Monday, January 7, 2013

Krugman Responds to Petition Calling for His Nomination as treasury Secretary

Hollywood actor and liberal activist Danny Glover has launched a petition demanding that President Obama nominate Paul Krugman to replace Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary.

It is unlikely the White House will take the petition seriously. But Krugman has, at least to the point that he has taken to his blog to tell us why he is much more important at NYT:
But the main point, as I see it, is that it would mean taking me out of a quasi-official job that I believe I’m good at and putting me into one I’d be bad at.

So first of all, let’s talk frankly about the job I have. The New York Times isn’t just some newspaper somewhere, it’s the nation’s paper of record. As a result, being an op-ed columnist at the Times is a pretty big deal — one I’m immensely grateful to have been granted — and those who hold the position, if they know how to use it effectively, have a lot more influence on national debate than, say, most senators. Does anyone doubt that the White House pays attention to what I write?
So much for false modesty. But, if he does have this overwhelming influence at NYT---and he does have a huge following---I am with him that he should stay at NYT. Why? Because it's been proven that Austrian economists can get into his head, when we point out the many errors that he makes regularly on basic economics and point out the madness of many of his proposals. He has linked to both EPJ and Bob Murphy. Can you imagine him whispering his mad ideas into just Obama's ear, without a countercheck?

No, it's best Krugman stay where he is, so we can keep an eye on his thinking. Or as Krugman, again, puts it so modestly:
By my reckoning, then, an administration job, no matter how senior, would actually reduce my influence, leaving me unable to say publicly what I really think and all too probably finding myself unable to make headway in internal debates.
Not that he makes any headway on external debates.


  1. Did I just read that Krugman supports the $1trillion coin idea?

    I think his political outlook has betrayed him being taken seriously as an economist. But this is the Austrian opportunity to pounce on these folks. Even the average Joe knows how bad this is. It's simply to pull an end around on the law, but that means an autocratic executive. The president can just decide to ignore the law.

    I've had several non-austrian friends and family email me this and say "wow". You can explain that $85bn of monetization over 12 months is the same as $1tr in one shot, but the logistics seem to be the bigger eye opener. Like "why bother minting anything? Why platinum? How do you know it's even there? You can't even get an audit of the Treasury gold at the Fed. Why not declare anything be of a certain value and begin writing checks against it?"

  2. Let me get this straight, Krugman has no problem writing about "what should be done and why" and yet states he is unqualified to actually do those things? If that does not sum up perfectly many of those in today's world of influential academia and political media, nothing does.

    1. To be fair, plenty of Austrian economists echo Mises in saying they would abdicate if given a role of power. I'm pretty Murphy is one of them.

    2. Yes, but let's face of the core pricinciples surrounding Austrian economics is the notion/superiority of "free markets" which by its very nature is the abdication of power.

      Krugman on the other hand is the great economic apostle of central planning, so the notion he would refuse such a role is hypocritical at best....but at worst suggests he's disengeniune.

      He's probably just not as sure about things as he pretends to be, or maybe afraid of failure.

  3. I’m all for making Krugman treasury secretary. He’s an arrogant narcissistic little twerp with no diplomatic skills whatsoever. Keynesianism has made the strides that it has by being obscurantist and unintelligible. Average people have no clue that Keynesianism is based upon the claim that money dilution and unpayable debt cause prosperity. If that is ever made explicit and understood, average people will reject it (which is why I have such affection for those half-wit MMTers).

    Further, Krugman is not fast on his feet. Remember his body language and response when challenged by the Beautiful Spanish Woman? That (and because he knows in his heart he’s full of crap) is why he won’t debate Bob Murphy.

    So, let him take a high position in government and let him spout his unfiltered inflationist nonsense for all the world to hear as his reign coincides with the coming bad economic period.

    1. Bob,

      I'm with you on this. Let all these people obtain positions of power where it'll eventually become impossible to not see where the problem lies as the economy continues to stagnate. Politics is all about placing blame. Let them crumble under their own mistakes.

    2. The problem, Bob, is that you're assuming people will disagree with a Treasury Secretary Krugman. For instance, if you were to put in place two presidents, consecutively, with only the purpose that they would open the eyes of Americans to how terrible their "statists ideologies" plunder and can further ruin a country, then I can think of no two better Presidents than Bush Jr. and Obama. Yet they were both re-elected. You'd think by now most people would be saying, "damn, government can really screw some $h!t up when you massively expand it". Nope, that's not what has happened. And I suspect the same thing would occur with Krugman at the Treasury helm.

  4. That's the problem with listening or reading anything from Krugman. Danny Glover seemed to be a reasonable guy, but listening to Krugman has made him bat-shit crazy.

    Be warned - when a Noble prize winner makes a life long commitment to suffocate in a tomb of ignorance, his insanity can be spread without any exchange of body fluids.