Friday, February 19, 2016

Krugman Goes Nuclear on Bernie Sanders

After three attack blog posts against Bernie economics, yes three (SEE here, here and here.), Paul Krugman has used his entire Friday op-ed column to attack Sanders.

This is sweet:
On Wednesday four former Democratic chairmen and chairwomen of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers — three who served under Barack Obama, one who served under Bill Clinton — released a stinging open letter to Bernie Sanders and Gerald Friedman, a University of Massachusetts professor who has been a major source of the Sanders campaign’s numbers. The economists called out the campaign for citing “extreme claims” by Mr. Friedman that “exceed even the most grandiose predictions by Republicans” and could “undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda.”

That’s harsh. But it’s harsh for a reason.

The claims the economists are talking about come from Mr. Friedman’s analysis of the Sanders economic program. The good news is that this isn’t the campaign’s official assessment; the bad news is that the Friedman analysis has been highly praised by campaign officials.

And the analysis is really something. The Republican candidates have been widely and rightly mocked for their escalating claims that they can achieve incredible economic growth, starting with Jeb Bush’s promise to double growth to 4 percent and heading up from there. But Mr. Friedman outdoes the G.O.P. by claiming that the Sanders plan would produce 5.3 percent growth a year over the next decade...

Sorry, but there’s just no way to justify this stuff. For wonks like me, it is, frankly, horrifying...

The point is that if you dismiss the likes of Mr. Krueger or Ms. Romer as Hillary shills or compromised members of the “establishment,” you’re excommunicating most of the policy experts who should be your allies.

So Mr. Sanders really needs to crack down on his campaign’s instinct to lash out. More than that, he needs to disassociate himself from voodoo of the left — not just because of the political risks, but because getting real is or ought to be a core progressive value.

Of course, this is coming from Krugman, a major league interventionist, so it doesn't have the full explosive power of a free market critique of Sanders. Krugman's value here is that he can get past the palace guards and unload on the socialist from close range, the damn op-ed page of The New York Times!



  1. There's no doubt that Sanders can achieve his stated goal of 5.3% growth/year. Simply order the calculations be changed.

    1. And put a gun to the head of every worker so they meet the government quota. And deal harshly with shirkers and saboteurs. We just need the right kind of leader.

    2. 1. As we debate the minutiae of AnCap relationships, what has struck me since around 2008 with the birth of “social media” and the Keynesian Krash was the TOTAL FAILURE and refusal of our opponents to EVER engage our fundamental points (much less the derivative points). I’ve come to the point in my life where I basically refuse to engage in a polite debate with a statist who cannot grasp that their position is based upon employing SWAT teams to engage in the initiation of force for the purpose of solving problems that either do not exist or exist only because of prior statist prohibition on the proper use of one’s own body and property. The question “Why the violence?” is usually met with a hissy fit.

      2. I think it’s a very big mistake to not constantly point out that no “progressive” in the universe understands economic miscalculation and/or Cantillon Effects especially as those two processes work together. Krugman certainly does not understand and he does not want to understand. I submit that this is because our opponents suspect we are right and are so afraid of our basic analysis that they refuse to run these points, even superficially, through their brains. As such, I think Krugman and his ilk get quite a pass from us. I fail to see the difference between Krugman’s columns on us and the NYT’s treatment of Walter Block or their failure to mention that Obama installed real Nazis in Ukraine.

      3. It is interesting, however, that Bernie can’t seem to grasp (or want to grasp) Krugman’s “New Keynesian” ideas. I’ve also noted that the MMT guys don’t think Bernie gets MMT. However, Bernie did appoint the Queen of MMT, Stephanie Kelton as Chief Economist for the Democratic Minority Staff of the Senate Budget Committee.

      4. I think it would be a total disaster for civilization if the treasury ever got hold of the funny money creation process which is the MMT goal. They could just pass out cash willy nilly to any and all of their supporters and projects without having to use taxation and without debt. The prior funny money regimes at least tried to keep up the appearance that things were really as they always had been.

  2. If GDP is used as the measure of economic growth then the Federal government can achieve 5.3% "growth" just by dramatically increasing deficit spending and getting the Fed to monetize the deficit. Of course it wouldn't represent real growth, but then neither do GDP figures.

  3. Maybe Krugman just wants a position in Clinton's administration

    1. What do you mean maybe. He can't wait for someone to let him through that good ol revolving door.

  4. This is the blind attacking the blind. Keynesians are clueless.