Great Moments In Right-Wing Punditry

Via the comments, this gem from the Powerline on 8 August 2005:

It must be depressing to be Paul Krugman. No matter how well the economy performs, Krugman’s bitter vendetta against the Bush administration requires him to hunt for the black lining in a sky full of silvery clouds. With the economy now booming, what can Krugman possibly have to complain about? In today’s column, titled That Hissing Sound, Krugman says there is a housing bubble, and it’s about to burst…

There are, of course, obvious differences between houses and stocks. Most people own only one house at a time, and transaction costs make it impractical to buy and sell houses the way you buy and sell stocks. Krugman thinks the fact that James Glassman doesn’t buy the bubble theory is evidence in its favor, but if you read Glassman’s article on the subject, you’ll see that he actually makes some of the same points that Krugman does. But he argues, persuasively in my view, that there is little reason to fear a catastrophic collapse in home prices.

Krugman will have to come up with something much better, I think, to cause many others to share his pessimism.

John Hinderaker, in peak form.

Considering my recent past (at least up until mid 2005), I am not really in a position to get all high and mighty, but after being staggeringly wrong on so many issues across such a wide spectrum, you would think the PowerLine folks would take just a moment for self-reflection. That would be only human.

Instead, they plunge ever forward, pig-ignorant and carefree, completely sure of themselves (which explains why they love Palin so much, who embodies the same qualities). And, just for some fun, compare the opening sentence in the above quote about Krugman to the quote that earned Hinderake the first ever Golden Wingnut award:

It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile

Up is down, down is up. Bush, who has been wrong about everything, is celebrated. Krugman, on the other hand, with his record of accuracy, is a villain and a dullard, consumed by pessimism.

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57 replies
  1. 1
    JT from Texas says:

    Wow. I just….wow. I mean, I don’t……How can you…..

    My head hurts.

  2. 2
    Kathleen says:

    it must be very strange to be a wingnut at this time. no matter how tightly they hold their cherished beliefs, each day brings at least one of them crashing down.

    I fully expect to be hearing soon about how the Swedes are behind ACORN.

  3. 3
    r€nato says:

    Reality is clearly part of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy™ and should be declared an enemy combatant.

  4. 4
    Genine says:

    but after being staggeringly wrong on so many issues across such a wide spectrum, you would think the PowerLine folks would take just a moment for self-reflection. That would be only human.

    And the fact that they seem incapable of it, says a lot.

    People who are emotionally frozen at age 18 months to two years old cannot self-reflect. Its worse than death.

  5. 5
    r€nato says:

    Krugman thinks the fact that James Glassman doesn’t buy the bubble theory is evidence in its favor, but if you read Glassman’s article on the subject

    that would be James "Dow 36,000" Glassman, who is currently Bush’s Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the State Department.

    His predecessor in that position was Karen Hughes.

    Clearly, epic failure is a conservative value which is richly rewarded by them.

  6. 6
    Brian says:

    Powerline buffoons have some other choice quotes I’m sure they would just as soon like to disappear into the memory hole. My favorite, is their opening salvo on the current crisis from September:

    "Similarly, the Worst Economic Crisis Since the Great Depression is roughly a biennial event, occurring most often during election years. …The financial “crisis” is relatively manageable so far. While it has been disastrous for a few entities like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and possibly AIG, the broader market has been impacted only slightly… For most people, the biggest financial impact will be the cost of federal bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac and possibly other entities."

    Oh right, and Michelle Malkin writing 4 posts over 3 days suggesting that George Soros had a role in canceling an SNL skit. I kid you not, these people have gone off the deep end when it comes to clinging whatever shards of their now-shattered worldview.

  7. 7
    r€nato says:

    I kid you not, these people have gone off the deep end when it comes to clinging whatever shards of their now-shattered worldview.

    it used to be that people like this were put in straightjackets,heavily medicated and escorted to padded rooms.

    Today, they have their own political party.

  8. 8
    Svensker says:

    Reality is clearly part of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy™ and should be declared an enemy combatant.

    They’ve tried to keep Reality down at Gitmo, with double super secret sensory deprivation goggles and ear phones on, but it manages to sneak out every now and then and get a few whacks in.

  9. 9
    MattF says:

    I have to say, the "unappreciated genius of George Bush" meme always raised my blood pressure to "It’s gonna blow!" levels. So glad that’s over.

  10. 10
    howard says:

    as someone who used to joust every so often with the "old" john cole (back at one of yglesias’ earlier hangouts), i cannot say how much i respect the fact that john has, in fact, looked at reality and come to terms with it.

    as for the remaining wingnuts, good grief: as the bill ayers attention reminds us, there were a few thousand left extremists who lived in a bubble in the late ’60s and early ’70s. today we have millions of winguts living in their bubble, led, as john correctly notes, by sarah palin, the living embodiment of stuff and nonsense.

  11. 11
    Punchy says:

    Bush, who has been wrong about everything, is celebrated

    Yeah, but by only 23% nowadays (per…ABC?).

  12. 12
    Nylund says:

    On the one hand you have a libertarian journalist with ZERO official education in economics or finance (and no graduate education whatsoever). He wrote a book saying that the stock market would triple in the matter of a couple years. Had he ever had even a few days of education in the subject matter, he’d realize that his "proof" was nothing more than some very mangled equations full of double-counting and absurd assumptions. He was laughed at by anyone who actually knew what they were talking about. But, he’d been on Rush’s show.

    Or, you have a guy who not only has a Ph.D. in economics from a top school, but a guy who revolutionized his field of economics, making him one of the most well-respected economists in his field. A guy who wrote some of the most amazing economics papers of the last 30 years, some of which they force every grad student to read because they are so damn good. But, he dislikes Bush.

    Now, you have a peculiar financial/economic situation a’bubblin’ and both guys give their opinions. Who do you believe?

    Well, if you’re a wingnut, you ignore their respective histories in the field (a laugh out loud book vs. extremely influential theory papers), and base it entire on the fact that one was down with Rush and the other dislikes Bush.

    Its the basic Bush mentality. Go with the loyalist NO MATTER WHAT. Even if they have brains made of poo. Even if there are much much more knowledgeable people out there. If they aren’t loyalists, ignore them.

    It is the unifying theory of wingnuttia. Loyalty above all else. It is the root of practically every disaster the modern GOP has caused.

  13. 13
    Egilsson says:

    What are John’s countertops made of?

  14. 14
    The Conservative Deflator says:

    Do you suppose Hinderaker will attend the Nobel ceremony when Krugman receives the Nobel prize for Economics? Better yet, do you suppose Hinderaker will have the courage and maturity to write a mea culpa column, admitting he was wrong about the housing bubble? Of course not!

    Being a right-winger means never admitting you are wrong or saying that you are sorry.

  15. 15
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    What are John’s countertops made of?

    Let’s push aside the empties and see!

  16. 16
    Zifnab says:

    @Nylund: And its made all the more laughable when the brigades of haters announce that the Nobel is just getting handed off to another liberal, just like Al Gore. :-p

    You read some of the right wing blogs and you might get the idea that Krugman, Gore, Soros, and the Nobel Comity were all in a secret room plotting how to trick the public into Super Socialism. These guys no absolutely nothing except how to cheerlead for their party.

  17. 17
    Liberaltarian says:

    It has to do with competence.

  18. 18
    qwerty42 says:

    I believe it will actually get worse. At DemStrategist, James Vega has a post suggesting themes to look for:

    1. That Barack Obama is not only actually a secret radical/terrorist sympathizer but that there has been a vast and concerted conspiracy by “the mainstream media filter” to hide this truth from voters.

    2. That leading Dems including Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and Harry Reed are the primary culprits in the current financial crisis

    3. That primarily Black “goons and hooligans” are going to steal the election.

    these may sound absurd now, but remember that Clinton murdered Vince Forster and all the other crazy things from the 90’s…

    John McCain will be villified, and the loss will be his fault (this might be extended to Bush), because he wasn’t a "true" conservative. Needless to say, the "conservatism" they endorse requires a fact-free world.

  19. 19
    jonas says:

    To the boys at PowerLine:

  20. 20
    Comrade Jake says:

    Here’s Powerline, today:

    In the New York Post, Stanley Kurtz looks for the origins of the current financial crisis and finds them in the activities of ACORN, and Barack Obama, dating back to the mid-1990s:

    Read it all. One of the common themes of modern American history is that liberals will create a problem by ill-advised government action, then benefit from it politically by proposing ever more intrusive government action to solve it. That appears to be happening again in connection with today’s credit crisis.

    Well, I’m sure they’ve got it right this time. I mean, what’s the other possibility? That they’re full of shit?

  21. 21
    Cap'n Phealy says:

    Krugman will have to come up with something much better, I think, to cause many others to share his pessimism.

    Mission Accomplished!

  22. 22
    Liberaltarian says:

    Here’s a notion of why a man beats his wife: because he can. The push back against what the right was doing to Clinton was pathetic, practically non existent. If these goons do to Obama what they did to Clinton, then it will be because we let them do it. Some things have to be confronted, even when the victim won’t do it for themselves.

    They were wrong to do what they did to Clinton. We know their game and their rules. If we refuse to play, then the game doesn’t get started. We need to scorn/shun them when they start pitching their hissy fit–no time like the present to get started.

    Let them cry persecution. Some movements need squelching.

  23. 23

    It is the unifying theory of wingnuttia. Loyalty above all else. It is the root of practically every disaster the modern GOP has caused.

    This is precisely the reason that the Mafia/La Cosa Nostra crops up as an apt analogy in political science undergrad courses. The Godfather was (and still may be) required reading in 1st year poli-sci survey courses because the culture of the Mob so closely resembles that of the political partisan. When Booosh ratfucked McStain in 2000, it was ‘just business.’ Both understood it.

  24. 24
    Zifnab says:

    The push back against what the right was doing to Clinton was pathetic, practically non existent. If these goons do to Obama what they did to Clinton, then it will be because we let them do it.

    Clinton was a Democrat walking into office in the middle of a Republican Dynasty. He wanted to be the next Lyndon Johnson while half the country had a hard on for Ronald Reagen. And as the Republicans upped their trash talking and smear-mongering, Clinton’s popularity only grew. Bill Clinton could have retired a left-wing hero and modern progressive champion if he’d just kept his dick in his pants. What he did, he did entirely to himself.

    Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton. I have confidence in his ability to maintain self-control, no matter how many pudgy beret-wearing interns saunter through the White House halls. And I think the nation will grow to love Obama as much as they loved Clinton in the waning days of his Presidency. If the GOP tars Obama like they did Clinton, it can only be because Obama decided to commit political suicide of his own accord.

  25. 25
    OniHanzo says:

    If the GOP tars Obama like they did Clinton, it can only be because Obama decided to commit political suicide of his own accord.

    Which is not likely. If Obama and his campaign have proven anything, it is that you have to smash the wingnut demagoguery before it get its media legs.

    All they’ve got is bluster and melodrama that Must Be Taken Seriously. Outside of it… pure vapor.

  26. 26
    jambo says:

    Or, you have a guy who not only has a Ph.D. in economics from a top school, but a guy who revolutionized his field of economics, making him one of the most well-respected economists in his field. A guy who wrote some of the most amazing economics papers of the last 30 years, some of which they force every grad student to read because they are so damn good.

    And of course, as of this morning, the Nobel Prize in economics. But I guess those guys are socialists so it doesn’t really count.

  27. 27

    The fRightwing in a wingNut shell: Desperate to remain relevant; desperately afraid of reality.

    Or maybe not. Maybe they’re just a bunch of socially inept jackasses who can only communicate by contradiction. You say: "I like chocolate ice cream." The fRighty says: "Eww, gross! Strawberry is much better." and so on. These are the same people who gave us commercials singing the praises of carbon monoxide because Al Gore and his evil minions dared to suggest smog is a bad thing. And people who know better nod their heads in agreement, just so they can disagree with someone else.

  28. 28
    forty2 says:

    People still read Powerline? I’d forgotten all about Assrocket and Big Cock.

  29. 29
    Liberaltarian says:

    Zifnab: so Clinton brought on that abuse by having a consensual affair, right??? That’s what you are saying. That the only thing that ever happened to the Clintons was the Lewinsky scandal. Their friends were not persecuted, Ken Starr never put anyone in prison to get them to testify against the Clintons. They never paid sleazy creeps in Arkansas a whole lotta money to make up stories about drug running and murder.

    I was pissed at Clinton for giving them something real, as pissed as anyone. But, that’s like saying a woman who wore a pretty dress deserved to get beaten by her jealous husband. Or, that the abusive dad is just trying to impose structure on his children.

    Obama is not perfect–he is going to do something that we will all be mad at him for. He might even, gasp, show a personal failing! It’s bullshit. I gotta tell ya, I’m a little disappointed you can’t tell the difference.

  30. 30
    Zifnab says:

    @Liberaltarian:

    Zifnab: so Clinton brought on that abuse by having a consensual affair, right???

    That’s absolutely right. A lot of politicians have taken a quick fall down a long flight of political stairs over consensual sex with willing adults performed out of wedlock.

    The drug charges and the murder theories and the rape stories never stuck against the Clintons – assuming their poll numbers were any reflection – but the Monica-gate charge landed a solid blow and canceled out Clinton’s ability to lend full incumbency power to Al Gore.

    But, that’s like saying a woman who wore a pretty dress deserved to get beaten by her jealous husband.

    No. It’s like saying a woman who runs for political office and shows up to a town hall naked deserves getting her ass handed to her at the polls.

  31. 31
    Cris v.3.1 says:

    Congratulations, John — and praise to Annette and crew at HostingMatters — looks like the new server is withstanding another GOS attack.

  32. 32
    lane says:

    JT said and I can’t reiterate the head explosions of bush worship

    It’s so wrong…

  33. 33

    […] I’m Reading Great Moments in Right-Wing Punditry (via Powerline, 8 Aug 2005): It must be depressing to be Paul Krugman. No matter how well the […]

  34. 34

    Kudos JC. This post is now near the top of Memeorandum.

  35. 35
  36. 36
  37. 37
    AndrewBW says:

    Don’t forget that James Glassman’s co-author on "Dow 36,000" was Kevin Hassett, now a senior economic adviser to the McCain campaign.

  38. 38
    Delia says:

    I think I have a celebrity crush on Paul Krugman. I even forgive him for supporting Hillary for so long. I read and trusted him for years on the housing bubble and I knew the big crash was coming, while people who knew more about economics than I do were dismissing it all. I got out of the SoCal housing market when it was still riding high, and I made my mother renegotiate out of one of those bad mortgages several years ago.

    Besides, he’s so nice and unassuming whenever he appears as the resident expert on KO’s or Rachel’s shows. So hey, once in a while intelligence and niceness win, while general asshattery lose. Let’s hope it’s a trend.

  39. 39
    Peter Principle says:

    At DemStrategist, James Vega has a post suggesting themes to look for:

    1. That Barack Obama is not only actually a secret radical/terrorist sympathizer but that there has been a vast and concerted conspiracy by “the mainstream media filter” to hide this truth from voters.

    2. That leading Dems including Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and Harry Reed are the primary culprits in the current financial crisis

    3. That primarily Black “goons and hooligans” are going to steal the election.

    these may sound absurd now

    Absurd, yes. But you don’t have to look for these talking points because they’re already saying them.

    "The restlessness, suspicion and fear shown in various phases of the pseudo-conservative revolt give evidence of the anguish which the pseudo-conservative experiences in his capacity as citizen. He believes himself to be living in a world in which he is spied upon, plotted against, betrayed, and very likely destined for total ruin."

    Richard Hofstader
    The Paranoid Style in American Politics
    1963

  40. 40

    @Joseph Weisenthal:
    And once again the the nonsensical argument that the FM’s were somehow contributors to this problem. During the time in question the FM’s actually cut their exposure to sub-prime mortgage loans in half. It should also be pointed out that the FM’s purchased bundled mortgage instruments. They DID NOT make the loans themselves. So I find little, if anything to applaud, in the so-called acknowledgment of the earlier post now being derided, and rightfully so, by Krugman’s supporters.

  41. 41
    Dave says:

    Wasn’t this all about the time that McCain and other Republicans were warning that Fannie/Freddie were a time bomb waiting to go off?

    You’d think Krugman would have made the connection and supported the Republican action.

  42. 42
    howard appel says:

    I just emailed Hinderaker:

    Mr. Hinderaker:

    I would like to join in with, what I am sure, are the many thousands of persons who are congratulating you on your unparalleled perspicacity in so accurately and completely dissecting Paul Krugman’s economic analysis (if something so shoddy can be called analysis) set forth in his column of August 8, 2005.

    Your comment that "Krugman’s description of the housing bubble is amusing for what it reveals about how Krugman views the country" so definitively captures why the liberal elite will never be able to truly understand how the American economy functions, at least under a republican administration led by a genius such as George W. Bush (I refer of course to your column of July 28, 2005, in which you said "It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile." How true, how true!!

    You next pointed out in respect to Krugman’s analysis that, "I don’t doubt that some people in places like San Francisco and San Diego have paid too much for their houses. But it isn’t clear, and Krugman doesn’t even try to explain, why that constitutes a bubble or why level or declining home prices in selected areas around the country will somehow imperil the economy."

    History has shown that you were indeed correct. There has not been a housing bubble and, even if there was one or there were some isolated instances of level or declining home prices in some areas, it clearly has not affected the overall economy. Afterall, as Senator McCain and President Bush have repeatedly said, the American economy is fundamentally strong.

    Lastly, you noted in your complete destruction of Krugman’s argument that, "[T]here are, of course, obvious differences between houses and stocks. Most people own only one house at a time [excepting Senator McCain], and transaction costs make it impractical to buy and sell houses the way you buy and sell stocks. Krugman thinks the fact that James Glassman doesn’t buy the bubble theory is evidence in its favor, but if you read Glassman’s article on the subject, you’ll see that he actually makes some of the same points that Krugman does. But he argues, persuasively in my view, that there is little reason to fear a catastrophic collapse in home prices.

    Krugman will have to come up with something much better, I think, to cause many others to share his pessimism."

    Mr. Hinderaker, thankfully for America, no one else shares Mr. Krugman’s pessimism and he, along with his liberal economic theories, have been completely discredited, due in large part to your heroic efforts.

    Please accept a well done and the thanks of a grateful nation.

  43. 43

    […] (Here is an column he wrote three years ago about the housing bubble that was pilloried by the right wing echo chamber.) […]

  44. 44
    Sunny says:

    Here you go sir. The free world has taken the time to make you a sandwhich out of your own words. Enjoy eating it. I believe Dr. Krugman took liberty to spend some of his Nobel earnings to add a bit of salt to it.

    Hope you like it.

  45. 45

    Which just goes to show, republicans have never had more than hyperbole in their arsenal, all these years. Don’t we all feel better, now?

  46. 46
    Zone52 says:

    Time Ragazine’s Blog of the Year!

    When are we gonna rub some shit in their faces?

  47. 47
    Psyberian says:

    Fantastic Post! Thank you.

  48. 48
    whocoodanode says:

    "That would be only human."

    That’s why you are loved, John, because you are human. Not everyone is.

  49. 49
    Steve J. says:

    AR (Hinderaker) back in May referred with approval to a then recent Investor’s Business Daily editorial –

    Bashers Beware
    By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY Posted Monday, May 19, 2008 4:20 PM PT

    On the economy, there are indications the sun is coming out after a fairly mild economic storm. More data are showing a recession will be avoided, and it looks like a new bull market in stocks began in March after a short and shallow bear.

  50. 50
    nicethugbert says:

    Ya’ll jus jeluze cuz Hindraker is a Master of the Universe an ya’ll jus pathetically reality based. Damn left-nuts!

  51. 51
    Kevin Hayden says:

    If the Fairness Doctrine existed in the political blog world, Powerline would draw all the objective gravitas accorded the John Birch Society in 1968.

    That they were ever accorded prominence as opinionators by any MSM outlet has always been proof positive that some in the so-called ‘mainstream’ press consider the average American news consumer to have the IQ of a pleather hassock.

    And expecting Powerline’s authors to have the capacity to recognize that fire is hot or water is wet indicates how so many have fallen asleep during Fantasy Isle reruns and are only now just emerging from a dream sequence.

    Simply put, there is no Powerline, Virginia. It was a Clifford Irving invention. And we’ve all been in suspended animation for the past 28 years.

  52. 52

    John,
    The only thing above with which I disagree strongly is this:

    Considering my recent past (at least up until mid 2005), I am not really in a position to get all high and mighty ….

    No, John, precisely because you have shown the ability to take stock, re-examine assumptions, and change your mind based on the evidence, you are in a fine position to be as high and mighty as you please vis-a-vis the likes of Assrocket.

  53. 53
    Paolo says:

    When you sleep with a cult… you wake up brainwashed.

    I am referring to the GOP’s current love affair with the Moonies.

  54. 54
    noncarborundum says:

    Instead, they plunge ever forward, pig-ignorant and carefree, completely sure of themselves (which explains why they love Palin so much, who embodies the same qualities).

    Not that I disagree, but hey, did you just compare Sarah Palin to a pig? Them’s fightin’ words where she comes from. Just you wait till she gets her lipstick on.

  55. 55
    boxofrain says:

    @Zifnab:

    You almost had it, but then you had to use the word "deserve" in your last sentence. I’m afraid I’m going to have to agree with Liberaltarian when they say that you muddle the issue, at least in your words if not in your heart.

    We need to be mindful of the difference between what is principled and what is practical. Liberaltarian is making the point that the attacks on Clinton weren’t principled: he should be allowed to do what he did. You’re saying that his actions weren’t practical: they cost him dearly. You’re both right. I think you understand this. But, "deserve" is a word loaded with moral implications. As such, it’s not clear that you mean "accepting the prohibition on public nudity is regretable but politically necessary"; instead, it’s easy to think you’re agreeing with the prohibition in principle.

  56. 56
    Joe The Plumber says:

    An Open Letter to Paul Krugman

    Dear Paul:

    Forgive my rudeness in calling you by your first name. I have been reading your writings in New York Times, Slate and other fine publications for years. I even read your book "The Conscience of a Liberal." I have gotten to know you so well that, I feel, we could be on a first name basis. Besides, if we are to create a class-less, hierarchy-free society, calling you Professor Krugman would instantly create a deplorable hierarchy — perhaps falsely indicating that you might know more about economics than I do. We simply cannot encourage such elitist hubris.

    Now that we have established that in our class-less Utopian society everybody’s opinion is equally valid, I am compelled to offer you mine about what you should do about that Nobel Prize thingie. Hopefully, you will take my advise a bit more seriously than that damnable Bush-Cheney administration has taken yours.

    Paul, as a matter of principle, you should reject that Nobel Prize.

    That’s right. You should just flat-out tell those Swedes that you don’t want that prize. It just wouldn’t be the right thing to do, considering your progressive ideals.

    First of all, it’s just not fair that only you should get this prize this year when there are hundreds of thousands of other economists in this world. Honoring only one person in this way is a totally non-egalitarian thing to do. Either we should honor them all or none at all. We are fighting for equality and justice in this society; not giving Nobel Prize to everyone creates Haves and Have-nots, and we just can’t tolerate that.

    Second of all, a white man like you getting the prize — again! — is racist and sexist to the max. I just checked out the list of laureates in economics since 1969 and almost all of them are white men!! (There were two names — Amartya Sen and Arthur Lewis — who appeared to be non-white, but that just proves tokenism, you know! It has never been awarded to a woman.) Why do we see heterosexual, white men chosen so often? Why don’t we ever see any black lesbians getting this prize? Paul, I want you to make a statement against this institutional racism and sexism; and reject this symbol of discrimination and marginalization.

    Third of all, the amount of money — $1.4 million — that Riksbank is offering is obscene. Who deserves that kind of money anyway, when coal miners in third world countries — many of them barely 14 years old — don’t make even $30 per month — and they are the ones risking their lives every day! As you have pointed out in your writings, the gap between the rich and the poor is rapidly widening. You getting that $1.4 million will only make the situation worse. I know you are a man of principles. If you wanted to make millions you could have easily chosen a crass and tasteless career, something like a Wall Street CDO structurer. I mean, you certainly had the brains. And the right pigmentation. And the right pair of chromosomes. But, no. You instead chose the noble profession of teaching. You have worked long and hard to build your moral authority; don’t destroy it in a nano-second by succumbing to the temptation of money. Love of money is the root of all evil. If you accept this monstrously large sum of money, you will forever lose all moral authority to talk about the unfairness and inequality in the society. If you lose that moral authority, who will rail against all the greed and injustice in this increasingly oligarchic society? Who will stand up to corporate plutocrats? Those damnable conservatives tried to drag your name through mud when the news came out that your worked as a consultant for an advisory board for Enron. I am pretty sure that you handled the conflicts of interest in the Enron affair adequately, but why hand your critics further fuel now to blow-torch your reputation? Should your reputation get tarnished, who, pray tell, will be our champion? Who will battle evil media-types like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh?

    Fourth of all, the selection process employed by Riksbank was neither transparent nor democratic. I mean, I never got to vote on that decision! What right does Riksbank have to hand out this prize without getting the people involved? It might be Riksbank’s money, but we the people should have the final say in how it gets doled out. But no. Riksbank doesn’t want to do the morally correct thing. They want to exclude everybody but their pals from the decision-making process. This is just like Dick Cheney and his buddies cutting back-room deals to divvy-up Iraq spoils. It smells of favoritism; it smells of cronyism; it just stinks. Paul, would you ever go hunting with Cheney and his buddies? If the answer is no, then please don’t accept the prize that was bestowed by this elitist and exclusionary committee.

    Fifth of all, the prize sends a wrong message to the society. We agree that you worked hard all your life. You went to MIT, you got your Ph.D. You didn’t drop acid like some bozos in the 70s. (At least, a quick googling on your name didn’t turn up any such dirt.) You were studying your ass off while others were partying like crazy. Now you got the Nobel Prize and they don’t. That’s just not fair. Do you know what message it sends? That if you work hard in life, you can achieve things that others can’t! That’s a nasty and brutish message to send. Conservatives say things like that, not liberals like you! Radicals of the right believe in this "every man to himself" bullshit (and they don’t even apologize for the non-PC nature of the phrase), not enlightened progressives like you!! Defenders of inequality believe in this myth about individualistic bootstrapping, not a seasoned class warrior like you!!!

    Sixth of all, the prize perpetuates the shameful legacy of colonization and imperialism. Almost all of the laureates have been from the first-world countries. Don’t you know that the vast majority of humanity lives in third-world countries. To systematically exclude people from poor countries from participating in the intellectual dialogue means further polarization. If people from third-world countries don’t win such prizes often enough, what kind of role models will kids there have growing up? Won’t they fall prey to false prophets? No wonder religious radicalization is rampant in countries from Somalia to Afghanistan. Paul, by the mere act of accepting this prize you will be promoting global terrorism. And many of these terrorists also subjugate women. So you will be participating in women’s subjugation too.

    Seventh of all, you accepting this prize will lead to global warming. You and your loved ones will be traveling to Stockholm in an airplane that will be consuming hydrocarbons — yes the same hydrocarbons that pollute the environment and prop up the dictatorial regimes. Now, you could ask Al Gore about how many carbon offsets that you will need to buy for your flight to Stockholm — and he should know for sure — but that still won’t make it morally acceptable in the current economic environment. Just when millions of people worldwide are losing their jobs due to the worsening credit crunch, Nobel prize-winners feasting on a sumptuous dinner makes for a sad spectacle. Why don’t we just take the money that will be spent on your travel and spend it on installing solar panels in Sub-Saharan Africa instead? That will allow the disadvantaged African children to power up their One-Laptop-Per-Child laptops and that should go a long way towards bridging the digital divide. Isn’t that what we liberals should want, after all?

    To summarize, by accepting this Nobel Prize you will promote racism, sexism and inequality; suppress democracy; encourage terrorism; subjugate women; and cause global warming. Paul, I want you to stand up for your liberal values and reject this prize. If you do that, you will be a bigger hero for your liberal fans who read your newspaper columns so lovingly. With one act of sacrifice, you will enhance the moral authority of the liberal philosophy that puts people first and money last. Liberals will rejoice and celebrate. Given your passion for reducing inequality, you will be a shoo-in for the newly created post of the Wealth Redistribution Czar under the Obama administration.

    Paul, after all my exhortations against doing so, it’s still your decision to make. If you decide to go ahead and accept the prize, I will understand. I mean, $1.4 million is a lot of dough to walk away from. Besides, aren’t moral principles all relative to begin with? And since when has hypocrisy become such a big crime?

    If you accept the prize, you will be richer by several hundred thousand dollars even after paying taxes at the top marginal rate. I know you have often said that the rich don’t pay enough in taxes. Paul, this will be your shining moment to do things differently. Unlike other rich people, I am sure, you will write an extra check to the US Treasury because you believe, in the heart of your hearts, that the marginal tax rate on the rich should be higher. You will show your critics that you are a man of principles who puts his money where is mouth is — even though you came up somewhat short of your ideals in accepting the prize in the first place. A couple of hundred thousand dollars that you would voluntarily contribute to the US Treasury, in addition to your obligatory taxes, would go a long way towards paying for the universal health-care program. We are the only rich country in the world that doesn’t have that health-care safety net. While we are on the topic of single payer universal health-care system, let me tell you how eagerly I am awaiting the arrival of such a system. It wouldn’t come a day sooner for me. Recently, my immoral and greedy insurance company refused to pay for my bariatric surgery — they want me to exercise instead. Imagine their gall in holding me responsible for my own health! I don’t like to exercise and, frankly, I shouldn’t have to. I would rather watch Oprah in my free time — which I have a lot of since I don’t like to work much either. Paul, don’t you agree that it’s my fundamental right to get a free bariatric surgery? And all those rich people should be taxed more to pay for it. Furthermore, the cost of my bariatric surgery is such an infinitesimally small fraction of the funds that go to the military-industrial complex. Rather than wasting money on propping up dictators and tyrants around the world, it’s time we started investing in America and my bariatric surgery is a fine place to start as any other.

    Now we come to the topic that is near and dear to your heart. You have talked passionately about a need to promote a broadly shared prosperity. You will be happy to know that there are others who agree with you whole-heartedly and would love to share in your new-found prosperity. Even after paying for all the taxes and whatnot, you will still be left with a lot of money. Please take a look around — there are others in the society who will have much less. They certainly deserve your help. The case in point – your’s truly. I bought a house in New Jersey — not that far from yours — at the height of the housing bubble. My real estate agent told me that housing prices always go up and I believed him. Then the evil bank people lent me the money when they knew I will never be able to make the mortgage payments once the teaser rate expires. That’s what I call predatory lending and the regulators did nothing to protect me from these greedy and evil bankers. I am truly a victim of this lending fraud. Unlike Senator Chris Dodd I was never invited to be part of "Friends of Angelo" VIP clientele program and therefore never got a sweetheart deal on my mortgage. Paul, I am asking you — no I am begging you — to help out your fellow being who is down on his luck. I will drive my hybrid car to your house to collect the cash. Even a little bit would help. I am upside down on my home for $100,000. If you could just take care of that little deficit, I can start building equity in my home. After all, I too deserve to live the American Dream.

    Love and peace!

    Sincerely,

    Joe "The New Jersey Plumber"
    joe-the-plumber [at] gmx.com

  57. 57
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    Shorter Joe the Plumber: Ignore the fact that I make less than $40,000.00 a year and that I was lying about buying the plumbing business, can I have some of your money? There’s this business opportunity I am looking at and…
     
    Hey! Did I tell you about the book offer I have an agent trying to sell? He told me that wingnuts are dumb enough to buy something as boring as that and they will turn out in droves to do it! Granted, it will be a thin book but he said that he could get someone like Rush to write the foreword and that will satisfy the wingnuts.

    No shit? Good luck with that.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] (Here is an column he wrote three years ago about the housing bubble that was pilloried by the right wing echo chamber.) […]

  2. […] I’m Reading Great Moments in Right-Wing Punditry (via Powerline, 8 Aug 2005): It must be depressing to be Paul Krugman. No matter how well the […]

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