Legendary poet Robert Frost was right when he said, “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.” Reading economist Paul Krugman’s work can make you lose your mind, from the blatant hypocrisy to the many contradictions. That is why you need to assess his columns through the prism of comedy; every sentence is a lead-up to the punchline. It must be. It is the only explanation. Anything else defies the laws of the universe.
Krugman Nation is Here
The Krugster is out with a new blog post for his Krugmanites. Now, don’t roll your eyes. Remember what your mother always said to you: If you roll your eyes too often, they’re going to get stuck there – and then you would be unable to read his next magnum opus.
This time, he took on “fanatical centrists,” positing that they have essentially enabled President Donald Trump and facilitated the Republican Party’s direction into right-wing extremism. But they are learning the error of their ways, he averred; the centrists are waking up to the reality that they were wrong about the president, mainly because of the Ukraine controversy. Krugman wrote:
“And the whole tenor of our national conversation has changed. It looks to me as if we’re witnessing the rapid collapse of a powerful faction in U.S. public life, one whose refusal to accept facts at odds with its prejudices has long been a major source of political dysfunction.”
But the main thesis of his column was not the only thing that triggered headaches. It was the partisanship, the mendacity, and the typical arrogance shtick – attributes Krugman is known for – that will make you want to torture yourself by reading his book End This Depression Now!
You can say that again.
Nothing is What it Seems
Krugman reminded readers that he had warned in 2013 about modern conservatism being “a movement whose leaders do not accept the legitimacy of our current political system.” He contended that presenting the argument that the GOP had slowly metastasized into undemocratic authoritarianism would usually be “dismissed as shrill if not deranged.”
While the mainstream media has ramped up the rhetoric and negative coverage of the Republican Party in the age of Trump, the neoteric press, comprised of left-leaning journalists and anchors, has never really been fair to anyone to the right of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. You can go back to 2008 for just one example. Researchers at Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University and the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that CNN maintained disparate treatment of Republican and Democratic presidential candidates in that election year. The study authors discovered that “CNN programming studied tended to cast a negative light on Republican candidates—by a margin of three-to-one,” with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) garnering 63% negative coverage and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) gaining favorable coverage half the time. So, it is doubtful that Krugman got any pushback for his opinion on the Republican Party.
Krugman then stated that the news media accepted Attorney General William Barr’s summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Oh, really? Anyone remember when MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace was outraged that Barr did not give the result she wanted? Let’s be candid: The press, pushing for impeachment since two days after the 2016 election, did not accept Barr’s summary.
This is the part where Krugman’s partisanship is spotlighted: He believes right-wing extremists dominate the Republican Party. And he does not think they will be leaving anytime soon. But how does Krugman define right-wing extremism anyway? Right now, President Trump is governing as a moderate conservative: cutting taxes while still maintaining a bloated budget, curtailing US military personnel overseas while keeping a presence in regions worldwide, and presenting immigration reform while still maintaining a record number of legal immigrants in the United States.
Oh, and his belief that Trump is “clearly itching to use the justice system to criminalize criticism”? Has the president done anything to criminalize the punditry class? It has been nearly three years of everyone in the media sounding the alarm that Trump was going to silence the fourth estate. He may want to, like every other president has probably desired to, but he has not taken action to throw talking heads in prison. Though perhaps the media would love it if he did because they would be martyrs.
Sure, if you turn on MSNBC (may God have mercy on your soul), the president is being depicted as someone who is one executive order away from tossing everyone who disagrees with him into an internment camp. Since Krugman likely just reads The Times and watches NBC News, he probably thinks a balanced budget amendment makes you Literally Hitler™ or that withdrawing troops from Afghanistan makes you a racist. Don’t believe everything you see on TV.
The GOP, meanwhile, has initiated reforms but nothing earth-shattering that would forever change the fabric of the country.
Of course, he inserted a thinly veiled allusion to Ukraine, which he somehow managed to compare to former President George W. Bush’s disaster in Iraq. As expected, he avoided the Democratic National Committee’s attempts to work with Ukraine for the purpose of digging up dirt on Trump or former President Bill Clinton making an election year request from former Prime Minister Tony Blair to dispute between British Airways and two carriers. How convenient that Krugman leaves all this out and focuses entirely on the Republicans.
How Nobel of Krugman
As you would with the reportage of CNN anchors and correspondents, it is better for your mental health to take Krugman’s opinions with a grain of salt – or a shot of cyanide. He is further proof that you can win a Nobel prize, but still fall short of the Norwegian committee’s intent of rewarding those who have provided the “greatest benefit to mankind.” Well, perhaps we have gotten Krugman wrong all this time. Maybe the disciple of John Maynard Keynes is helping the human race by giving us years of laughter and tears – or are they tears of laughter?