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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Paul Krugman, "An Unserious Man": Only Ryan Is Unserious?

Back from vacation, an apoplectic Paul Krugman, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "An Unserious Man" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/opinion/krugman-an-unserious-man.html), predictably pontificates:

"Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate led to a wave of pundit accolades. Now, declared writer after writer, we’re going to have a real debate about the nation’s fiscal future. This was predictable: never mind the Tea Party, Mr. Ryan’s true constituency is the commentariat, which years ago decided that he was the Honest, Serious Conservative, whose proposals deserve respect even if you don’t like him.

But he isn’t and they don’t. Ryanomics is and always has been a con game, although to be fair, it has become even more of a con since Mr. Ryan joined the ticket."

Ryanomics won't give rise to "real debate"? If such is the case, why does Krugman waste the remainder of his opinion piece dissecting the Ryan plan as he would have us perceive it, i.e. creating and then lambasting a strawman. This isn't a "real" effort at debate on Krugman's part? Or can there be no debating Krugman's Nobel bull (as in papal bull)?

But so long as we're on the topics of "real" and "serious," observe what Felix Salmon has to say in his New York Times review (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/books/paul-krugman-and-timothy-noah-on-the-economy.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all) of Krugman's very recent book, "End This Depression Now!":

"[T]he real heart of 'End This Depression' is distressingly thin. There are 13 chapters, plus an introduction and a postscript, and just one — Chapter 12 — attempts to deliver on the promise of the title and explain what Mr. Krugman would have the government actually do to improve our collective lot. And that chapter is pretty short. There are precious few detailed policy proposals here, and it would be extremely difficult to put a price tag on what Mr. Krugman wants. A lot of it is more attitude than money, in any case: the idea, for instance, that Ben Bernanke needs to demonstrate 'Rooseveltian resolve' in his quest to get the country moving.

Would Mr. Krugman’s vague prescription — which boils down, at heart, to old-fashioned Keynesian stimulus — really end this depression? Are we even in a depression? We’re certainly suffering the aftermath of a particularly nasty financial crisis, and more government spending would surely help, at the margin.

But without knowing how much money Mr. Krugman proposes to spend, it’s hard to judge what he’s proposing."

Goodness gracious, Krugman, your own paper publishes a review like this, and you have the nerve to declare that the other Paul is "unserious"?

The reality is that economics is not an exact science, and although Krugman would never admit it, there exist different paths, many of them valid, to reach the same destination. "Spring comes after winter," anyone?

Debate which path to choose? Absolutely. But this can also be done without gaseous invictive.

Ryan is "unserious"? Sorry to be a bore, but listen again to Erskine Bowles, the Democratic co-chair of the Obama Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and decide for yourself.



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