Paul Krugman: Face It Guys, I’m Just Smarter Than You

Paul Krugman wants you to know that he’s way smarter than you:

One criticism I face fairly often is the assertion that I must be dishonest — I must be cherry-picking my evidence, or something — because the way I describe it, I’m always right while the people who disagree with me are always wrong. And not just wrong, they’re often knaves or fools. How likely is that?

But may I suggest, respectfully, that there’s another possibility? Maybe I actually am right, and maybe the other side actually does contain a remarkable number of knaves and fools.

Translation: It’s not that I’m wrong, it’s just that you’re stupid.

FILED UNDER: General
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    Krugman shows some interesting psychology of being right. But of course the sour grapes squad show some interesting psychology of their own.

    I note, for instance, that you don’t even attempt to make (or even link) any rational argument about why Krugman might be wrong in any of his core arguments.

  2. mantis says:

    Maybe I actually am right, and maybe the other side actually does contain a remarkable number of knaves and fools.

    Indeed it does. A huge number. It’s not that hard being right when the opposition is full of idiots and liars. The hard part is getting people to stop listening to the idiots and liars. Krugman is not good at that.

  3. john personna says:

    @mantis:

    But Krugman is right that the knaves and fools have driven policy. They still want to drive policy, even now if it is by writing Krugman off as a big meany.

  4. G.A.Phillips says:

    If being an idiot were a crime, he’d be the first person arrested.

  5. Rafer Janders says:

    Translation: It’s not that I’m [Doug: shouldn’t this be ‘you’re’ instead of ‘I’m’?] wrong, it’s just that you’re stupid.

    While I believe that is, in fact, true, and Krugman is actually much smarter than his critics, that’s not quite what he’s saying when he writes “Maybe I actually am right, and maybe the other side actually does contain a remarkable number of knaves and fools”, since the “knaves and fools” includes a large number of people who are also smart but, for reasons of venality, corruption, cowardice, or just plain evil choose to ignore what they know to be right.

    So, more accurate would be “Translation: it’s not that you’re wrong, it’s just that you’re dishonest.”

  6. legion says:

    Doug,
    I understand that you don’t like what Krugman is saying. But is he wrong?

  7. john personna says:

    I really think this should be a big teaching moment at, or about, OTB.

    OTB, if it aspires for a rational politics, should either endorse Krugman or disprove him.

    If you just engage in this memeorandum cycle of “Krugman is right, but too mean” what the heck are you doing?

    Is the point to make people (yourself) feel better about broken ideas?

  8. C. Clavin says:

    G.A.Phillips…
    No…there is at least one that would go first.
    Check the mirror.

    At any rate…the guy was/is right.
    And maybe I’m wrong…but I don’t still don’t think we’ve seen the OTB post on the Rogoff and Reinhart study that all the Republicanists hung their hats on…that was wrong.

  9. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: “And maybe I’m wrong…but I don’t still don’t think we’ve seen the OTB post on the Rogoff and Reinhart study that all the Republicanists hung their hats on…that was wrong. ”

    Oddy, we also haven’t seen a post about the West, Texas explosion that shows what happens when the Unregulated Free Market is allowed to bring its brand of Freedom! to chemical plants.

    It’s as if any reality that contradicts the Glory of Libertarianism simply doesn’t exist.

    Imagine that.

  10. Tad says:

    The real best part of this incite is that Doug completely misrepresents what Krugman says, i.e. how he doesn’t think he’s smarter than everyone else which he says repeatedly….Doug selectively quotes the opposite statement. And all this only a day after complaining about the conspiracy nuts taking over the republican party he does a bang up job of showing why they are successful.

  11. Moosebreath says:

    @wr:

    “Oddy, we also haven’t seen a post about the West, Texas explosion that shows what happens when the Unregulated Free Market is allowed to bring its brand of Freedom! to chemical plants.”

    Yep. We actually dodged a bullet with that one. Had the explosion been 12 hours earlier, the number of school age children killed could have totalled in the hundreds. This was a good blog post about it, and the discussion that followed was nice as well.

  12. mantis says:

    @Tad:

    Indeed. Here’s Krugman’s last sentence:

    The point is not that I have an uncanny ability to be right; it’s that the other guys have an intense desire to be wrong. And they’ve achieved their goal.

    Doug of course would rather push a dishonest “Krugman thinks he’s smarter than everyone!” line than confront the reality that the folks he supports have been selling him garbage, knowingly or unknowingly. He’ll keep eating up that garbage while tut-tutting about that mean ol’ know-it-all Krugman.

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    Actually, it’s worse than that. It’s not they they know stuff is false and say it anyway. They don’t care. Their statements are purely tactical, whatever will accomplish their goals at the moment. Truth simply doesn’t enter into it for them.

    A philosophy prof named Frankfurt wrote a whole book on the subject, pointing out that BSing is worse than lying because a liar at least recognizes the existence of truth.

  14. Andre Kenji says:

    My problem with Krugman is in fact that is much smarter than he shows at his NYT column.

  15. Nikki says:

    @C. Clavin:

    And maybe I’m wrong…but I don’t still don’t think we’ve seen the OTB post on the Rogoff and Reinhart study that all the Republicanists hung their hats on…that was wrong.

    Damn you, C. Clavin! You beat me to it.

  16. Ben Wolf says:

    Doug,

    I don’t think Krugman is saying he’s smarter, rather that he’s been more right because ue’s more open to empirical evidence than most in his profession and the public sphere.

    Krugman has been open, though not as open as I’d personally like. He has significantly shifted his positions in a number of areas in response to the events of the last five years, something very few others have done. As a result he has been far more correct in his macroeconomic forecasts than most anyone else in the mainstream. I’ve stated repeatedly that being right should count for something whether we like the message or not, so I do give Dr. Krugman a lot of credit.

    Now if we could only do something about his belief in the myth of loanable funds . . .

  17. Rob in CT says:

    Actually, while I’m sure it’s fair to say that Krugman is at least a little arrogant, “I’m smarter than you” is not really what he’s saying in that post.

    He’s saying “my theoretical framework is better than yours.” It’s not exactly the same thing.

  18. stonetools says:

    The plain and simple fact is that Krugman has been right (repeatedly) and that his critics (including Doug and the Freeedom Works crowd ) have been dead wrong, earth is flat, sun revolves around the earth, wrong, repeatedly. Its been an epic rout.

    Krugman Uber Alles

    It’s really kind of amazing. And in case there was any doubt as to KrugTron’s prognosticatorial puissance, just ask the experts, who found that he pummeled all other pundits in prediction prowess, getting 14 out of 15 predictions right.

    Here is Krugtron himself:

    O.K., I’ve just given you a story, but why should you believe it? There are, after all, people who insist that the real problem is on the economy’s supply side: that workers lack the skills they need, or that unemployment insurance has destroyed the incentive to work, or that the looming menace of universal health care is preventing hiring, or whatever. How do we know that they’re wrong?

    Well, I could go on at length on this topic, but just look at the predictions the two sides in this debate have made. People like me predicted right from the start that large budget deficits would have little effect on interest rates, that large-scale “money printing” by the Fed (not a good description of actual Fed policy, but never mind) wouldn’t be inflationary, that austerity policies would lead to terrible economic downturns. The other side jeered, insisting that interest rates would skyrocket and that austerity would actually lead to economic expansion. Ask bond traders, or the suffering populations of Spain, Portugal and so on, how it actually turned out.

    Maybe its just time, Doug to admit that the folks over at Reason.org, the Heritage Foundation, and the rest of the Austerian crowd got it wrong and Krugman and the liberals got it right. Just sayin.’

  19. steve s says:

    Krugman’s opponenets want to believe a lengthy list of lies:

    *taxes should always be cut
    *the military can never be too big
    *trickle-down works
    *regulations are always bad
    *free market always better than gummint
    *climate change is a lie…
    *(a dozen other idiocies)

    the fact is clear that his opponents simply are frequently fools and knaves.

  20. Scot says:

    Typical Krugman. Tries to win an argument of ideas by belittling others.

  21. john personna says:

    @Scot:

    “an argument?”

    Which argument do you think is an open issue at this point? Here is a blast from the past:

    U.S. in Worse Shape than Greece

    That would be OTB, in June 2011

  22. Andre Kenji says:

    @stonetools:

    The plain and simple fact is that Krugman has been right (repeatedly) and that his critics (including Doug and the Freeedom Works crowd ) have been dead wrong, earth is flat, sun revolves around the earth, wrong, repeatedly.

    That´s my biggest problem with Krugman and with many Keynesians: Public spending is not made equal. Germany has a high-level of public spending, but they spend this money mainly on things like education, infrastructure and things like that. A big problem of Southern Europe is not public spending per se, but in what they spend this money.

    It´s much different than investing on bloated administrative divisions of the Public sector or in pensions. For instance, one could argue that the United States should cut Medical expenses, then uses part of the money to cut the deficit and another part to invest in infrastructure. Doing good public policy requires debate. Besides that, monetary and fiscal measures can help the economy only to a point. If you have poor manufacturing, services and agricultural sector there is no macroeconomic measure that can solve your problem(A problem in Southern Europe is precisely that they used public employment to cut unemployment levels, and that can´t be sustained forever).

    Saying that one side of the debate won and that ANY cut in public spending is austerity does not help the debate.

  23. george says:

    @john personna:

    OTB, if it aspires for a rational politics, should either endorse Krugman or disprove him.

    That or just ignore Krugman – there are quite a few Nobel Prize winning economists which OTB doesn’t mention, so no discussing him would not be a problem.

    But if he is going to be brought up all the time in OTB, as you say, an analysis might be useful. I’m not an economist, but I doubt its possible to either endorse or disprove him, any more than it would be possible to either endorse or disprove say Richard Feynman. Even leading people in a field typically are right about some things and wrong about others – and thinking about it, I suspect that’s what you mean, isn’t it? Endorse or disprove him on individual theories, rather than carte blanche.

  24. Scot says:

    @john personna: I’m not sure how to respond. It’s an interesting link, but I didn’t see Krugman mentioned. My comment was based much more on Krugmans style than his accuracy. It would take way more writing than I’m up for to debate economic models.

  25. stonetools says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Saying that one side of the debate won and that ANY cut in public spending is austerity does not help the debate.

    Er, who is saying that? Certainly not Krugman, nor ANY liberal theorist I know. Nice strawman yoiu have there.

    Look, this isn’t just some academic debate that someone won. This is the triumph of truth over a dogma that governments followed mindllessly and that needlessly stunted growth of economies all over the world and kept millions unemployed, who could have been gainfully at work. Krugman:

    For no matter how lurid the excesses of the past, there’s no good reason that we should pay for them with year after year of mass unemployment.

    So what could we do to reduce unemployment? The answer is, this is a time for above-normal government spending, to sustain the economy until the private sector is willing to spend again. The crucial point is that under current conditions, the government is not, repeat not, in competition with the private sector. Government spending doesn’t divert resources away from private uses; it puts unemployed resources to work. Government borrowing doesn’t crowd out private investment; it mobilizes funds that would otherwise go unused.

    Now, just to be clear, this is not a case for more government spending and larger budget deficits under all circumstances — and the claim that people like me always want bigger deficits is just false. For the economy isn’t always like this — in fact, situations like the one we’re in are fairly rare. By all means let’s try to reduce deficits and bring down government indebtedness once normal conditions return and the economy is no longer depressed. But right now we’re still dealing with the aftermath of a once-in-three-generations financial crisis. This is no time for austerity.

    The good thing is that now our political leaders are finally begining to take notice, after years of hysteria about the deficit. My Senator Tom Kaine:

    <blockquote>“Trying to just land on the debt too quickly would really harm the economy; I’m convinced of that,” Kaine, hardly a wild-eyed liberal, said in an interview. “Jobs and growth should be No. 1. Economic growth is the best anti-deficit strategy.”

    You might wonder what, exactly, is the big deal here. After all, Democrats haven’t been the ones pushing for spending cuts. Republicans have. But most of the time, Democrats have ceded the general point to Republicans that debt is a major problem, and that in some form or another, fiscal policy should focus on reducing that debt. The realization that growth is how you close the deficit and that austerity (because it saps growth) is counterproductive allows Democrats to form a counter-argument that doesn’t cede to the GOP’s premise. And that in itself is an important change in the debate.

    Make no mistake that the data supports this concept.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/democratic-senator-growth-is-the-best-way-to-fix-the-deficit-2013-4#ixzz2RsqeXiza

    And so it does.

  26. john personna says:

    @george, @Scot:

    To answer you both, the core argument in 2009 and 2010 is “are our problems more like those of Japan or those of Greece?” Greece had a debt problem becoming a debt spiral. Japan had a growth problem which, strangely and stubbornly, did not ever become a debt problem. For them, being stuck in low interest rates were a different kind of problem.

    Krugman wrote a piece called Japanese Bonds in 2010 to talk about this.

    This is all cycling around now as “news” because two factors are proving Krugman was right in the big picture sense back in 2010. One is the continued failure of austerity in Europe (the anti-Krugman strategy, if you will), and the other is the sudden recognition that Reinhart and Rogoff had oversold their case.

    If you want to move forward with economic prescription, you have to process why Krugman was right in 2010. It’s huge..

  27. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    This is a fall-back argument, and a strawman, though a popular one on the internets on April 29, 2013.

    You see, if Krugman was right in the big picture about debt not being the most immediate problem, then “all you can do” is claim that he only really wanted bad spending, all along.

    God forbid that Krugman’s argument, that borrowing is not to be greatly feared, might mean that we could do some good spending.

  28. john personna says:

    BTW Andre, this is what you wrote in 2011:

    The critical thing is the deficit. High deficits means higher interest rates and smaller growth.

    Japan, not Greece.

  29. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna:

    http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/23/news/economy/japan-debt-abenomics/index.html

    For many years, very low interest rates allowed Japan to issue debt and not be overwhelmed by servicing payments. And Japanese citizens, famous for their savings habit, were happy to buy government bonds. In contrast to countries like Greece, almost all Japanese debt is held domestically.
    But risks remain, especially if interest rates spike.
    “A significant rise in the long-term interest rate would compound Japan’s fiscal predicament and hurt the economy and the financial institutions holding government bonds,” the OECD said.

  30. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    As I told you in 2011:

    Low interest rates have been supported on two fronts, US monetary policy played against a global savings glut.

    Did you miss a learning opportunity then? Do you think Asian savings is constrained by national borders?

  31. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna:

    You see, if Krugman was right in the big picture about debt not being the most immediate problem, then “all you can do” is claim that he only really wanted bad spending, all along.

    I´m not pointing out to that. I´m pointing out that If ANY cut in government spending is the so called austerity then there is no discussion about the proper way that a government should spend money.

  32. Ben Wolf says:

    @Andre Kenji: Well it’s good that Japanese interest rates can’t spike. I would think two decades of interest rates not spiking would be ample evidence the Bank of Japan calls the shots.

  33. Andre Kenji says:

    @stonetools:

    This is the triumph of truth over a dogma that governments followed mindllessly and that needlessly stunted growth of economies all over the world and kept millions unemployed, who could have been gainfully at work.

    No, it´s not. Austerity measures are almost always enacted because foreign creditors demand it. That´s why they generally include tax hikes, spending cuts and increases of interest rates. In Both Portugal and in Spain Conservatives were only elected after the Socialists failed to fix the economy. François Hollande, hardly a people from the Austerity Crowd, just announced a big cut in Defense today.

    If you don´t like austerity then don´t be so dependent from Foreign Investors.

  34. stonetools says:

    @john personna:

    God forbid that Krugman’s argument, that borrowing is not to be greatly feared, might mean that we could do some good spending.

    Bingo. The typical statement of the Austerians was that ALL government spending is bad, that it crowds out the public sector, that it burdens our grandchildren, etc.
    Its ironic that Germany, which earlier conservatives attacked as the exemplar of sclerotic, socialist Europe, is now hailed as the epitome of right spending. For my part, its not clear that Germany spent its stimulus on any different things than the USA did-except for much less military spending (It did spend less). Morever, Germany instituted a program of paying businesses not to lay off workers-kurzarbeit– that was the polar oposite of conservative nostrums about labor economics. And it worked.

  35. Andre Kenji says:

    @Ben Wolf: If you think that Japan is an example of success I´m afraid about what you understand as failure.

  36. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    In US politics the right ran with an “all spending is bad” argument, because they said “we are Greece.”

    They thought that was a neat argument, because they didn’t even have to argue about a particular program being useful.

  37. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna: By the way, in 2011 I was affraid that low interest rates could not be kept forever. Today, I´m afraid of the opposite happening: artificially low interest rates, creating stock bubbles, being kept for indefinite time.

  38. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna:

    In US politics the right ran with an “all spending is bad” argument, because they said “we are Greece.”

    To be sincere, I think that most arguments that US Movement Conservatives makes about public spending is bunk. Specially when they ignore the problem that government spending automatically automatically increases if the average age of the population increases and when they use Keynesian arguments to support tax cuts.

  39. stonetools says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    And have the Conservatives fixed the economy in Spain and Portugal? Spain’s unemployment rate is now 27.2 per cent– higher than its ever been. The Conservatives have failed worse than the Socialists have.

    François Hollande, hardly a people from the Austerity Crowd, just announced a big cut in Defense today.

    Er, a cut in defense spending sounds about right for a leftist. He’s cutting defense spending and protecting social spending. That’s not austerity.

  40. Andre Kenji says:

    @stonetools:

    And have the Conservatives fixed the economy in Spain and Portugal? Spain’s unemployment rate is now 27.2 per cent- higher than its ever been.

    In France, the unemployment is the highest since 1977. Both the so called austerity and the so called “keeping the things as they are” have a dismal record in the Euro Zone.

  41. Andre Kenji says:

    @stonetools:

    Er, a cut in defense spending sounds about right for a leftist. He’s cutting defense spending and protecting social spending. That’s not austerity.

    But defense is public spending. Take a look:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/defense-cuts-pose-an-economic-quandary-for-liberals/2013/04/28/6cc78b72-b01b-11e2-9a98-4be1688d7d84_story.html

  42. Scot says:

    @john personna: I read Krugman occasionally. I like to hear his opinion. But if I’m betting on interest rates I’d turn to Bill Gross (mentioned in the link you provided). If they both agree great I’m on board. If they don’t I’m leary but we probably go with Gross. I form my opinions based on who I believe has the best record not their politics.

    I haven’t read your Krugman link yet so I may change my mind but in general comparing Greece, Japan, and the US based solely on their debt load and drawing a conclusion is absurd to me. There are so many other factors. I will confess, Japan has surprised me. One possible explanation is it has been that it has been the worlds largest creditor nation for 20+ years.

    I will read your Krugman Link and let you know what I think.

    Question: Do you think globalization has helped or hurt the wages of workers in the US over the last 20 years?

  43. stonetools says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    But defense is public spending. Take a look:

    I agree but for Amercan conservatives, defense spending isn’t public spending. It is its own holy thing, Which Can Never Be Cut.
    Austerity generally refers to cuts in social spending (and hikes in taxes). That’s how it’s referred to, worldwide.

  44. Ben Wolf says:

    @Ben Wolf: Stop trying to change the subject. You stated Japanese interest rates could spike and it would all come undone. I replied:

    Well it’s good that Japanese interest rates can’t spike. I would think two decades of interest rates not spiking would be ample evidence the Bank of Japan calls the shots.

  45. Ben Wolf says:

    @Ben Wolf: Oops, responded to myself with the last one. Was directed at Andre.

  46. Scot says:

    @john personna: Ok. I read the link. What Krugman asserts maybe true, but how could anybody prove it one way or another. I would argue the reason the administration didn’t act was because the entire nation was in a debate over health care at the time and they didn’t want to risk the political capital. I honestly don’t remember the administration even bringing it up in the fall of 2009?

  47. Andre Kenji says:

    @stonetools:

    Austerity generally refers to cuts in social spending (and hikes in taxes). That’s how it’s referred to, worldwide.

    I think that´s a very generic definition, and by itself dangerous. Both the 1990 and the 1993 deficit busting budgets could be considered austeriity. Every so called Conservative opposed both.

  48. stonetools says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    I think the basic point has been made, which is that Krugman and the liberals won on the issue of austerity being a path for the groth and recovery. Its time for austerity advocates to just give up thart argument. Fortunatelly, governments wordwide are coming around on that.

  49. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    I’m not sure I follow. It seems very simple to me. The economic definition is:

    When you expand net deficit that is stimulus (either by increased spending or reduced tax).

    When you reduce net deficit that is austerity (either by increased tax or reduced spending).

    Our net-net in 2010 was very much stimulus (with more spending and reduce payroll tax). Since then we have had light austerity, by rolling back some spending and raising some tax. Some european nations got themselves in trouble by hitting the spending brakes too hard and creating a more serious austerity regime.

  50. john personna says:

    @stonetools:

    Also, if we believe in counter-cyclical spending then we believe in austerity .. but in times of high growth. Stimulating a growing economy is wrong/dangerous for several reasons. To name just one, the hotter an economy, the more real “crowding out” becomes.

  51. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna:

    It seems very simple to me.

    That´s the problem, it´s not simple.Countries have different levels of government spending and taxes, there is the issue of taxes, level of debt, inflation, etc. Besides that, when countries in Latin America where facing problems with their debt there was less commotion about austerity than now, when Whitey People in Europe are facing the issue…

  52. Hal 10000 says:

    Not to come late to this, but Krugman has a very long history of deceptive arguments, straw manning and cherry-picking to say the least. Just to cite a few examples (and I’m sorry for the length of this, guys, but I don’t anyone to say I’m picking out a few examples).

    There was his chart about how Argentina’s economy was working, which used inflation figures everyone knows are BS and started right after Argentina’s economy has finished tanking thanks to policies Krugman embraced. He also praised Japan’s policies in the same article days before their credit was downgraded.

    He continues to insist that Herbert Hoover was an “austerian” despite Hoover’s massive spending increases:

    The evidence he cites supporting Keynesianism is highly selective, ignoring the 1990’s, ignoring the late 1940’s, completely ignoring the disaster that the pursuit of the Phillips Curve produced in the 1970’s. here’s the link for when the website is back up.

    There was his tiff with John Stewart over the platinum coin. And really, just his support for the platinum coin trick was ridiculous and insanely partisan. It became obvious that he supported mainly as a way to “get” Republicans.

    There was his selective reading the CBPP report where he claimed the budget was balanced. and his frequent screams of “austerity” over flat European spending.

    There was his bizarre screaming rant about the Supreme Court when he thought they were going to overturn Obamacare.

    He’s argued that a threatened alien invasion, 9/11 and natural disasters are stimulative.

    Here he is two years ago predicting that the debt deal would crash the economy and grow the deficit. Now he’s saying the deficit is solved.

    That’s just a few I had from my own blog and recent commentary. Paul Krugman is the Left’s answer to Rush Limbaugh. He says what they want to hear and spends a lot of time excoriating people they don’t like. That he has an intellectual pedigree doesn’t change the fact that he is frequently wrong, often deceptive and always condescending.

  53. Spartacus says:

    It is an indisputable fact that anyone who is in the GOP or supports the GOP must fall into at least one of the following three categories:

    1. That person desires public policy that is harmful to the public.
    2. That person doesn’t care that the policies he/she supports are harmful to the public.
    3. That person is ignorant of the fact that the the policies he/she supports are harmful to the public.

    There are no other options. Depending on the topic, Doug moves seamlessly between these categories.

  54. Scott O says:

    @Hal 10000: I won’t go through all your points but this:

    He’s argued that a threatened alien invasion, 9/11 and natural disasters are stimulative.

    is just plain wrong. Do I have to explain it to you or were you just being deceptive? And comparing Krugman to Limbaugh? Seriously?

  55. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    The ECONOMICS of stimulus and its opposite are as simple as positive or negative forces.

    Push and pull.

    Up and down.

    Hot and cold.

    Stimulus and austerity.

    Now you CAN say national policy is complicated, but that is not the same as saying that this one simple concept has to encapsulate all that.

    Saturn V rockets are complicated. That doesn’t complete the meaning of hot and cold.

  56. john personna says:

    @Hal 10000:

    Not very fair reporting of what your links say. Example:

    Here he is two years ago predicting that the debt deal would crash the economy and grow the deficit

    What he actually said at your link:

    Indeed, slashing spending while the economy is depressed won’t even help the budget situation much, and might well make it worse. On one side, interest rates on federal borrowing are currently very low, so spending cuts now will do little to reduce future interest costs. On the other side, making the economy weaker now will also hurt its long-run prospects, which will in turn reduce future revenue. So those demanding spending cuts now are like medieval doctors who treated the sick by bleeding them, and thereby made them even sicker.

    He warns, basically, of the conditions Doug so frequently complains about.

  57. Hal 10000 says:

    @Scott O:

    is just plain wrong. Do I have to explain it to you or were you just being deceptive?

    Here is Krugman arguing that 9/11 will stimulate the economy. Here he is claiming a fake alien invasion would be stimulative. And when the Fukushima Earthquake hit, he literally said it might not be big enough to stimulate Japan’s economy (after two decades of stimulus spending). I’m not making this up.

    Keynesians, like Krugman, like to pretend that their theories are laws of nature and inarguable despite ongoing argument over them. They like to cite the models that claim multiplicative factors of 3-5 and ignore ones that calculate factors of just around 1. They like to pretend 1946 didn’t happen. They like to pretend the Great Inflation didn’t happen. They like to sweep 1993 – when a stimulus measure was defeated, spending was cut and the economy boomed — under the rug. They’ll talk about 1937, sure — and ignore the eight years of stimulus that preceeded it. They like to pretend the recent stimulus was “only” $800 billion despite $5 trillion in deficit spending and their claims that all deficit spending is stimulative.

    I think the comparison to LImbaugh is fair. Krugman is Limbaugh for intellectuals. He’s a smug professor instead of a bombastic radio host. But the appeal is the same: my opponents are just dumb or hate the country. Yes, he won a Nobel Prize for some important work he did on trade. But his column is so frequently factually challenged, one of my friends is convinced it’s actually written by interns.

  58. john personna says:

    @Hal 10000:

    I followed your first link, and again, you misrepresent it. Krugman talks about the initial damage, the potential for reduced consumer spending, and then finally “two potentially favorable effects:”

    So the direct economic impact of the attacks will probably not be that bad. And there will, potentially, be two favorable effects.

    First, the driving force behind the economic slowdown has been a plunge in business investment. Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings. As I’ve already indicated, the destruction isn’t big compared with the economy, but rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.

    Second, the attack opens the door to some sensible recession-fighting measures. For the last few weeks there has been a heated debate among liberals over whether to advocate the classic Keynesian response to economic slowdown, a temporary burst of public spending. There were plausible economic arguments in favor of such a move, but it was questionable whether Congress could agree on how to spend the money in time to be of any use — and there was also the certainty that conservatives would refuse to accept any such move unless it were tied to another round of irresponsible long-term tax cuts. Now it seems that we will indeed get a quick burst of public spending, however tragic the reasons.

    Do you not read that critically, in the real sense of the word? That is testing Krugman’s “priors” but also your own?

  59. john personna says:

    Basically Hal, you do what the worst sort of Krugman critics do. You dumb-down his arguments, and then fight the dumber version.

    It is important to note that when you do this you remove Krugman’s cautions from his argument. He says “at least some increase in business spending,” and you hear “will stimulate the economy.”

  60. Scott O says:

    @Hal 10000: OK, I’ll explain it to you even though I’m sure you know this already. Krugman was saying the spending that accompanies those events is stimulative, not the events themselves. What you were doing was trying to make him sound like an idiot.

    If Krugman is Limbaugh for intellectuals does that mean Limbaugh is Krugman for stupid people?

  61. john personna says:

    @Scott O:

    Krugman also acknowledges that winds blow the other way:

    The wild card here is confidence. But the confidence that matters in this case has little to do with general peace of mind. If people rush out to buy bottled water and canned goods, that will actually boost the economy. For a few weeks horrified Americans may be in no mood to buy anything but necessities. But once the shock has passed it’s hard to believe that consumer spending will be much affected.

    I think he was wrong in that last sentence, but he got the logic of it all down on paper. What he did not foresee was that 9/11 battered consumers and companies already depressed by the Dot Com bust. As wikipedia notes:

    The stock market crash of 2000–2002 caused the loss of $5 trillion in the market value of companies from March 2000 to October 2002.[14] The 9/11 terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, killing almost 700 employees of Cantor-Fitzgerald, accelerated the stock market drop; the NYSE suspended trading for four sessions. When trading resumed, some of it was transacted in temporary new locations.

  62. stonetools says:

    @Hal 10000:

    Shorter, HAl 1000: I’m not going to concede that Krugman is right. Instead, I’m going to point to “mistakes” I think he’s made, and oh yes, he’s as bad a person as the worst blowhard on my side.
    Look, guy, Krugman was right on the major issues of economic policy asrising from the 2008 crisis.Either recognize it, accept it, and rehink your position, or do as you really want to do, continue to obfuscate.
    I also will point out to everyone here that its not just Krugman who was right. He’s just the champion of the anti-austerity position. Let me call the roll of some of the others who were also right:

    Joseph E. Stiglitz
    Robert Reich
    Jared Bernstein
    Mark Thoma
    Brad DeLong
    Christine Romer
    L:awrence Summers
    Robert Kuttner

    The sad thing is that if the Obama Administration had followed the advice of these guys and gone all in on stimulus, we would have had a better economy and the wave election of 2010 would (IMO) be a much smaller wave. Instead, the Administration waffled, tried to be “bipartisan”, and ended up with a smaller and less effective stimulus for no political gain-the worst political blunder of the Obama Presidency, IMO.

  63. mantis says:

    @Hal 10000:

    I’m not making this up.

    Mostly, you are. It’s quite obvious to anyone who reads what you dishonestly describe.

  64. Rob in CT says:

    It’s sad that the alien invasion example was so confusing to conservatives. His point was that a shocking, scary outside threat would be enough to get everyone to put aside fear of debt and go flat-out. Basically, what WWII did. You know, the biggest US government spending program in history (incidently, I don’t think 1946 is all that hard to explain – given the restrictions on consumer goods during the war, there was a lot of pent up demand. Households had money, because basically everyone was employed and because consumer goods were restricted & there were price controls and such. The result was a dramatic improvement in household balance sheets that resulted in some pretty nifty private sector growth after the war. Which is why I’d like to see the government do more today to work on principle reductions/cramdowns and getting people to work).

    Obviously, we don’t want another World War and we don’t want an alien invasion. The point was not that we should want these things. It was about having the guts to go all-out in response to a once-in-about-80-years crisis, and what it might take in this political environment. Sadly, this involves evil alens. Or maybe, juuuuuust maybe, years and years of failure/stagnation. We’ll see.

    Having said that, the claim does not need to be that Krugman is always right about exactly everything. He’s been generally right and the folks he’s been arguing with have been repeatedly wrong and most of them have been utterly uninterested in considering why that might be (indeed, as far as I can tell most of them would simply deny having been wrong at all, despite very clear predictions they made that have not come true).

  65. Snarky Bastard says:

    @Scot: If you went with Gross over Krugman, you would have lost a lot of money over the past couple of years.

    PIMCO had been projecting higher interest rates to fight done rampant inflation — whoops for a 2 year span and then they reveresed course. Interestingly, reading through their public research notes, they did/do employ a couple of Keynesian/ZLB/Japan experts who seem to be on the same book at Krugman and the other saltwater macro guys….

  66. john personna says:

    @Snarky Bastard:

    It’s interesting. Gross is a smart guy who pitches “reasonable” futures. It’s just that like many a successful investor, he isn’t too wedded to them himself. Soros is like that, think one thing on Monday, tell everyone, change your mind on Teusday, and move your bets BEFORE you tell anyone 😉

    I read Gross’s “Back to Butler Creek” about ten years after written and found the predictions amazingly wrong, but of course Bill had moved on.

  67. Hal 10000 says:

    @Scott O:

    If Krugman is Limbaugh for intellectuals does that mean Limbaugh is Krugman for stupid people?

    Yes. Maybe comparing him to Limbaugh is unfair. Maybe I should compare to someone like Ayn Rand.

    It’s fun to watch the negative reaction whenever the golden idol of Krugman is kicked. You focused on the alien invasion thing and ignore the specific factual errors and cherry-picking I cited: his cherry-picking of Argentine economic data (using a trick we bash when global warming denialists use it), his refusal to address examples that defy the Keynesian model such as the 1970’s, 1990’s and late 1940’s, his deceptions about Herbert Hoover’s record, his deceptions about the CBPP analysis of the budget deficit, his refusal to admit that two decades of stimulus have not rescued Japan. Those were just a handful over the last few years. And that’s not saying he’s an awful man or disagreeing with him politically (I’ve never met the man; I have no idea what he’s like). I respect his Nobel work. But those are factual errors and lacunae.

    And stonetools, Krugman was wrong about the 2008 crisis. We have engaged in $5 trillion in deficit spending, twice the amount he said was necessary. His economic solutions are that we need to make up the deficit between current GDP and pre-crisis GDP, which was inflated by the housing bubble. There are just as many economists who have disputed his solutions — even among Keynesians. You may know their names because Krugman has frequently had temper tantrums about them: Greg Mankiw, John Taylor, Tyler Cowen, Russ Roberts, Eugene Fama, John Cochrane. Over 200 economists signed Cato’s full-age ad opposing the stimulus. And notice that some of those names — like Mankiw — were not “austerians” but believed that there were better ways to fix the economy than a spending binge. But because they differed from Krugman, they were austerians and were to be ignored.

  68. The Q says:

    Here’s the problem with not stamping out the stupidity and ignorance of the wingnut cohort. They LIE over and over and over and can never admit how stupidly wrong they have been. Don’t believe me, lets go to the videotape and read what the leading wingnuts had to say right after the 93 clinton omnibus act was passed (the one that raised taxes). Also, it should be noted, NOT ONE WINGNUT voted in support for the bill because it was dumb-headed discounted Keynsian rubbish retread theories which according to wingnuts, never works.

    “Clearly, this is a job-killer in the short-run. The impact on job creation is going to be devastating.” Rep. Dick Armey, (Republican, Texas)

    “The tax increase will … lead to a recession … and will actually increase the deficit.” Rep. Newt Gingrich (Republican, Georgia)

    “I will make you this bet. I am willing to risk the mortgage on it … the deficit will be up; unemployment will be up; in my judgment, inflation will be up.” Sen. Robert Packwood (Republican, Oregon)

    “The deficit four years from today will be higher than it is today, not lower.” Sen. Phil Gramm (Republican, Texas)

    History as we know, proved them all right as the 90s went down as the worst decade ever and Keynes was once and for all, relegated to the dustbin…..NOT…..

    Why do these idiot wingnuts with their supply side mantra which has proved to be wrong, even have the ability to spray their stupidity over the media which does not hold them accountable.

    See DeNIall Ferguson for the most recent manifestation of their insanity and zealotry in holding discredited views.

  69. The Q says:

    Hal 10000, no doubt you were one of the douches in 1993 supporting the above comments of the wingnut cohort, united in their apostasy over the mere idea of taxing the job creators since St. Ronnie would never approve and Sir Laffer was agin it.

    How foolish those idiots look now, and they are the same fools mouthing off against Krugman being “wrong”.

  70. Evil Conservative White Male says:

    @mantis:

    Clearly, why would Krugman need to say he’s smarter than everyone else when he has an army of lickspittles to say it for him?