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Frank and sobering interview with Paul Krugman.
September 11, 2003 6:19 PM   Subscribe

Frank and sobering interview with Paul Krugman. Krugman: If you ask Norquist or the Heritage Foundation about where the economic and social policy intelligentsia really stands, their aim is to roll us back to Herbert Hoover or before. Norquist actually thinks that we've got to get back to before the progressive movement –- before the McKinley era, which actually is one of Karl Rove's guiding lights as well. So there's definitely an important faction in the Bush administration and in the Republican Party that really wants to unravel all of this stuff and basically wants us to go back to a situation where, if you are unlucky, and you don't have enough to eat, or you can't afford medical care, well, that's just showing that you weren't sufficiently provident. And then, for these people, there would be no social safety net whatsoever. Other people in the party, and other people in the coalition, have deluded themselves into thinking that somehow this is all going to be painless, and we're going to grow our way out of the deficit. Other people really don't care about any of that and are viewing their alliance with these people as a way to achieve their social goals -– basically roll back the revolution in social mores over the past few decades.
posted by skallas (38 comments total)

 
I heard Krugman on NPR last night and he scares the shit out of me. And I think he is correct in most of his assumptions.

It causes me to feel that I have to give as much energy, money, blood, sweat and tears as I can afford to work towards the defeat of Bush in the next election. More than ever, I feel that the Bushies are evil and that the future is at stake.
posted by Danf at 6:28 PM on September 11, 2003


The article was more interesting than your chicken little sky is falling.
posted by paleocon at 6:31 PM on September 11, 2003


Krugman is cool, I'm a faithful reader and I'd like to see him in charge of the SEC (or, in my meanest moments, Special Prosecutor with Starr-like absolute power and limitless budget to investigate the current administration) but what's with the interviewer's tone?

The man is an Emile Zola for our time...
Coming across Paul Krugman's column in the New York Times is like finding an oasis in the desert...
Interviewing Krugman was like drinking from a cool pond in 120-degree weather...

this is not an attempt to provide actual journalism, sounds more like the hormonally-fueled rant of a 15-year-old in a hot tub with Pamela Anderson.
posted by matteo at 6:38 PM on September 11, 2003


oh, and anyway Krugman mentions this Newsweek column, The Brainteaser of Deficit Math, which is quite good, too
posted by matteo at 6:43 PM on September 11, 2003


The description sounds horrifying...

if you are unlucky, and you don't have enough to eat, or you can't afford medical care, well, that's just showing that you weren't sufficiently provident.

Who the hell are these Bush(wack) people and are they themselves our punishment for electoral lethargy?

I will as well do my very best to support the Anti-Bush
posted by RubberHen at 6:43 PM on September 11, 2003


Isn't it about time for a massive grass roots movement in favor of huge tax increases?
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:51 PM on September 11, 2003


You know though, when it comes down to it, I'd rather them take this Randian position over waging wars on lies and big business/government any day....

Maybe if they DID go this route, it would expose the hypocrisy of "liberating" Iraq a little more.
posted by Espoo2 at 6:53 PM on September 11, 2003


It kind of makes me wonder: if the Norquististas are trying to do away with the redistributive functions of American government, does this stem from a belief that certain societal groups are genetically superior?

Grover Norquist: "....I don't want to abolish government, I just want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."

Shame about that 7 trillion (or so) deficit we are bequeathing, under the policies of GW Bush, to the next generation of Americans. Oh well - Life is short. Go for the gusto.
posted by troutfishing at 6:53 PM on September 11, 2003


in my meanest moments, Special Prosecutor with Starr-like absolute power and limitless budget to investigate the current administration) but what's with the interviewer's tone?

It's statements like this that fascinate me. Showing that no matter what ideology someone possesses, the seeds of fascism are always there. Just when I'm ready to agree, i see the mentality behind the rhetoric.

And this, (not indifference, not apathy, not "cool" disaffection) is why I avoid political involvement like the plague. I just figure that no matter who ends up in charge, I'd somehow wind up on the shitlist or making the general's coffee.

As a very wise man once said "Meet The New Boss, Same as the Old Boss."

Side note to the usual conservative suspects: don't even think of falling in behind me on this. I'm not your boy. You're guilty of all the same shit. You're just better at fooling the public.
posted by jonmc at 6:57 PM on September 11, 2003


Will Krugman's presentation really do more to win over the unconverted? I'd like to see us with another president real soon, and once I got into the article a ways, I was interested, but there were times when the tone was bleating and I can easily see a number of my conservative friends and acquaintances writing this off. I'm discovering that "_____ is evil" rhetoric tends to drive a number of people off, whether it's Microsoft or Bush, unless it's already something they've formed an opinion on and agree with.

Is there a better way?
posted by weston at 7:03 PM on September 11, 2003


excuse me, am I being lectured and called a fascist by the same jonmc who used to threaten physical violence to other users here, bust their teeth or something? because that didn't happen very often, even in our darkest moments as a community, the threat of violence. is that the same guy calling me a fascist?

just asking

ps your "average Joe", "voice of reason among intellectual college boys" shtick is really, really getting old.

posted by matteo at 7:03 PM on September 11, 2003


weston - I'd say that the MSNBC piece Krugman mentions demonstrates your "better way". But you know what? - blunt statements are sometimes appropriate, especially when they are used to point out out bald faced lies.
posted by troutfishing at 7:23 PM on September 11, 2003


Utter fucking bullshit: The war on terror, the prescription drug benefit, AIDS relief, the continuing war on drugs (and the related wars on South America), etc...

Would someone, anyone, produce evidence that the Bush camp and Grover Norquist substantively share an ideology? Not in word, but in deed?

Furthermore, The Krugman sycophant brigade disgusts me. Not everything he says is true. Yet a considerable portion of MeFi swallows it like pablum.
posted by trharlan at 7:30 PM on September 11, 2003


it's about TIME someone stood their ground against this facsist hypocritical dictatorship! and Danf, you're not the only one.

i don't think there's a line of anyone wanting to sniff your butt jonmc
posted by poopy at 7:33 PM on September 11, 2003


Krugman truth squad, huh? Cute, but all I see are sarcastic repetitoins of a few of Krugman's statements and saying "yeah, right" afterwards.

Not quite the bare facts, ma'am.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:35 PM on September 11, 2003


A lot of good things happened in the 1920s, although there were a couple of really bad presidents.

riveting AND factual.

But all of that now, in historical memory, is colored by the realization of what followed afterwards.

insightful.

we've looked at the news, and we sort of extrapolate the lines forward. And there's this feeling of creeping dread.

I'm sorry to hear that.
posted by clavdivs at 7:36 PM on September 11, 2003


ps your "average Joe", "voice of reason among intellectual college boys" shtick is really, really getting old.

Using a self-effacing stance I used years ago against me is equally tired. Not to mention, it dosen't even enter into this conversation, here.

the same jonmc who used to threaten physical violence to other users here, bust their teeth or something?

I lost my temper. I'm human.

excuse me, am I being lectured and called a fascist ...

You're the one publicly fantasizing about having the "absolute power" to unseat those you disagree with or dislike. makes me disinclined to trust you. And since I hear the same overheated rhetoric from ideologues of all stripes, it makes me disinclined to trust them.
posted by jonmc at 7:37 PM on September 11, 2003


yes, apparently you're the same jonmc:

Foldy, so help me god, if we were in a bar right now you'd be looking for your fucking teeth in the toilet bowl.

if, instead of lecturing others on their alleged fascism (and threatening to punch out their teeth, a most illogical threat if delivered over the Internet to people very far away from your local bar), if instead of all that crap you'd try to give some substance (like, you know, some readable links) to your comments maybe people wouldn't consider you, as you so honestly (if clumsily) wrote, a "pyschophant , amiable puching bag and pet retard".

not to mention that if you'd try to do that, your "I'm leaving this community" (false) promises would maybe be received with something other than relief, or sheer indifference

and I don't know about foldy, but if you still feel like kicking people's asses -- after unfairly calling them names -- I'm in NYC fairly often and a hundred bucks here say the teeth in the toilet bowl wouldn't be my own. if that's the only (admittedly truckdriver-ish) way you feel you can demonstrate your might

posted by matteo at 7:37 PM on September 11, 2003


I glanced at theKrugman truth squad and at number 5 I was delighted to learn that the budget deficit was "hyped"---??? as for the budget office, Krugman demonstrated in his TV interview how those numbers are played with. After just a random look, enough for the Truth Squad.
posted by Postroad at 7:40 PM on September 11, 2003


troutfishing: thanks. I'd say that piece is absolutely worth reading to anyone who skipped it. Much higher on analysis and lower on personal attack.
posted by weston at 7:40 PM on September 11, 2003


Although I have to agree that the introduction to the interview was embarrassingly sophomoric, the interview itself was excellent (if a questionable post to the front page).

Everyone with half a clue knows by now that the Bushites are flushing America down the toilet, though. What was interesting to me, as much, was his scornful condemnation of American journalists, as a practitioner who is also an outsider to a degree.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:57 PM on September 11, 2003


re: krugman
he can admit he's wrong sometimes and that's a good trait in an economist
personally I've never appreciated his particular brand of Galbraith-bashing, but as a scholar of trade issues he used to be very interesting until a few years ago, when he got all pop internationalists himself. those who were quick to brand him some sort of a Bolshevik have probably seldom read him before he began writing for the Times, because as a liberal thinker he does think outside the box
on the other hand his love for balanced budgets certainly predates W's presidency


re: smaller matters
about having the "absolute power" to unseat those you disagree with or dislike.

you know, you were probably busy trying to beat people up in bars or something to notice, but once upon a time there was a guy called Kenneth Starr who, thanks to a (sadly) now-expired Independent Counsel statute, had exactly that kind of power (like, feeding raw grand jury material to tv networks, trying to set up a FBI sting operation in the White House, subpoenas to the President's security detail, etc) and he spent more to investigate blowjobs than it's being spent now to investigate how 9-11 actually happened

some people -- especially among those of us who actually follow the news -- think that the same kind of zeal should be used now too, in investigating matters at least as serious as Gap dresses, as I said things like 9-11, or the various WorldCom/Enron financial scandals, or the apparent lies that led to IraqAttaq (like the British are doing in the Hutton inquiry, a big lesson in democracy to their former colony).
Krugman would make a very, let's say, dogged Enron/WorldCon prosecutor, that's all

but Krugman would especially make an outstanding chairman of the SEC. no need to resuscitate the IC statute if it scares you so.

even if people who know one thing or two about crooks in the White House would like to see exactly that, a Special Prosecutor's Investigation now

makes me disinclined to trust you
I'll live


posted by matteo at 8:13 PM on September 11, 2003


you know, you were probably busy trying to beat people up in bars or something to notice,... some people -- especially among those of us who actually follow the news --...no need to resuscitate the IC statute if it scares you so.

Whatever. And way to conrgartulate yourself. Sure, prosecuting the Enron folks would be nice, and could honestly give a rats ass about the Clinton/Lewinsky thing, but the great majority of people it makes little or no difference. I barely made enough to survive under Clinton, same under Bush, same under whomever comes next. Cos quite franly that's just the way shit is. The rest is just the sports pages for all the use I can make of it.
posted by jonmc at 8:23 PM on September 11, 2003


but Krugman would especially make an outstanding chairman of the SEC. no need to resuscitate the IC statute if it scares you so.

No there's your "lefty porn" Krugman, mmmmmmmm.....

Seriously, though, Ive often thought that a real ass-kicking SEC or attorney general that went after corporate crime could be a great vehicle for making citizens more enfranchised with the government. Man, I would watch the Kenneth Lay hanging like rednecks watch war.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:31 PM on September 11, 2003


jonmc, what about the comics pages????
posted by billsaysthis at 8:50 PM on September 11, 2003


With a budget this sensitive to economic changes, and with the economy turning for the better, Bush is likely to get a double-win going into the 2004 election: the return of good times and lower-than-forecasted deficits. It won't be an "it's the economy, stupid" election as Krugman wants. It'll be an "it's the economy — brilliant!" election. And no lie Krugman can invent is going to change that.

Goddamn it, that's exactly how it's going to happen!

My office's first press release mistakenly applied the 10 percent figure to the 10-year estimated surplus, rather than to 2002.

Mr. Krugman's description vilifies, rather than rebuts, those with whom he disagrees.


He shoots, He scores: Krugman was way too pessimistic about that 10-year estimated surplus! Oh, brutal, brutal expose!

I guess Krugman didn't see the reports of those WMD labs....

Oooo... it's all the Neocons' fault! There's a vast neocon conspiracy! Bush is a puppet for the neocons! They're 'cons', just like the 'Decepticons', so they're evil! Look, all the evidence said this guy still had WMDs, that he was working on nukes, and that if he got them, he'd gladly use them on us, right after he took out Kuwait, Iran, and Saudi. Maybe commentators aren't 'admitting the possibility' because IT'S AN OBVIOUS FALLACY!


He means those Artillery Meteorological System labs which were sold to the Iraqi Army by British Marconi in 1987? They made hydrogen for artillery balloons. Even the US Defense Intelligence Agency has signed off on this one. Remember when the recent talking points were how Chalabi's INC fed those crack intelligence professionals an the Office of Special Plans false information. Yeah, that's the ticket! Dr. Warblogger sure showed that Krugman lied through his teeth that time!

This has just got to be the most devastating and brilliant riposte this place has ever seen--I say we all go out, sell everything we own and start a religion devoted to those impartial, intellectually rigorous, scientifically objective, utterly nonideological, oh so persuasive and utterly, utterly convincing links: Andrew Sullivan, some hatchetman at the National Review, Mr. Communications Director for the Office of Management and Budget spinning on the NYT Letters to the Editor page, and some ranting AM talk radio core audience warblogger--all talking facts, facts, facts, facts, facts--!0 year surplus, Weapons Labs, the return of good times and lower-than-forecasted deficits!!
Paul Krugman--utterly refuted! Boy, I don't know about you guys,
but I'm sold! sold! sold! I tells ya!
posted by y2karl at 8:52 PM on September 11, 2003


You know, the interesting thing about this is that most of us will get to see for ourselves who is correct: Mr. Luskin or Mr. Krugman. I hope everyone is taking notes.
posted by moonbiter at 9:30 PM on September 11, 2003


my money's on doughboy.
posted by poopy at 9:53 PM on September 11, 2003


The Bactra Review by CRS -- The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century by Paul Krugman, "Something Krugman doesn't emphasize enough, here, is a tactical point. Suppose you are a leader of a political party with a radical agenda which is actually quite unpopular (as Krugman notes, many voters refuse to believe that anyone could be serious about some of it), hasn't won a national majority in more than a dozen years, and has the demographic tides running against it. Through a combination of parliamentary flukes and lying about your program, you come to power. What, exactly, is your incentive to not ram as much of your agenda through as you possibly can? Normally parties don't fight everything to the hilt, because of the "shadow of the future", the sense that they'll need to cooperate with other parties and anyway there'll be another chance. But a party in that position, no possible future casts a moderating shadow --- this is its last chance, unless it is able to smash the existing order and build a new one entrenching its power. (People used to discuss this in connection with Communist parties under the catch-phrase "one man, one vote, one time".) Hence maximalism."
posted by kliuless at 11:01 PM on September 11, 2003


Yet you can't understand what's happening in America today without understanding the extent, causes and consequences of the vast increase in inequality that has taken place over the last three decades, and in particular the astonishing concentration of income and wealth in just a few hands. To make sense of the current wave of corporate scandal, you need to understand how the man in the gray flannel suit has been replaced by the imperial C.E.O. The concentration of income at the top is a key reason that the United States, for all its economic achievements, has more poverty and lower life expectancy than any other major advanced nation. Above all, the growing concentration of wealth has reshaped our political system: it is at the root both of a general shift to the right and of an extreme polarization of our politics.
Paul Krugman, New York Times Magazine, October 20, 2002
posted by matteo at 4:17 AM on September 12, 2003


If you are unlucky, and you don't have enough to eat, or you can't afford medical care, well, that's just showing that you weren't sufficiently provident.

Good thing the Republicans are also in favor of easy access to guns and assault weapons. If you can't afford food or medical care, at least you'll have access to the means for expressing your feelings.
posted by alms at 5:17 AM on September 12, 2003


If you can't afford food or medical care, at least you'll have access to the means for expressing your feelings.

You can buy a lot of ramen for the cost of a really crummy gun.
posted by thirteen at 3:12 PM on September 12, 2003


>You can buy a lot of ramen for the cost of a really crummy gun.

Yes, but in the end which one produces the most amount of food, goods, etc? I don't care for the gun control debate, but alms has a point: when the shit hits the fan the armed will be the best off.
posted by skallas at 4:19 PM on September 12, 2003




Yes, but in the end which one produces the most amount of food, goods, etc?

Assumming there is one gun, probably a lot. Since there are a lot of guns around, they are better off buying the ramen.
posted by thirteen at 11:08 PM on September 12, 2003


Lots of guns indeed. I think I'll just dig a deep hole in the ground and sit in the dark gnawing my ramen until the sounds of shooting stop.

"The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."
-W.B.Yeats

What rough beast slouched towards Texas to be born?
posted by troutfishing at 7:37 AM on September 13, 2003


Public Support Wanes for Bush Foreign Policy, Poll Shows

A majority of Americans disapprove of President Bush's request to Congress for an additional $87 billion to fund military and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next year, amid growing doubts about the administration's policies at home and abroad, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Six in 10 Americans said they do not support the Bush's proposal, which the president first announced in his nationally televised address last Sunday night. That marks the most significant public rejection of a Bush initiative on national security or terrorism since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In a second rebuff to the administration, more Americans said that, if Congress decides to approve the additional money, lawmakers should roll back the president's tax cuts to pay for the increased spending, rather than add to the federal budget deficit or cut government spending...

At the same time, a 55 percent majority doubts Bush has a clear plan about what to do in Iraq and more than eight in 10 -- 85 percent -- now fear the United States will get bogged down in a long and costly peacekeeping effort in Iraq, up from 76 percent in less than three weeks.

posted by y2karl at 9:09 PM on September 13, 2003


A majority of Americans hate America?!
posted by homunculus at 9:22 PM on September 13, 2003


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