Paul Krugman, whose Wikipedia page claims he is the 21st most cited economist in the world (as if being 21st is somehow worthy of distinction) and disingenuously claims he is ranked among the most influential academic thinkers in the United States, is really just a blithering idiot and the only ones who really take him seriously are the “left” leaning partisan’s who he shamefully panders to. Krugman’s own Wikipedia page gives a clue to how dishonest he is about himself, and if he cannot be honest about himself, why should anyone believe he is being honest about the economy, Obamacare and other issues that mean so much to Americans? Is Krugman, a clear and present idiot, truly one of the most influential academic thinkers in the U.S.?
Wikipedia cites Econ Journal Watch (EJW) to support the claim that Krugman is one of the most influential academic thinkers. Of course, Wikipedia’s article on EJW tells us that the triannual peer reviewed electronic journal wasn’t even established until 2004, so if you’re wondering what the hell Econ Journal Watch is, this is why. More importantly, EJW does not, as Krugman’s Wikipedia article claims, cite Krugman as one of the most influential academic thinkers, but merely one of the most influential economic thinkers – the 21st most cited if you’re to take Wikipedia seriously – behind Adam Smith (by far), John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman and Gary Becker.
Krugman is no Adam Smith and, of course, he identifies as a Keynesian economist, but he is surely no John Maynard Keynes either, nor is he Milton Friedman (not by any stretch of the imagination) or Gary Becker. How Krugman found himself on this list is the question? Take his most recent OP/ED piece – take it please…no seriously take it – for the New York Times, in which he takes Senator John Barrasso to task for saying; “The healthcare law has proven to be unpopular, unworkable and unaffordable”. Krugman loves to be snarky and this piece is no less so, he first arguing that Barrasso’s statement was “interesting” but “not in the way he intended”. As if Sen. Barrasso only made the statement to have Krugman call it interesting only so could Krugman could then claim it is not interesting in the way Barrasso wanted it to be interesting to Krugman, and then goes on to argue that the GOP is completely void of any “expertise on anything substantive”, and I would agree with him if he weren’t insistent on claiming that the Democratic party is filled with expertise on everything substantive.
Both parties are filled with idiots, which is not to say both party’s have nothing but idiots or that even one, as Krugman wants to claim, is filled completely with idiots. It’s the typical sort of fallacy Krugman loves to apply, making sweeping generalizations about a political party he has committed to disagreeing with on…well, on everything. Indeed, outside of claims to being a Keynesian economist, it appears as if Krugman’s economic ideas – if we are only going by his OP/ED pieces – are based upon disagreement with Republicans. He claims that Sen. Barrasso is wrong on all counts, and to demonstrate Barrasso is wrong about the claim of it being unaffordable, Krugman cites a Think Progress article to then argue that “many experts giving the law at least partial credit”. Keep in mind that Krugman can find no “experts” within the GOP – that would include Gary Becker – so these experts he’s touting as giving “at least partial credit” to the Affordable Healtcare Act are “experts” because Krugman agrees with them.
Why does Krugman qualify the credit given to the healthcare law as partial credit? That’s because, as the very same New York Times reported, overall spending is down across the board, both in government and outside of it regarding healthcare costs, and the reason for the “partial” qualifier is because it is widely accepted that these costs are down due to the recession. When Nancy Pelosi recently made the claim that “Affordable Health Care is bringing the cost of healthcare in our country down”, Politifact rated this as “half-true”. Is that something like “partial credit”? As Politifact points out, it is the rate of growth that has dropped, not the actual cost of care, which they claim is still rising. Politifact also points out that Harvard economist David Cutler (who, as they also point out advised Obama for his 2008 presidential bid), said this:
“They all agree that the unexplained part is large, making the ACA one likely explanation”.
Cutler claims that the 2007-2009 recession accounted for 37% of the slowdown in healthcare costs, attributing 8% to a decline in private insurance coverage and some Medicare payment cuts. Cutler does not so much give “partial credit” to the ACA, he simply allows for the possibility that that legislation might be a factor. Krugman actually claims there has been a “striking slowdown in overall health costs since the Affordable Healthcare Act was enacted”, but the truth is the slowdown actually began in 2003 years before Obama was even elected, and certainly before the ACA was enacted. I would accuse Krugman of being a liar if he weren’t such an idiot. Likely it is his own stupidity that makes him think his claims are true.
In fairness to Krugman there are others, like Think Progress and even a few over at Forbes and other sites and magazines that gladly give the ACA credit for the slowdown in health costs. Appealing to the majority, if it is a majority, is simply a logical fallacy and not a fact of economics. Krugman does the same sleight of hand with statistics. He also claims that government employment has gone down, “not risen” under President Obama. The truth is it did both under Obama’s regime. The number of government employees hired by the federal government actually peaked in the beginning of Obama’s first term and has since dropped. This decline that Krugman points to so smugly is, however, minuscule and the 9,000 fewer federal employees is only a fraction of the 2.2 million civilian federal workforce.
The whole point of Krugman’s OP/ED piece was not to defend Obamacare, or even Obama, but to argue that “modern conservatism has become a sort of cult very much given to conspiracy theorizing when confronted with inconvenient facts”. If Krugman could actually rely on convenient facts he wouldn’t be using the “facts” he is using. Krugman, who has never won a Nobel Prize for economics – not that the organization that gives war mongers a Peace Prize should be taken seriously – say’s that there are some idiots who have won Nobel’s”. He means economist winning the prize that some are idiots. He doesn’t name who these idiots are, he just makes the sweeping generalization. While Krugman may be too genteel to actually name names of who is an idiot, I am not and have no problem at pointing a finger at Paul Krugman and saying: “Now look over there, that’s an idiot”.