Krugmanistas Unite!

As a die-hard Krugmanista, the Rabbit was all hopped up to see Paul Krugman on the cover of Newsweek last week . Maybe now that stuttering piece of fluff Anderson Cooper–and the President himself, to whom Krugman is described as “loyal opposition”–will learn to pronounce our favorite Nobel-winning economist’s name correctly. But we were ready to spit up our carrots as we read the story, mainly because we didn’t recognize the man we’ve come to admire through his books and columns. We have no argument with him being described as  someone who “doesn’t suffer fools.” But where’s the proof that he “doesn’t like to be f–ked with”? Or that he, “has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults,” as the Times‘ own ombudsman, Daniel Okrent, is quoted as writing.  It all seemed like a thinly-veiled attempt to dismiss his too-little criticisms of the economic bail-out and his reasoned demands for universal health care.  We admire Krugman for his willingness to disagree with his liberal brethren on policy and make economic arguments that even English majors could understand (he usually distinguishes his more involved blog posts with the word “Wonkish”). Nor is he afraid to see–and declare– the practical application of economics to the well-being of society and its individuals. His best-selling book and New York Times blog isn’t called The Consicience of a Liberal for nothing. His recently updated edition of The Return of Depression Economics provides the historic background needed to understand the current economic malaise and what should be done to get out of it–not a bad way to go for those of us not trained in economics (you can see what we thought of both these books here and here…read down through the usual long-winded, cluttered accounts). Early on, the Newsweek article’s author, Evan Thomas, says, “If you are of the establishment persuasion (and I am), reading Krugman makes you uneasy. ” And that’s the whole problem in a nutshell. We don’t need establishment types and their traditionally conservative fear of change telling us what needs to be done (which usually amounts to nothing).  We need to hear the alternatives. And we need to hear them from someone as intelligent and educated as Krugman. He’s dismissed at our peril.–Cabbage Rabbit

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