Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Leftist Krugman Bashing

Leftist Krugman bashing is unfair and counterproductive.

Paul Krugman isn't perfect, but his is the best voice there is inside the mainstream media.  In fact, it's amazing that he says so much from a perch at the Grey Lady, not known for being friendly to the left.  (How many times has the Times presented a Chomsky op ed, for example?)  I pay to subscribe to the New York Times for only one reason…Paul Krugman!

Paul Krugman cheered on the Occupy Movement, and accepted and even adopted the 99% vs 1% rhetoric.

Paul Krugman has consistently pointed to inequality as the key issue of our time.  And I'm not just talking about "equal opportunity," which he has also shown is far from being true.  He is one of the best voices there is on topics like this.  He cuts through the right wing bullshit better than anyone.  He has showed how mobility in the US is not as many people imagine, or as good as it is in many other places.  And, regardless of mobility, that there still needs to be decent pay for all.  He favors raising the minimum wage, and making it easier for unions to organize.  (Where else in the mainstream corporate media do you hear people calling for more unionization???)  He has spoken positively of the examples set by Scandinavian countries in terms of equality and taking care of everyone.

Though Paul Krugman has defended Obamacare as better than what we had before (bringing him much anger from some quarters of the left) he has also always made it plain that he believes a Single Payer system would be better.  He favors lowering the medicare eligibility age.  He favors increasing the minimum wage.  He has strongly opposed cutting Social Security and has said it should be increased in several ways, including lowering the eligibility age.  He fought back strongly against cuts, including the cut disguised as a technical adjustment to the cost of living adjustment.  He fought back strongly against raising the eligibility age, pointing out that people with lower income are not necessarily living longer.  Back in the day, he wrote the best articles opposing privatization of social security, and he wrote the best articles showing that contrary to critics (and he pointed to their roots in the finance industry) the Social Security system is fundamentally sound, and the best way to run a government pension system.  (Fortunately, privatization of social security is no longer being actively promoted--and we owe Krugman much gratitude for this.)

Rather than falling in line (with the neoliberals) that unemployment has been coming down--so there's no problem anymore they claim) Paul Krugman has consistently pointed out the fall in employment to population ratio has not recovered, and that the great recession, aka depression, is not over yet, nor can we say it will just take care of itself over any time span.

Krugman has also been quite critical of many people in the Economics profession, almost inventing the Saltwater vs Freshwater divide, and pointing out many if not all of the problems with the economics profession as it exists now.  (It's that "if not all" that seems to bother many lefty econo-bloggers, such as Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism.)

I read Krugman daily and I think everyone should.