flattened.  I also seem to remember talk about economic miracles in Germany and Japan, but perhaps that's just my imagination.

Assuming that my memory is correct, however, maybe we should really go whole hog on this replicating the conditions of the 1950s idea.  Wow, Krugman is way ahead of me on this already.

Update from James Taranto:
Still Crazy After All These Years
The Daily Princetonian profiles Paul Krugman, who in addition to being a former Enron adviser is a professor at Princeton:
Since he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2008, Krugman has been on more or less "50 percent duty" as a professor, Gene Grossman, chair of the economics department, said. When he won the top award in economics, his public profile increased significantly, meaning he suddenly had fewer free hours to commit to his job as a professor, Krugman said in an interview in his office last spring.
"Since the Nobel, with all of the pressures, I am buying back my falls, which is not going to continue indefinitely," he said, noting that his other commitments are why he only teaches in the spring. "In some ways teaching keeps you sane. I feel disconnected from reality after a semester of not teaching . .  it is good to come back and teach basics," he explained.
In case that's too long to read, here are the main points: 1. Teaching keeps you sane. 2. Krugman has a drastically reduced teaching load.