Open Thread: Professor Krugman Is Really Tired of This…

paul krugman is tired
(D.B. Echo at Another Monkey)

The network suits may have to put a time-delay on the Sunday morning bobblehead shows, because the good Professor is losing his patience with hacks and idiots:

As I’ve written on previous occasions, the Bernie Madoff phenomenon helped me understand a lot about the persistence of bad economics. Madoff flourished through “affinity fraud”; his investors thought he was their kind of guy, so they didn’t look hard at how he was allegedly making money. And I realized that a similar phenomenon explains the enduring popularity of goldbugs and fiscal doomsayers — including, say, the Wall Street Journal editorial page — despite years of being wrong about everything; their devotees, who consist in large part of cranky old white men, see kindred spirits and can’t see past that to the consistently terrible analysis.

But it’s not just the goldbugs who benefit from affinity fraud, a point driven home by Ezra Klein’s piece on Alan Simpson. Simpson is, demonstrably, grossly ignorant on precisely the subjects on which he is treated as a guru, not understanding the finances of Social Security, the truth about life expectancy, and much more …

So what is it that makes Simpson the figure he is? Clearly, it’s an affinity thing: never mind his obvious lack of knowledge, his ludicrous track record, reporters trust and idolize Simpson because he’s their kind of guy.

And think about what it says about them that their kind of guy is this cantankerous, potty-mouthed individual, who evidently feels not a bit of empathy for those less fortunate.

And, on the NYT op-ed page, “Sequester of Fools“:

…As always, many pundits want to portray the deadlock over the sequester as a situation in which both sides are at fault, and in which both should give ground. But there’s really no symmetry here. A middle-of-the-road solution would presumably involve a mix of spending cuts and tax increases; well, that’s what Democrats are proposing, while Republicans are adamant that it should be cuts only. And given that the proposed Republican cuts would be even worse than those set to happen under the sequester, it’s hard to see why Democrats should negotiate at all, as opposed to just letting the sequester happen.

So here we go. The good news is that compared with our last two self-inflicted crises, the sequester is relatively small potatoes. A failure to raise the debt ceiling would have threatened chaos in world financial markets; failure to reach a deal on the so-called fiscal cliff would have led to so much sudden austerity that we might well have plunged back into recession. The sequester, by contrast, will probably cost “only” around 700,000 jobs….

Today, back on his blog:

… The point is that a large part of the reason we’re locked into such a mess is careerism. And yes, that’s quite vile, if you think about it: politicians and pundits alike letting the world burn — probably unconsciously, but still — because their personal position would be hurt if they admitted to past mistakes.

Assuming “we” survive this perfect economic shit-storm, nobody is going to be able to tell the next generation that “we” didn’t know what was coming. As with so many other recent disasters, “we” — the people in control — just decided that short-term careerism and a religious affiliation to discredited theories trumped the evidence of “our” senses.

55 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    I blame Republicans.

  2. 2
    Mike in NC says:

    Who’ll be popping up on the bobblehead shows tomorrow? I’ll go with John McCain, Alan Simpson, and Lindsey ‘Benghazi’ Graham.

  3. 3
    Alison says:

    One of these days, Krugman’s gonna go William Foster on us. Except with way more reason to.

  4. 4
    Mino says:

    I’m afraid we will look back on Tim Geitner as the good Treasury Secretary. Wall Street Journal takes great glee in detailing Lew’s background for the purpose of punching hippies.

  5. 5
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    Must say, every time I see that graphic I LOL.

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    Krugman’s next post

    I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter economy go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

  7. 7
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    One question should be asked to the likes of Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles and the Pete Peterson. If regular Americans are being asked to “sacrifice” on the deficit(especially throwing our senior citizens, into the dumpster) , what are the 1% doing to “sacrifice” for the common good? I have not seen jack shit from any of them.

  8. 8
    gbear says:

    While clicking around the web today, I wound up on the WaPo home page. At the top was a link to an editorial about how the sequester was ALL OBAMA’S IDEA. I bailed immediately.

  9. 9
    22over7 says:

    Considering what’s happening in Europe right now, the situation is not looking good. The bankers want the money that they lost by theft and by making stupid investments, and they don’t care if the world burns to get it. They want all the money.

    And the governments are abetting them.

  10. 10
    Walker says:

    @Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason:

    What the hell is the original image? Does anyone know?

  11. 11
    efgoldman says:

    Fifty years from now, Krugman will be recognized as the genius he is, and historians will wonder what the fuck our “leaders” could possibly have been “thinking.”

  12. 12
    RobertDSC-iMac G5 says:

    @Walker:
    George Clooney in the movie Syriana.

  13. 13
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Mino: Yet, the Republicans have forced Lew to answer more written questions than every Treasury Sec. nominee since 1995 combined. What do you think happens if Obama nominated a liberal?

    If the rumored leading candidates to replace Bernanke are accurate, getting one of them confirmed is going to be a war. Krugman talked about this is a recent blog post. Same with a Supreme Court justice.

    The Republicans are nihilists, but the Village is scared to death to call them on it.

  14. 14

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    You can’t ask them to give anything up. They’re the job creators. We owe them everything. Everything we have. Everything we don’t have. Especially what we don’t have. They have it, and we owe it to them anyway. If we ask anything of them, they might get really mean.

  15. 15
    Corner Stone says:

    For some god damn reason, and maybe it’s just me, but I recall quite clearly being very vocal about these fucking assholes back when they were reanimated from the dead and pulled into head a commission on debt/deficit. It had some weird name that didn’t make a lot of sense at the time. What was it again?
    Anyway, I was told repeatedly and vehemently that there was absolutely nothing to pay attention to here because they couldn’t even form a report that could get out of the commission! So I was the asshole for telling people that these fucking haunts and poltergeists were gonna curse the Village with their eternal moaning for the rest of our natural lives.

  16. 16
    PeakVT says:

    Somewhat related: hot on the heels of his embarrassment of Brooks, Klein takes a mild-mannered but effective swipe at Bob “The Stenographer” Woodward.

  17. 17
    Mino says:

    @Hill Dweller: Maybe the Republicans are having fun punching hippies, too.

  18. 18
    Hill Dweller says:

    @gbear:

    While clicking around the web today, I wound up on the WaPo home page. At the top was a link to an editorial about how the sequester was ALL OBAMA’S IDEA. I bailed immediately.

    This is apparently Woodward’s “reporting”. TPM did a good job knocking down his bullshit, but the wingnuts are already running with it.

    For whatever reason, Woodward is actively trying to undermine Obama. It started with that shitty book(released during the election) on the debt ceiling debacle, which was three parts bullshit to one part truth, and claimed Obama was disengaged during the negotiations. Now he is out there spreading this contradictory lie about the sequester being Obama’s master plan.

    Maybe the President rightly called him a hack.

  19. 19
    RaflW says:

    Speaking of pundits who can’t admit to mistakes, after the epic Ezra-Bobo showdown yesterday, I enjoyed (and forehead-slapped) over this 2004 round of Bobo’s inability to admit error. Best he can do when confronted is to say “eh, it was a joke” or ” partially tongue-in-cheek” or “In most cases, I think the way I describe it does ring true, and in some places it doesn’t ring true.”

    What standards this man has. He’s a giant.

  20. 20
    RaflW says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Isn’t it Lindsey ‘Buggerazi’ Graham?

  21. 21
    Howard Beale IV says:

    I see Krugthulu heaving invective at Simpson, but what about Simpson’s partner in crime Bowles? What did the K-man have to say about him? Hmmmm…?

  22. 22
    Chris says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    Key word *should* be asked. We, the people, should be a lot madder. The number of regular people who still buy the “these are the Job Creators! You cannot anger them, or like an angry Hebrew God they will rain down fire and locusts on us!” infuriates me even more than the Job Creators themselves do.

  23. 23
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    what are the 1% doing to “sacrifice” for the common good?

    The other 99%. Remember, shared sacrifice means the 99% sacrifice and the 1% share in the lower tax rates.

  24. 24
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason: Seriously, right? It never gets old. Clooney, Krugman and snark in one tight package.

  25. 25
    PeakVT says:

    @Howard Beale IV: Bowles has enough self-control to not be a braying jackass, unlike his partner. He is still completely wrong, and prime example of why Conservadems are an ongoing menance to their fellow Americans. But he doesn’t go around squeezing a clown horn on a regular basis. Of course, much of our crappy media loves Fmr. Senator Crankypants (R-Dad’s seat), which shows how worthless they are.

  26. 26
    General Stuck says:

    Good for Krugman, to make himself useful other than wimpering about Obama this and Obama that.

  27. 27
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    As Rachel Maddow said a couple weeks ago, there’s a huge gap between the public, who in the vast majority think Social Security and Medicare are hugely successful programs that should be preserved, and the Village, who think of them as the Social Safety hammock, a problem that needs to be fixed. It’s the biggest gap between the voters and the elite that I’ve seen since the Great Clenis Trauma.

  28. 28
    Hill Dweller says:

    The latest proposal from Simpson and Bowles is being laughed at.

    Also too, Ron Fournier is resorting to Nixon analogies on the twitter machine because the Obama admin is hammering Woodward for willfully misleading people in his WaPo article.

  29. 29
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Hill Dweller: This Ron Fournier, whom Karl Rove considered a confidante and informal advisor? That Ron Fournier, who thought the invasion of Iraq was the work of the Lord? There are too many examples of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy to say that Fournier is the epitome of said bankruptcy, but he’ll do as well as any of the others.

  30. 30
    ericblair says:

    Krugman’s right about Madoff and affinity fraud, but that’s only half the story; it’s the cult of insiderism. I’m pretty sure that most of Madoff’s marks that weren’t complete mental vegetables knew something wasn’t right with this, but they figured that Madoff was ripping off someone else to get those returns. Similarly, the goldbugs and doomsayers and most every identifiable faction figures that they’ve got the inside track and will be laughing it up while the rest of us suckers burn. Everybody thinks they’re the smart ones.

  31. 31
    General Stuck says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    I can’t stand Woodward. He deserves hammering, and has for a long time. The dude is example one on what is wrong with the DC Village press.

  32. 32
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @efgoldman:
    Racism. Whether or not they are right, that is what they will say, period. They’re historians. The election of the first black president is a historic event. The party that coddles racism went batshit. That will be the connection obvious to them.

  33. 33
    Hill Dweller says:

    @General Stuck: Klein smacked down Woodward’s bullshit, too. Both Brooks and Woodward in a span of three days. Not bad.

  34. 34
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: The 1% are sacrificing by Creating Jobs, even though they don’t need more employees. Or, wait, by not Creating Jobs, so their sales are down. Or, wait .. wha?

    Rest assured, they’re sacrificing. We just don’t have what it takes to Understand.

  35. 35
    Dmbeaster says:

    @ericblair: Actualy, the goldbugs and other forms of grifters don’t care about being on the inside track. Like poker, they play the man, not the cards. They do not concern themselves with being right about anything except being right about how they play their marks.

  36. 36
    General Stuck says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    The asshole’s entire case is from a couple of staffers off the record to what happened. He has all but accused Jack Lew of lying under oath to congress when Lew countered Woodwards story. It kind of has the feel of a setup by the O crew, kind a.

  37. 37
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Hill Dweller: I read Young Ezra’s post and then proceeded to read some of the comments while eating dinner. After reading the comments, I feel somewhat dyspeptic and feel like I need to start drinking again.

  38. 38
    Corner Stone says:

    @ericblair:

    I’m pretty sure that most of Madoff’s marks that weren’t complete mental vegetables knew something wasn’t right with this, but they figured that Madoff was ripping off someone else to get those returns. Similarly, the goldbugs and doomsayers and most every identifiable faction figures that they’ve got the inside track and will be laughing it up while the rest of us suckers burn. Everybody thinks they’re the smart ones.

    Well, yeah. When you plot a chart of ROI and it’s an unbroken straight arrow moving up as it moves to the right edge it’s pretty obvious.
    But they all thought they weren’t “that guy” that would be left paying for the party.
    If Bernie could’ve just fucked enough Joe The Plumbers to cover the investments made by his rich friends he would be in La Jolla right now, sponsoring studies of aquamarine creatures and a pillar of the community.

  39. 39
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @Corner Stone:
    And those people were right in every way, so..,?

    In hindsight, Simpson and Bowles got jack shit they wanted and the media loved austerity before and after them exactly equally. We were right and you were wrong, so…?

  40. 40
    patroclus says:

    @PeakVT: Woodward is not merely a “stenographer;” he’s the epitome of a “hagiographical stenographer.” Back when he was Robert Redford, he was pretty cool, but he’s completely trashed his reputation ever since. Ezra’s analysis is correct – no negotiated solution to the sequester without tax increases on the wealthy has always been Obama’s position If there’s a deal, it’ll be his position; and if there isn’t a deal, it’ll remain his position. Woodward is merely repeating Republican talking points, which aren’t true to begin with and shift constantly.

  41. 41
    Hill Dweller says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: I never read comments. Even at Maddow’s or Krugman’s site, I skip the comments. It’s better for my health.

  42. 42
    Corner Stone says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: You were right in what way, exactly? Like The Mummy, this nonsense has sucked all the air out of the room when considering real life.
    Unless you think The Village is real life. Then, kudos to you sir. Kudos.

    You seem to be too stupid to get what’s happening here.

  43. 43
    General Stuck says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    What Simpson Bowles did was create a record, or mosaic on what both sides really want, and what they won’t accept. It provided a snapshot of the arguments for an extended debate over entitlements that has been raging since they were enacted. And that is pretty much its only use.

    What is fascinating is the sequester from being drawn as across the board for modest cuts without case by case scrutiny, that has given form for actual consequences of austerity and slashing programs with a dull knife.

    An education that the public can judge for themselves on the real world effects of what government does for them, and that republicans are dangerous to that element of government backstops and safety nets.

    I don’t know if Obama planned it that way, but I think he is grinning big at the result so far and into the future. Something that lets some wind out of the notion that wingnut small government produces victims in real life. All he has to do is be willing to fix it with popular tax increases for the wealthy. And watch the wingnuts squirm.

  44. 44
    General Stuck says:

    You seem to be too stupid to get what’s happening here.

    Republican banana being peeled.

  45. 45
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Of course the Village wants Social Security fixed (In the same sense that you take a dog to the vet to get fixed.) because they don’t need the money. Once a pundit has been vocally wrong long enough his or her pundit status becomes a lifetime sinecure. They’re freed from the vicissitudes of reporting or of knowing the first fucking thing about the subjects on which they declaim. They can pundit right up to the day of their deaths, writing their screeds from home and attending more parties than editorial meetings. And even if they’ve been wrong every time, a feature – not a bug, whatever they dribble out demands Serious Consideration.

  46. 46
    muddy says:

    @Corner Stone: Moist von Lipwig had their number.

  47. 47

    @Roger Moore: “We are the sacrifice.”

    Kraw!

  48. 48
    xian says:

    this is all reminding me a bit of how Jerry Brown made it clear we needed to tax the rich a bit more or make a bunch of cuts.

  49. 49
    handsmile says:

    Turning on the Balloon Juice machine after returning home from a Saturday night’s entertainment (a concert and dinner, thanks for asking), to find this thread on the conquering Krgthulu.

    This is part of what I wrote Saturday afternoon on AL’s earlier “We’re Winning” thread, in response to Krugman’s blogpost, “Little Statesmen and Philosophers” (last link above):

    “Krgthulu as essential and gimlet-eyed as ever. But I sense an intensifying exasperation, born out of post-election disbelief or despair, in both his NYT columns and his more casual blogposts. He’s a beacon for many and yet a target for so many more.”

    Also too, fashionable contemporary philosoper Slavoj Zizek has adapted the image above (from the film Syriana, but made famous with the Krugman caption) for the cover of this most recent book, The Year of Dreaming Dangerously.

    http://www.amazon.com/Year-Dre.....038;sr=1-2

    Any Zizek devotees hereabouts? Not one myself, I must admit, but my goodness, he’s a prominent figure in certain academic and cultural spheres.

  50. 50
    Karl says:

    @22over7: …except for Iceland.

  51. 51
    mouse tolliver says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    One question should be asked to the likes of Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles and the Pete Peterson. If regular Americans are being asked to “sacrifice” on the deficit(especially throwing our senior citizens, into the dumpster) , what are the 1% doing to “sacrifice” for the common good? I have not seen jack shit from any of them.

    Jobs.

    Their answer would be jobs.

    According to them, the 1% are the job creators.

    In Sunday Pundit World, the 1% create jobs like mothers express milk. They create jobs out of the goodness of their hearts in order to sustain a life other than their own.

    Of course, we all know that in the real world, the 1% creates jobs to enrich themselves. Because their businesses couldn’t function without workers who are paid to, y’know, do the actual work that’s required to keep a lucrative business going.

  52. 52
    TS says:

    @efgoldman:

    Fifty years from now, Krugman will be recognized as the genius he is, and historians will wonder what the fuck our “leaders” could possibly have been “thinking.”

    Your 50 years is my 2 weeks – and your “leaders” should read “republican party”

  53. 53
    chopper says:

    @General Stuck: the media was going to go all-in on austerity and cuts. BS took the lead early and by the time guys like paul ryan ran for the white house on similar ideas it had already been considered and it was old news.

  54. 54
    Matt says:

    politicians and pundits alike letting the world burn — probably unconsciously, but still — because their personal position would be hurt if they admitted to past mistakes

    Krugman is being entirely too charitable here – there’s an chunk of the House whose constituents WANT the world to burn, and who selected representatives who promised to throw gasoline and matches.

  55. 55
    MrQA says:

    @Baud:

    Love it!

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