Isn’t it obvious? The New York Times hired Paul Krugman to troll his detractors. The barrage of attacks, the blatant flip-flops, and the vacuous polemics that would make the 2020 presidential field blush – Krugman is the chief of trolling, and he was way before President Donald Trump broke onto the scene. Indeed, the memeification of Krugman is real, and the more he writes, the more this powerful force intensifies. Every time you refresh your browser on his author page, you’re not breathlessly awaiting new serious economic analysis. No, you’re anticipating comic relief to accompany your bag of popcorn. Forget peanut jokes. All you need is a knee-slapping Krugman column to send you into a fit of teary-eyed laughter.
Paul Krugman: Gold Hater
If you read one Krugman article on gold, you have read them all. The Krugster has made it clear that he loathes gold, going so far as blaming sound money and deflation for the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism. How exactly he got to that point is befuddling, but anything is possible when Krugman applies his digital pen to his word processor.
In a recent opinion piece, titled “Goldbugs for Trump,” the Keynesian posits a few interesting points.
The first is that goldbugs, particularly those nominated by President Donald Trump to the Federal Reserve, like Judy Shelton or Stephen Moore, have “sold their principles a long time ago.” The other one is that the academic economics industry is sexist. But his best supposition is that gold proponents do not “have the technical proficiency and originality needed to get a good job in academia, an economic policy institution like the Fed, or a serious think tank,” adding that being a vocal goldbug “opens a whole different set of doors.”
Robert Wenzel, author of Foundation of Private Property Society Theory, may have said it best: “Is Krugman serious?”
Indeed he is, Mr. Wenzel. Indeed he is.
To assert that goldbugs have conceded their convictions is laughable coming from Krugman. This is a man who has abandoned his values for political hackery. He is an activist disguised as an economist. If you believe that Krugman is the beacon of honesty, rectitude, and intelligence, then we have an imminent space alien invasion to report, eh, Krugman?
All you need do is peruse his record, even his recent commentary, to see how he flips on a dime whenever it suits him and Krugman Nation.
In the same article, he laments that Trump demands low interest rates and selects people who will do his bidding inside the Eccles Building. Since he and Trump seem to desire ZIRPs, why is he whining? But that isn’t all.
During the painful years of former President Barack Obama, the head of Krugmanites everywhere demanded the Democrats record higher deficits and put the pedal to the metal on spending. Because he could not be seen siding with a Republican, Krugman tergiversated in 2016 on deficits. He wrote shortly after the election that “deficits matter again” because of full employment, rising wages, and the labor market returning to pre-crisis levels. Sure, it is plausible to shift your opinion based on the data, but employment and average wages were already on an upward trajectory prior to the election. So, he did not change his mind on budget deficits; he just revised his stance based on politics.
Reiterating his premise in the largely unread End This Depression Now!, he purported that trillions needed to be spent to resuscitate the economy. When President Trump and the GOP seemingly took his advice and proposed a stimulus package, he went into an apoplectic convulsion, opining on Twitter that “after forcing destructive fiscal austerity when economy depressed, Rs turning to stimulus when it isn’t.”
There is no pleasing Krugman, is there?
It turned out that all the anemic economy needed were across-the-board tax cuts and fewer regulations.
Bootlicking Is Technical Proficiency
In the Swamp, you are expected to go along to get along. In other words, conform to groupthink to succeed in this low-lying, uncultivated, insipid ground. This is what Krugman has done, writing to benefit himself and the power players. You cannot fault Krugman for choosing the career path of justifying everything the left-leaning political class does through the guise of academia. We all need to make a buck.
But telling statists what they want to hear is not exactly rocket surgery. In fact, to suggest otherwise is insulting to those who were genuinely technically proficient and original and never sacrificed their principles for a Federal Reserve Note or an ounce of gold.
Ludwig von Mises, the eminent figure whose intricate work inspired millions of people years after he passed away, did not serve in a central bank or write for a think tank that is usually a front for policymakers seeking a blessing from a distinguished fellow. He was not wealthy, did not speak English when he fled the Nazis for America, and never made it to television like some of his colleagues. Yet he had more integrity in his pinky than all the brilliant minds at The Times, the Fed, and the International Monetary Fund put together.
Moreover, many goldbugs of yesterday and today have found success in academia. Murray Rothbard received a BA in mathematics and a PhD in economics from Columbia University and was one of the greatest academics of the 20th century. Friedrich Hayek won a Nobel Prize and was a notable member of the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics. Milton Friedman, who became more sympathetic to “a real honest-to-God gold standard,” is one of the most famous economists of all time. Walter Block teaches at Loyola University New Orleans, writes books, and delivers speeches all over the world.
Even Trump’s picks, Shelton and Moore, have their own impressive credentials. The former has three degrees and two books and the latter has two degrees, worked for The Wall Street Journal, and has seven books.
The Krugster’s Greatest Hits
Two themes have plagued Krugman’s career: contradictions and getting it wrong.
He has contradicted himself on a whole host of issues, from the minimum wage to the budget. What’s worse is that his textbooks teach one thing, but then he says another. It is confusing for the next generation of Keynesian disciples.
But his predictions and demands have been not only wrong but also destructive. Fine, predicting that the internet will have as much of an impact on the global economy as the fax machine is one thing, but urging the Fed to replace the Nasdaq bubble with a housing bubble destroyed lives – and then he demanded another bubble to replace the housing one! On a moral level, Krugman has been frightening, averring that terrorist attacks, wars, and natural disasters are great for economies.
Tim Donner, Washington political columnist for Liberty Nation, has joked that writing about the first annual Donald Trump Fake News Awards grand prize winner is low-hanging fruit. Well, like the citrus disease that has decimated the Florida orange crop, Krugman needs to be reported on and called out for his virulent suppositions, which can make you want to eat the bacteria-infected fruit and call it a day.