Every once in awhile I try reading a Paul Krugman column to see if I’m missing anything.
I know I’m just a lowly non-Nobel Prize winning crank with a little voice out here, but years ago when I encountered one of Krugman’s columns for the first time I found it to be remarkably dumb and decided that he wasn’t worth my time.
Apparently others don’t find him his columns dumb since he keeps getting published. So, every once in awhile I try reading again to see if it’s just me. His May 13 column, We’re Not Greece appeared in my local newspaper and I gave it a read.
He didn’t disappoint. The dumbness started just one paragraph in:
Everywhere you look there are editorials and commentaries, some posing as objective reporting, asserting that Greece today will be America tomorrow unless we abandon all that nonsense about taking care of those in need.
I added the emphasis to show Krugman’s straw man. A straw man is a false representation of the opponent’s position.
No conservative or libertarian I know of thinks we shouldn’t take care of those in need. This is a false representation of our position. Representing our position like this is either a lie or stupidity.
The differences are in how best to take care of those in need and who is in need. If Krugman wants an honest and genuine debate, he should state his case for why he thinks the methods he believes in are better than the methods his opponents believe in.
Krugman displays more stupidity in the next few paragraph as he tries to explain why the U.S. is not like Greece. The stupid part is that he compares the current state of each country (e.g. the current rate of interest on Greek government bonds vs. U.S. government bonds).
That’s not the correct comparison. The premise, as he correctly identifies in his first paragraph, is that Greece today will be America tomorrow. To better counter that premise, Krugman should compare the condition of Greece at some point in the past to America today to see if there are any similarities.
Comparing the current statuses evades the premise and is not remotely compelling.
I will give some credit to Krugman. After wasting four paragraphs making a bad comparison, he admits that the U.S. has a “long-run budget problem.” But, then he displays his stupidity again by first wasting two paragraphs bashing Bush tax policy and then not even mentioning the crazy big deficits of the Obama administration.
Bush tax policy has nothing to do with the “long-run budget problem.” Government spending and government spending alone does.
That’s like blaming huge credit card debt racked up by a financially irresponsible person on that person’s employer for not paying him enough.
Finally, Krugman claims that health care reform is one measure needed to solve the budget problem. That’s funny. It shows that Krugman has zero appreciation for the reality of perverted feedback loops in government. Government health care doesn’t have the feedback loops to control spending. Government’s involvement in health care is one of the big reasons why costs have increased so much. More government involvement will lead to more of the same.
After reading Krugman’s columns, it strikes me that there is a problem with education in this country – at all levels – if enough people read his columns, this column in particular, and not see his faulty logic and his his columns continue to be published.